Top Ten Ways to Fight Fear

Maybe you’re a rare bird who has winged her way overseas without one single fear, but chances are somewhere in your overseas journey your stomach has knotted with the weight of so many question marks. I know mine has.

As I’ve journeyed across continents and through deep seasons of anxiety and fear I’ve learned a thing or two. I’ve learned that fear can threaten to over take you, but we have the promise that, in Christ, we can more than overcome fear. With that said know that I am a fear-struggler along with you. I’m no expert just a fear fighter who struggles daily.

1) Recognize fear for what it is

Fear is the stealer of joy. Fear is the thief of purpose. Fear paralyzes.

If we choose to dwell in fear then we are ultimately choosing to dwell in a sinful pattern of thinking. As we claw for control we are letting go of the strong hope of Christ and clinging to our own ability to manage life.

2) Recognize what triggers your fears

I’m banned from WebMD. Because as we all know if you look up “hang nail” on WebMD it’s going to tell you death is imminent.

If you are going to have victory over fear then you have to avoid the things that cause the battle to rage. I can’t watch scary movies. There are certain things that I can’t let my heart and mind dwell on because they make the what-if recording start playing in my head.

I realize you can’t always avoid things that are scary. In fact sometimes God brings us face to face with our greatest fears.

So what then? (hint: keep reading)

3) Surround yourself with people to aid you in the fight

During our time overseas I had four women who I trusted to know the weekly ups and downs of our life. I would send them prayer requests and panicked messages when I needed encouragement. They were a circle of sisters who surrounded me in the battle against fear.

Fear isolates. Fighting fear requires being open and honest about our struggle and letting others come alongside us in the battle.

4) Feed your soul

Fear is a pit and when you’re stuck in that pit it can make you forget that there is an outside world. Our minds can laser focus on the things that frighten us.

Take time to do the things that make you feel alive. Read a book. Dive into God’s Word more deeply. Cook a delicious meal. Sip a cup of tea slowly. Do yoga. Take some deep breaths.

5) Make your space a place of peace

Our inner lives can feel chaotic when fear is nipping at our heels. Is your overseas home part of the chaos? When we lived overseas we struggled to ever have any privacy. National friends would knock on our door early in the morning and wait outside our door until we came out.

My only refuge was within those four walls behind my closed curtains. I made a small corner of our cement floored, cinder blocked home into a cozy nook for reading and coffee drinking. It was a place I could go (usually with headphones on) to reset my soul on long days and when the questions in my heart heaped big.

Make a physical space for peace even if it is just a small table in the corner or a chair on a tiny balcony.

6) Cling to Scripture

God’s Word describes itself as a sword. It is able to go to battle for us when lies and doubts rear their ugly heads. I challenge you to memorize or post around your home these three fear fighting verses.

You keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting rock. Isaiah 23:3-4

When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can flesh do to me? Psalm 56:3-4

And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7

7) Preach the Gospel to yourself

Remind yourself who God is.  Don’t dwell on how small or weak you are. Dwell, internalize deeply, abide in the great truths of God’s character.

He never changes. He is the Alpha and Omega. He is El Roi, the God who sees. He is the God who sent hope in human skin to rescue you in your most desperate state. That is truth to white-knuckled cling to when life flings fear your way.

8) Prayer

There have been times when I lisped out barely audible prayers for help in the midst of my fears. God heard. He heard my fearful heart. Don’t be afraid to express your heart to God because He already knows how the darkness can close in. Prayer can pull back the curtain a bit to let the Light in.

9) Take medication

Full disclosure: I’ve never taken medication for anxiety. With that said I realize for some people medication can be life-changing. Don’t be afraid to talk with a doctor and consider this option. Living in freedom from fear can be a multi-faceted journey. I don’t believe that medication is the whole answer for anyone, but it can be part of the answer for some.

10) Believe that the Holy Spirit is alive in you

Sometimes we just need to be reminded that we don’t battle alone. We have a Comforter. Fear finds us when we are weakest. The Spirit is alive in every believer. Cling to that fact. Embrace that and let the Spirit embrace you when fear attacks.

How do you fight fear? Is it a battle for you? What ways have you found to cope and push back against anxiety and fear?

Photo Credit: [seya] via Compfight cc

5 Comments

  1. ErinMP June 16, 2015

    Loved this post Thank you!

    Some verses that help me– 1John 4:16, all of Romans 8, 1John 3:20, Ecclesiastes 3:12. I always bring music, my kindle, and my podcasts/devotions to my cozy safe place 🙂

  2. ErinMP June 16, 2015

    *I mean E 3:11-12 🙂

  3. Elizabeth June 17, 2015

    Jessica, these are all so beautiful and helpful and true. All of them. And I see the fruit of them in my life, reading them, and looking back. I used to have so much fear about moving overseas, about my health, about my kids’ health — even in America. Here’s one of my favorite songs in fighting that fear: http://trotters41.com/2010/08/03/fearless-by-elizabeth/

    Now I look around at my life, and I pretty much live without that kind of crushing, overwhelming, daily fear. I still have irrational thoughts sometimes, about health stuff — yes I thought I was going to die once from an infected toe. I call those my “seizure, coma, death” moments, and I joke about them on my blog. Thankfully they don’t happen all the time, and I’ve got a registered nurse husband who can immediately reassure my of my irrationality. LOL! So I totally related to being banned from WebMD!!

    I want to end by sharing this interview, which I LOVE. I went looking for it, and just rewatched it today, after reading this. It’s so good. In it, Meghan Alanis tells her story of struggling with anxiety and her healing process which included medication and counseling. When I first watched it, I was so excited and thankful that she was telling her story, because it was so hopeful. It just drips with grace and compassion for those suffering from anxiety. She’s such a safe place, even on the screen. While I didn’t have panic attacks, I would be EXTREMELY distracted from regular life, as in, not able to function because of my worries, especially while pregnant. My scripture that I always went back to was Matthew 6, by the way. 🙂

    Anyway, back to this video. I just love how she gives hope that you don’t have to live with anxiety the rest of your life. It very much mirrored my experience that fear was something that could go away. I didn’t have to live with the constant fear. Yes, maybe fears sometimes crop up, and they’re completely irrational, and all that, but the constant, daily, hourly, minutely fear that I used to have, that’s gone. So I love that someone else was proclaiming good news like that for those with anxiety. Watch it here: http://www.selftalkthegospel.com/how-christians-find-hope-for-anxietyhow-christians-can-find-hope-for-anxiety/

    1. Amy Young June 17, 2015

      Thanks for the link to the interview with Megan and anxiety, I had missed it. Definitely worth watching!

  4. MaDonna June 24, 2015

    Great list. Loved the idea of a cozy nook. We’re living in boxes and I’m about to go crazy…the fear of not finding a home is getting to me some days. Getting in his word, and reminding myself who he is had been a great help, as well as sharing my fears with a few dear friends who have prayed for me. Can’t wait to create that nook…

What do you think?

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.