Fear is the real enemy

Earlier this week, I felt defeated.  Have you ever felt that way?  It was this apathetic, careless feeling that often shows up when one becomes afraid to the point of paralysis.  I literally felt like I couldn’t move.  All I wanted to do was waste time watching TV, or doing something unproductive like surf the web, simply because I knew that in doing so I wouldn’t take the chance of failing.  Oddly, in essence, the only way we fail in anything in life is when we quit.

I’ve felt this way in the past – maybe you have as well – so I recognized the symptoms and realized early on I had a choice to make.  Was I going to hold this feeling inside, keep it to myself, and try to deal with it on my own, or was I going to reach out to someone I trusted, share my feelings and ask for help?  Sadly, most people choose the first option, which is exactly how fear would like us to handle moments like these.

See, fear is that ugly voice inside our head that tells us we aren’t good enough, we aren’t pretty enough, we don’t have what it takes.  It’s that voice that catches us as we consider trying something new or taking on a big challenge, beating down our confidence and causing us to doubt our abilities.  It’s that voice that tries to define us by the mistakes we make rather than the feats we attempt.  Most importantly, this voice, which many of us hear all too often, is a LIAR, and it is the enemy.

These are fighting words, I know, but it’s important to call fear for what it is.  Otherwise, in these moments when we feel defeated, our response to fear won’t be effective in dealing with it and getting on with our lives.

Imagine if fear were an enemy combatant.  Would that enemy be more effective taking you down when you are alone, or when you are with others?  Isolation is the perfect setting for us to be overcome with these feelings, and the antidote is community.

I’ve been through this experience more times than I would ever wish on my worst enemy, so fortunately I knew what it would take to overcome.  Here are 3 steps I used to get my life back this week:

1. I shared how I was feeling with the people closest to me.  In my circle, this includes my spouse and others whose counsel/friendship I respect.  It’s scary to share with people – people who often look to you for leadership – that you are struggling, but this is what it means to be authentic & do life together.

2. I acted in spite of my feelings.   It’s much easier to act your way into feeling than it is to feel your way into action.  In the moments in which we do not care, how we respond is what separates greatness from average.

3. I invested in my spiritual health.  As a Christian, my source of strength is Jesus Christ, and as such, it’s important that I invest my time into this relationship.  One can work their way out of being overcome by fear with steps #1 & #2, but I believe that God, in His infinite wisdom and unconditional love, is the only One who can bring heaven to earth and fill me with the truth of who I am.  Jesus died for me, which speaks volume to my worth in His eyes, and that is what we need to hear in these moments of weakness.

Fear is not something that is going away any time soon, but how we deal with it can minimize its impact on our lives.  It’s in these moments I love to read the words Paul wrote to the believers in Rome when he penned, “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.”  Conquerors.  This is the truth, and it is what we need to hear, especially in moments such as these.

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