Let’s be honest: there are lots of things to fear. The future, family fights, failure, financial ruin, work problems, unemployment, bullies at school and in church…with all the possible problems, how do you stop fear from controlling you?
It’s easier than you think! Yes, we’re vulnerable. Yes, the world can be a scary place. Yes, we will lose relationships and say goodbye to people we love and struggle with all manner of problems and pain. But that doesn’t mean we have to let fear control us.
Below you’ll find three tips on how to stop fear from controlling you. First, here are some words of wisdom from a She Blossoms reader who survived several rounds of aggressive chemotherapy for breast cancer. She found herself being controlled by fear and decided to take a different path…
“Trust that we are all but a small part of a magnificent unfolding journey,” says Sandy in 3 Ways to Cope With Fear of the Unknown. “When you’re scared of the unknown, take small steps forward. Don’t suppress or avoid your emotions. Express your feelings and take all offers of love and support and help, no matter how small. Many many people have and will travel the same journey as you… and you will find acts of kindness you could never imagine. Peace will come through God.”
Those are all good tips for stopping fear of the future from controlling your emotions and actions. Sandy encourages us to:
- Take small steps forward
- Avoid suppressing our emotions
- Take all offers of love and support
- Gain strength from people who have traveled the same road
- Look for acts of kindness
- Accept peace from God
But wait, there’s more!
3 Ways to Stop Being Controlled by Your Fears
Inspired by Isaac’s fear in Genesis 26, this article is part of my She Blossoms Through the Bible project. In this chapter Isaac does the exact same thing his dad Abraham did a few years earlier (Overcoming Fear of Following God’s Voice – Genesis 12). It wasn’t just that Isaac lied and put other people’s lives at risk because he was controlled by fear of the future. Isaac actually told the same lies to the king about his wife and was caught red-handed, just like his father Abraham was.
Whether or not you believe in the Lord God, you’ll find strength and courage in my tips on how to stop fear from controlling you. But, oh, my friend and fellow believer! Following Jesus gives you a deeper, stronger, eternal source of power and fearlessness.
1. Identify the specific fears that control you
In Genesis 26 Isaac was scared of death. “The men of this place will kill me on account of Rebekah, for she is a beautiful woman.” So Isaac lied, just like his father Abraham did, because he was afraid for his future. This stands out to me for two reasons. First, the Lord God had appeared to Isaac five verses earlier (Genesis 26:2) and promised to be with Isaac and bless him. God already promised to confirm His oath and make Isaac’s offspring as numerous as the stars in the sky…so why was Isaac afraid of dying? Second, Isaac grew up with Abraham, who had a strong relationship with God. Isaac didn’t just hear or read about God’s instruction to Abraham to sacrifice Isaac….Isaac was actually there during the whole thing (How to Trust God When You Feel Scared – Genesis 22). Isaac witnessed God in action several times, yet he still let fear of the future control him.
What — specifically — are you afraid of? Examine it. Look at your fears closely. You can’t fight something if you don’t know what you’re up against! You can’t learn how to stop being controlled by fear of the future if you have no idea what exactly you’re scared of. Here’s how to get specific: write down your top one, two, or three fears. Then, write what will happen if each fear comes true. Feel free to share your fears in the comments section below. Writing will help you see your fears more clearly. It’s scary to get close to what, why, how, where and when you fear…but it’s the best way to stop being controlled by fear of the future.
2. Remember this…
Isaac forgot how the Lord appeared to him earlier. He forgot how God saved him from being sacrificed by his father Abraham. He forgot Abraham’s love for and faith in the Lord…and he forgot God’s plans for his future. What didn’t Isaac forget? He didn’t forget his fear. And so he lied, put other people’s lives at risk, destroyed relationships, and caused conflict in his marriage.
What do you need to remember about your past? If you have a relationship with Jesus, you need to remember Him. If you’re being controlled by your fear of the future, you’re allowing the world — and your own temporary, baseless emotions — to dictate your life. Remember your faith, your hope, and your future with God. Remember what Jesus did for you. Every morning, remember how much He sacrificed for you and why He died for you! If you don’t have a relationship with Jesus, remember how you coped with problems in the past. All your fears of the future came and went…and look! Here you are. Remembering how you survived the past will help you stop fear from controlling your future.
If your fear is causing problems in your love life, read 5 Ways to Stop Fear From Ruining a Relationship.
3. Listen, choose, and take action
“That night the Lord appeared to Isaac and said, “I am the God of your father Abraham. Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bless you and will increase the number of your descendants for the sake of my servant Abraham.” – Genesis 26:24. God knew Isaac was being controlled by fear. So God reminded Isaac who He was (because Isaac forgot to remember God’s promises). God commanded Isaac not to fear the future because He is with him. Then Isaac built an altar there, called on the name of the Lord, and pitched his tent.
Who will you choose to listen to? You are letting fear of the future control you because you’re listening to people, the world, and your own treacherous heart. You are allowing the spirit of fear to overrule the spirit of God. You are following the wrong path, listening to the wrong voices, and remembering the wrong things.
But wait, there’s good news! You can choose to listen to the voice of God — who always says do not fear. You can choose to follow Jesus, who went where angels fear to tread. You can choose to open your heart to the Holy Spirit, who will lead you through the worst possible fears into the deepest possible joy, freedom, and peace!
What do you think? Your comments — big and little — are welcome below.
With His love,
P.S. Are you struggling to make a decision or find the right path in your life? Read an Easy Way to Stop Overthinking God’s Will for Your Life.
Need encouragement? Sign up for my weekly "Echoes of Joy" email - it's free, short, and energizing. Like me! Is your relationship in trouble? Get 7 Steps to Fixing Your Marriage from relationship coach Mort Fertel. It's free and helpful, no strings attached.