Tag: faith

The Fear Factor

Years ago there was a show our family loved to watch – Fear Factor. Joe Rogan, now famous podcaster was the host and he had individuals do the scariest and most fearful things. It was creepy, scary, and fun to watch.

I wish I could say the same about the fear factor in each of our lives. Watching how we handle fear in our life, what we do with it, how we manage it is not nearly as much fun as watching Joe Rogan. But regardless, we are faced with our own fears and how we handle them is vital.

We all have fears. Fears of one kind or another. And even though we were born with just two fears, there are six basic fears we all must deal with.

  • The two fears we are born with
  • fear of falling
  • fear of loud noises
  • Six basic fears
  • poverty
  • criticism
  • ill health
  • loss of love from someone
  • old age
  • death

Most of us deal with multiple fears. Hey, welcome to humanity. So check out the list, identify yours.

Here’s the deal though, each of those 6 fears have multiple symptoms that demonstrate in our life. And that is where it becomes very complicated and tangled.

Let me list symptoms and you associate each with the fear you think it is a symptom of:

  • lack of ambition
  • self-consciousness
  • hypochondria
  • inferiority
  • jealousy
  • laziness
  • keeping up with the Jones’
  • fault finding
  • indecision
  • procrastination
  • lack of exercise or over exercise
  • self-coddling
  • fear of failure

I actually have a book with lists beside me with dozens of symptoms for each of those fears, not just these listed. So, if we are living and breathing, there’s quite a pile of tangled strings for us to undo.

But that is the key – we each have to manage that ball of twisted symptoms and fears. Denial doesn’t work, it just pushes fear below the surface. But denial also makes personal growth and progress impossible. When the symptoms aren’t heeded and dealt with our life becomes stressed, overwhelmed, depressed, out of balance, and eventually we are being managed by the fear, rather than us managing the fear.

We make excuses, procrastinate, have diversions, avoid, find fault, etc., etc., etc. when fear is ruling our life. I know, I do it.

So what’s the answer?

Anthony Robins, in Awaken the Giant Within, has a 6 step plan that I have whittled down to 3 steps: (sorry Anthony, it works better for me.)

ONE – Identify your fear

TWO – Redirect your fear

THREE – Act on your fear

Identify your fear – call it out, unmask it. Don’t deny it. My personal fear project for nearly a year has been the fear of failure. That belongs to the fear of criticism from the list above.

Redirect your fear – Science tells us you get what you focus on. So if I want failure, I should focus on it. But I don’t want failure, so I must redirect my focus. I choose to focus on success, God’s ability to help me through, and placing my trust in Him and His ability. I redirect my focus on trusting God who is with me, and not on my debilitating fear.

Act on it – it’s pretty easy to say I trust Him, but I must act on it. Faith without works is dead, empty, void, a lie. Taking action on my fear is fearful! No lie. But each time I do, and by repeated practice, my strength becomes greater, my trust in Him becomes greater and that fear diminishes. Without action, nothing would change. I must be brave and step into action.

Just a note here. Most of my blogs are intentionally not overtly or overwhelmingly biblical. That is by design. However, with this particular theme today, I must say, that the only way to overcome your fears that will last is by learning to trust Jesus as your focus, rather than your fears. Practice redirecting your focus on Him. Take your eyes off of your fear and step toward Him. You will never be disappointed.

“You have nothing to fear but fear itself.”

FDR

The most frequent command in the Bible is DO NOT BE AFRAID.

There’s a reason for that.

We humans are so fearful. But our God cares and will unravel our sorted mess of fears and symptoms if we focus on Him and place our trust in Him, thereby conquering The Fear Factor.

.Cheers to you.

Results of prayer

surrounded and unafraid

It would be easy to say “Prayer changed (es) nothing”, or “I see no change”. We had a National Day of Prayer, so what? Big deal! No change.

Let’s be real. Your state has probably amped up it’s restrictions and guidelines. You most likely have family members and loved ones affected in some way. The places you frequent may be closed and your vacation plans are pending major change. Shoot, my son’s wedding, in Hawaii in May is in jeopardy! AND, this what we found at the store today!

there were scores of shelves like this

But prayer is not an Amazon order. Place your order and have it delivered in one or two days.

The results of prayer are sometimes obvious and other times not. Sometimes immediate other times delayed. Additionally, the results of prayer are not always outcome driven, results orientated. They often have much more have to do with the process, development, personal growth and increase.

That process is most often linked to growing in faith and reliance upon Someone bigger than me, more powerful, trustworthy and really in charge. Because, even though I am driven to be in charge, I really am not. I do not control it all. I must therefore learn to yield my perceived “in charge” to the One who really is.

I believe we will see results, obvious ones, outcome driven ones as a result of the National Day of Prayer. I will share more about that in a moment.

In the “inbetween” time, what do we do?

“Ask and keep on asking. Seek and keep on seeking. Knock and keep on knocking.”

Matthew the disciple, chapter 7 verse 7

Again, prayer isn’t a one time shot – like the famed “hail Mary pass”. It’s a process of trusting in Someone bigger than myself and learning to lean on that strength and understanding. It is having faith in something I don’t see. (Like results). It’s trusting His process in and through me.

With all that being said, I do want to share a personal experience or result that came to me yesterday, on our prayer day.

I was impressed to go the beach and stand on the shoreline and pray. So, guess where I went? On the way, I was reminded of Job’s encounter with God in chapter 38, when God basically blasts Job for his know it all attitude and pelts Job with question after question about creation, nature, weather, and affairs of the man. It is in verse 10 & 11 where God says,

“… I fixed limits for the sea, I said this far you may come and no farther; here is where your proud waves halt.”

Job 38:10-11

And in that moment, I knew, those words were God’s words to us. In this time. This season. His promise was, that just as the ocean has been appointed limits and boundaries set, so too this virus had set limits and boundaries. AND, as we unite in prayer, those boundaries could be affected and even reduced. Therefore, I was to pray at the beach, on the boundary where sea meets land, “This far and no farther o’ virus. You are under the control of the creator and His limits.”

This far and no farther.
This far and no farther.

So what happened? Did the virus miraculously dry up and die? Did it physically leave the bodies it had entered? Did those we lost because of it return to their families? Did the panic and fear disappear?

I dunno. I didn’t see those results. But what I did see (hear and read actually) was increased measures being taken to CONTAIN the virus. Calls for a 15 day containment plan/period. Calls to 65 and older community, to restaurants, movie theatres, libraries. All with the purpose of tightening the lasso on the virus. Enforcing it’s boundaries. Limiting exposure.

“This far and no farther.” Containment. No further infections.

This is again where that whole results thing comes in. I cannot control the results. But I trust and keep on asking the One who does control them. Stop this virus, reel it in, arrest it. I don’t stop or quit. The results are His, but in the process my own life benefits and I grow personally.

So, just maybe there are some pretty miraculous things growing in you, in our nation, in the world as a result of prayer. Let’s keep on asking and trusting Him for the results.

Cheers to you.

Fear and Faith

Before you read further, please click on the video…

Faith verses Fear 53 seconds

Although the video may seem a bit silly, it makes 4 important points:

  • How do you do that? (be so calm)
  • You never know when you might get hit
  • Aren’t you afraid?
  • You believe

Hang on to those, we will come back to them.

We are living in unprecedented days which are evolving with new challenges and fears every hour. Our lives, plans, futures, minds, emotions, and spirit have been burst upon with unexpected concerns and fears.

Fear is an unpleasant feeling triggered by the perception of danger, real or imagined.”

Dictionary.com

Fear, the emotion most of us are wrestling with today, is a common emotion and is meant to promote survival. Fear helps protect us, makes us alert to danger and prepares us to deal with it. It is natural and helpful, like a warning, a signal that tells us to be careful.

When the fear is triggered the brain instantly sends signals to the nervous system and the body responds. The heartbeat, breathing and blood pressure all increase. Muscle groups get ready for action and the skin begins to sweat, readying for the “Fight or Flight” battle, until the ALL CLEAR signal sounds. Then, all systems return to normal.

Fear is activated in the brain seconds before the thinking part of the brain can process what’s happening. So that’s why sometimes we are startled by a loud noise, even though it’s no harm.

Lastly on fear… although it is a healthy response it can become unhealthy. Science tells us that fear releases hormones that shut down systems we don’t need for the fight or flight. It weakens immune systems, effects heart damage, GI issues and even fertility. Fear tells the brain to immediately respond to the overactive signals from the Amygdala (the part of the brain that deals with emotions) rather than the more rational parts of the brain. (“Amygdala hijack”)

Well thanks, Deb, that’s encouraging, I heard someone whisper… Ok, so let’s go back to those 4 points from the video.

#1 – How do you do that?

How do you stay calm in the face of fear and what it is doing in your head and heart? (city and nation)

Because part of fear is feeling loss of control, and my inability to control that event/thing – I seek out The One who holds all things in His control. The One to whom winds, waves, nature, all living things, all rulers, all powers and principalities AND EVEN VIRUSES respond to.

” When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.”

King David Psalm 56:4

Psalm 91 – those who stay close to God are protected from deadly pestilence for He will cover you

Psalm 23:4 – even though I walk through the valley with a shadow of death, I will fear no evil for you are with me

#2 You never know when you might get hit

That’s right. You don’t know what the future holds. But I do know this –

” For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future…”

The prophet Jeremiah, chapter 29 verse 11

So no matter what happens, I choose to trust His plans for me, my family, friends and associates.

#3 Aren’t you afraid?

To be honest, concerned a little, but there is a peace that permeates my heart because of who I trust and place my faith in. And when fear does come, (and be sure it does) I go to those verses above and choose to trust Him and His plan. That’s faith.

#4 You believe

Yup. That’s it. I choose to beleive in someone bigger than the situation, news, CDC, President, virus, or the panic. But I don’t believe in some passive, naive way. I’m not hiding my head in the sand. I’m actively contending within my own mind, spirit and emotions to not let fear get hold of me. It’s a battle. But I believe. I choose to. I will not give way to fear and panic. I believe.

In closing, I am reminded of these famous words:

” These are the times that try men’s souls.”

Thomas Paine 1776

In these times may we be found strong in faith as we are learning to overcome our fear.

Cheers to you.