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Posts tagged ‘being ruled by fear’

Don’t Be Afraid to Let Someone Struggle

SOURCE:  Dr. Henry Cloud

I want to share a story with you on how NOT to be ruled by fear.  
 
“I know that I hold on to people too long, way past when I know I have to make a change,” a CEO told me. “I have always done that, and it costs me.” 
 
“What are you afraid of?” I asked. 
 
“I don’t think I’m afraid,” he said. “I just don’t want to hurt them, and I always try to protect them.” 
 
“What’s the fear?” I asked again. 
 
It took him a while to get to it, but underneath it all, he was afraid for others to have to go through a struggle. 

The problem is that the brain is wired to avoid pain and anxiety.

Over time, when you continue to avoid things that cause you fear or anxiety, such as this CEO’s fear of letting someone struggle, a pattern builds up, causing you to respond almost automatically to any situations that would cause you anxiety. But you cannot allow a pattern of fear and avoidance rule you.

If you are afraid of making a mistake, you will never make bold moves. If you are afraid of upsetting or disappointing people, you will never be able to deal with discomfort in relationships. You’ll be the one who continues to struggle and suffer. 
 
In my experience, many great people go through a three-stage process when it comes to facing their fears. First, they fear it and put it off. Next, they push through the fear, make the decision, and it is painful. And finally, they wonder why they waited so long to make it after the pain is gone and they have resolved the problem. As these stages are internalized, and they become aware of them, people find it easier to make these hard calls. But as long as you don’t confront those uncomfortable feelings, your emotions will control your actions. Grow past the fear! 
 
Look at what you are afraid of and get to the bottom of it. Is it failure? Is it loss of approval? It is fear of confrontation? Is it fear of causing someone distress? Is it fear of change?

And remember: You can have fears without being “fearful.” “Fearful” is when you let your fears make your decisions for you, so… don’t let fear make your decisions for you! Having fear is normal. Being “fearful” is dysfunctional. Fearful leaders – that is, those who respond out of fear – are the worst leaders, period. 
 
So, feel your fear, name it, accept it, talk it over with those you trust, and then choose to do the right thing, no matter how uncomfortable you feel.

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When Fear Seizes You

SOURCE:  Desiring God/Stacy Reaoch

This past fall my husband had the privilege of going to Turkey to speak at a conference for Christian workers. Although I was excited for his opportunity, I was also feeling somewhat hesitant with the terrorist activity in nearby Syria. Thanks to modern technology, we planned to FaceTime every day to keep in close touch with each other.

One day during that week, our appointed time to connect went by with no contact from my husband. Maybe he’s just running late, I reasoned. I looked for text messages . . . negative. I checked to make sure my ringer was turned up loud enough . . . affirmative. Maybe he’s deep in conversation with someone. . . . But as the minutes turned into hours, fear began to seize me. Unfortunately I learned of terrorists near the Turkey border as I began watching world news reports.

As fear began to consume me, every worst possible situation was played out in my head. Had terrorists overcome the conference and taken captives? What would I do? My mind went through multiple scenarios: explaining to our children what had happened, looking for a job to support our family, and wondering whether to sell the house. By the time my husband was finally able to call I had already decided where to move and how much to sell the house for. Come to find out, he was just fine.

Fear Feeds Irrationality

When fear seizes you, all our ability to think rationally evaporates. Life becomes overwhelming and the promises of God are thrown out the window.

When Moses sent the spies into Canaan to gather information for the people of Israel, fear of the looming giants became much more visible than any of the blessings Canaan had to offer. Although they obediently gathered fruit from the land, their report focused on all the seemingly impossible obstacles they faced.

“We came to the land to which you sent us. It flows with milk and honey and this is its fruit. However, the people who dwell in the land are strong, and the cities are fortified and very large. And besides, we saw the descendants of Anak there” (Numbers 13:27–28). As the spies exaggerated and gave the worse report possible, they compared themselves to grasshoppers and claimed the land would devour them (Numbers 13:32–33).

This fearful exaggeration infected the Israelites who succumbed to crying and grumbling against Moses and Aaron, and it even led them to claim they wish they’d died in the wilderness (Numbers 14:2–3)!

It seems Israel forgot God’s promise to give them the land of Canaan, despite the obstacles that looked so intimidating. “Send men to spy out the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the people of Israel” (Numbers 13:2). If the Israelites had truly trusted God’s promise, even their enemies in Canaan shouldn’t have been a threat to them. God was going to give Israel the Promised Land, just as he’d said to Abraham hundreds of years before.

And during our moments of fear and panic, God is whispering promises to us too.

Fighting Off Fear

When fear begins to creep in and all the “what-if” situations begin to consume your mind, here are seven things to remember:

1. God’s truth — Is what I’m thinking about really happening? Or is it just my imagination running wild? Paul reminds us to dwell on what is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, praiseworthy (Philippians 4:8).

2. God’s presence — We can be comforted remembering that we are not alone. God is with us. “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1).

3. God’s grace — God promises to provide us with his all-sufficient grace for every trial that comes our way. “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Jesus told Paul. And therefore, with Paul, we can “boast all the more gladly of our weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon us” (2 Corinthians 12:9).

4. God’s sovereignty — God is in control over every situation in our lives. “All the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, and he does according to his will among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand or say to him, ‘What have you done?’” (Daniel 4:34–35).

5. God listens — Pour out your heart to God in prayer. “I waited patiently for the Lord; he inclined to me and heard my cry” (Psalm 40:1).

6. God’s trustworthiness — “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).

7. God’s big picture plan — No matter how awful this trial may seem, God promises to use everything together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28). We may not see the good in our situation at the time, but we can trust God has a hidden smile behind the dark cloud.

So when your child is diagnosed with cancer, or you just learned of a loved one in a car accident, or your husband comes home with news that he was let go from his job, prepare yourself for battle. Don’t allow the enemy of fear to seize you and take you captive. Fight him off with the promises of God’s word and his unchanging character.

What Does a Fear of Failure Produce?

SOURCE: Taken from a booklet by June Hunt

Fear of failure manifests itself in various ways in different personalities.

Perhaps you recognize one or more of these characteristics in yourself or in someone you care about.

Paralysis—failing to take any action or make any decisions for fear of being wrong

Purposelessness—moving from one job or profession to another with no real sense of commitment or direction for fear of making a wrong decision

Perfectionism—doing only those things that can be done flawlessly, those that carry little or no risk of failure, for fear of criticism

Pride—refusing to engage in certain activities for fear of being less than the best and feeling inferior to someone else

Paranoia—distrusting the motives of those who ask you to do things for fear of being exposed as being less than adequate

Procrastination—putting off tackling an assignment or performing a task for fear of doing it poorly

When you know the depth and breadth of the love the Father has for you, your fear will dissipate and its power over you will be broken. Failure and success will take on a whole new meaning, and you will no longer be ruled by the fear of negative results. When you act in faith, you can leave the results to God, who never fails.

“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.”
(1 John 4:18)

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Hunt, J. (2008). Biblical Counseling Keys on Success through Failure: From Stumbling Stones to Stepping Stones (9). Dallas, TX: Hope For The Heart.

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