Many years ago I heard the saying “we have nothing to fear but fear itself.” It made sense that when overcome with the thought or emotion of fear one could become captured or paralyzed within its grasp. Yet, in this highly emotional, increasingly fear-filled world, how is one supposed to combat that? As always the battlefield is ultimately within one’s mind, even when the world is falling apart around one’s feet.
Fear is not always a bad thing. It can be a sign of warning, a sense that alerts us that something is wrong. It is when it settles in and overtakes one’s mind and outlook, becomes the window through which one views his world, that it becomes the problem, rather than a mere caution flag.
The battlefield of the mind is not a new battlefield. It has been the arena of choice since time began when whispered words of doubt grew into actions taken that effected all of mankind. It is being used powerfully today by many who desire to manipulate others for the purposes of their cause. And until the end of time fear will desire to inhabit this world.
“Fear not!” comes the command I have come to love and more intimately understand. Fear’s dominion over me seems to be a sneaky covert thing. It wiggles in bringing doubt, shame, uncertainty… throwing them up in front of my face to stop me from growing, attempting to capture me in whatever place I am, to hold me hostage at the mercy of others. It quietly, carefully, steals my freedom. It robs me of peace, joy, and relationships by throwing up walls of difference and defense. It tries to convince me all is lost, hope is gone, that my only “safe” place is in a huddled frightened heap. So siren is it’s voice when it knocks on the door of my mind, presents its overwhelming convincing argument, and begs to march right in.
How many precious moments throughout my years have been given to the battle against fear and its plethora of cousins who would claim my freedom and joy? The fact that this reality is part of this world further convinces me of the spiritual actualities of life. Yes, there is the ever-present battle of good versus evil. So what does one do to navigate this war torn field?
A few lessons I have learned and am relearning along the way are to:
1. Choose to invite Truth into one’s mind; reject entertaining lies. Lies only bring confusion and turmoil.
2. Learn how to determine Truth from error. There are zillions of voices shouting for our attention. To whom will you choose to bow and follow? Our minds are like sponges, thirsty to be filled. We are all following someone or something…
3. Nurture the health of your mind. Just as one’s physical body needs nutritional food, so does the mind. Mental health issues and the physiological issues of the brain that impact one’s thinking and emotions are linked arm in arm. Addressing both opens doors.
When fear comes knocking or kicking at the door, face it! Stand up to it. Look it square in the face. I must admit I choose to do this with the LORD at my side, for fear makes me quiver when it hurls darts of shame, remorse, guilt, conviction of my errors, possibilities of horrible things to come if I don’t do it’s bidding… It is in facing fear with Truth that I am able to overcome and roust out those fears that knock, or rise up from hidden places in me. Though honestly facing the Truth of my fears may be painful, and may require a hard look at how I have been thinking, the joy of removing that fearsome boulder is worth it all when fear washes away and leaves me flowing free! No matter how fearsome the foe, Truth remains steadfast, and is far greater than fear.
32 And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” John 8:32 (NKJV)
33 These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” John 16:33