Some people say it’s best to face your fears. However, in order to embrace the freedom that is waiting on the other side, we need more than posture, we need a plan. Here is what I have found to be the number-one most effective strategy: pray out fear.
We don’t often realize how many decisions are based on our fears. While some fears are rational and designed to keep us alive, I believe most of the fear that guides our decisions are not of this life-preserving variety. These fears need to be identified and dealt with.
FIRST: FIND THE FEAR
It’s become a little game I play—an adult version of hide-and-seek—identify areas in my life where fear is hiding. Because of our traveling lifestyle, my circumstances are continually shifting. This means I always have a lot of new material to work with, making it easier for me to flush out fear from its dark corners so I can meet it head-on and pray it out.
Since we started traveling, I’ve found that each region of the country has its own natural disasters, potentially deadly animals or unique hazards. Residents worldwide are often pretty low-key about the particular brand of danger living in their own backyard. However, there always seem to be a group of people who haven’t actually been to said location but yet have strong opinions which they must share for the sake of our family’s health and welfare. We discovered this to be particularly true while planning our trip to Alaska. As often happens, the list of fear factors only seemed to grow with each new person we spoke with.
-Bug and mosquito populations
-RV and truck breakdowns
As our Alaska departure date drew near, I noticed how frequently this group of people rotated around this list like vultures, picking at their own favorite fears and flinging them in our direction. I will admit, the temptation to bite was strong.
Shifting my focus away from the fear flinging, I had one factor in my favor—a proven track record. Looking back, I could remind myself of prayed out fears that became blessings. I was able to recall with confidence the fact that God has never let me down. And yet, despite it all, fear always finds a way to mimic truth, whispering its deceptive tales of doom and disaster.
“This is a bad idea.”
“Good parents wouldn’t do that.”
“It’s safer to just…”
Have you noticed how the voice of fear grows loudest as you near a precipice of significant action? Consider stepping out to do something bold, beautiful, risky or rewarding and fear will predictably sweep in with confident artifice*.
What has fear whispered into your heart?
Fear has told me many things. Among them:
-not to homeschool. It’s too hard. I’m not qualified. What if I fail my kids?
–not to write. My voice isn’t needed. Others do it better. No one will read it.
–not to move forward into our dreams of RVing. Our kids might not be safe.
–not to visit Florida with our family. Sinkholes. Alligators. Hurricanes. Red tide. Humidity.
Most notably, fear is predictably restrictive. So much so that I’ve begun to identify it’s controlling behavior as a telltale sign that I should probably pray into it rather than run further away. Why? Because every single time I believed God was leading us into something and took a stand, praying out the fear trying to hold us back, I found freedom waiting for me on the other side.
-freedom to teach my kids
-freedom to share my voice
-freedom to explore the world
-freedom from our culture’s expectations
-freedom to encourage others
–freedom from fear itself
FEAR VS. FREEDOM
Is it possible that Satan knows that we will find freedom on the other side of fear?
Is it coincidence that Christ’s mission on earth was to bring freedom?
Freedom from the tight restrictions imposed by tradition and religion. (Romans 6:14, 10:4)
Freedom from sin. (Romans 5:8, 6:6)
Freedom from death. (John 3:16)
Freedom from condemnation. (Romans 8:1)
His mission of freedom and grace flies flauntingly in the face of fear.
The Bible says that the love of God is fear’s antidote. This “perfect love that drives out all fear” (1 John 4:18) is found in Christ alone. Fear receives no welcome in the presence of my Savior and it deserves no place in my life.
I believe that it is important to recognize that fear is often a spiritual battle that begins in the mind. This battle must be won. If it is lost, worry becomes the victor and as Loren Cunningham (founder of YWAM) states, “Worry is faith in the Devil”.
WE HAVE A CHOICE: PRAY OUT FEAR
You can choose fear or you can choose freedom, but you can’t have both. I believe that living a life of faith, free from fear, honors God. Why else would “Do not fear” be included in Scripture over 290 times?
However, I also believe that we will have to pray out fear over and over again throughout our lives. Until Jesus returns, fear will never stop shouting. But this does not mean that we have to stand there and listen.
The carcasses of fear that kept being dragged in front of us prior to our trip did not just go away on their own. Recognizing that fear is not from God, I had to actively pray the fear out of my heart and cast it upon my Savior.
In some situations, fear’s grip was so tight that I’ve had to battle it on a deeper spiritual level with prayer and fasting. Each time I have been met with an assurance from God that poured peace over my anxious heart.
When God does that, when He responds to your immediate need by exchanging your fear with peace, a confident courage rises up within that brings bold belief.
Alaska has not deserved the fearful worries that were flung our way prior to this summer’s visit. We’ve been wowed and amazed by her beauty and constantly cooled by her weather but never scared, never afraid, never fearful. Aside from one fateful mosquito encounter in the Yukon (which I will share when video footage is ready to accompany my story), we’ve encountered zero issues worthy of a second troubling thought.
What a waste of time it would have been to cower in fear or worry! I am reminded of Luke 12:25-26, “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?“
MY PRAYER FOR YOU
If you are battling fear, this is my prayer for you today:
Lord, as the God of hope, I ask that you would fill this precious soul with all Your joy and peace. In doing so, I ask that their faith would grow bigger than any fear once felt and that in believing, they may abound in hope by the power of Your Holy Spirit. I know that you can do the impossible. You are a miracle maker. Step in and heal hearts, mend brokenness, rekindle hope and bring freedom! Let your joy flow as freely as the waters in spring. Hold back nothing of Yourself from those that want more of You. Give us all the courage to trust in You even when we don’t understand Your ways. Help us to be brave, not in our own strength, but in your ability to work wonders. (adapted from Romans 15:13)
SCRIPTURES TO EQUIP YOU AGAINST FEAR
Here are some of my favorite scriptures to commit to memory. Perhaps you want to write them out and post them where you can see them often. If you have another good one to add to this list, comment below!
The first verse is my personal favorite. In 2008 I was in labor at 37 weeks and knew that our son Sawyer would be stillborn. This verse became my mantra. I prayed it over and over and over. I covered myself in its truth like a balm. God met me in that place of deep fear and gave me the most peaceful homebirth I could have asked for. Praise you Jesus!
-Philippians 4: 6-7 “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
-Psalm 118: 6 “The Lord is for me; I will not fear; What can man do to me?
-Isaiah 41:10 “Do not fear for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God.”
-John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.”
noun: clever or cunning devices or expedients, especially as used to trick or deceive others. “Consider stepping out to do something bold, beautiful, risky or rewarding and fear will sweep in with confident artifice.”
RVing friends of ours wrote this song. Not only does it speak a message against fear, but it does so with a really great sound. You can find this song and more over at their website.
This song makes the reality of our position in Christ beautifully clear.
I’m no longer a slave to fear.
I am a child of God!
And this next song just lays it all out there in the open. Fear is a liar!
I’ve written on this topic of fear several times from different angles. You can read my other posts all gathered together here.