FearLESSFor years, I feared escalators. Does that seem irrational to you? To me, it was terrifying. Those metal steps. The jagged edges. The unstoppable motion. You have to step on, balance yourself, and wait expectantly for the end you know is coming. You know what I mean. The End. Where the step disappears underground and you barely escape being sucked in with it. I hated them. It started after an incident in a department store when I was five years old. While my mum shopped for clothes, I played and twirled and danced and ran around the top of an escalator. “You stay away from the top of those stairs,” Mum told me. And I did. Until the moment I didn’t. Instead of listening, I chose to play around the top of the escalators anyway. That’s when I saw the handrail and grabbed on. Not realizing the handrail moved with the steps, I found myself being pulled with my feet still resting at the top of the stairs. Before I knew what was happening, I was yanked forward. I fell down the escalator and cut myself on the jagged metal steps. It was a terrifying experience, and it stuck with me. Through my childhood, through my teen years, into adulthood, I was still that scared, little girl crying out for her mother in fear and pain because of that metal monster. After my husband, Ashley, and I got married and the kids were still small, we took a trip to London. Do you have any idea how inconvenient it is with buggies and strollers in the underground subway system in London when you can’t take an escalator? I would go further than I needed to go, walk longer than I needed to walk, make traveling more complicated than it needed to be, all to find an elevator. All so I could avoid the monsters. When that wasn’t possible and one of those mammoth escalators was the only option, I would climb on and grip the handrails until my knuckles turned white. My heart would race. I’d start sweating. Then the dizziness would hit. It caused a full-on panic attack. I was a grown woman still holding on to a child’s fear that somehow, someway, I would fall again.
Overcome FearFear, of the known or unknown, of the real or imagined, works to paralyze us with the threat of “the possibilities.” We become stuck—unable to move forward, unable to overcome, unable to stop feeding the monster we’ve created. Now what? Are we doomed to fear? Satan would love nothing more than to convince you that your fear is insurmountable. Never forget, his sole purpose is to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10). He steals our peace, kills our hope, and destroys our joy. But that’s not the end of our story. God is the author here, and He’s the ender of all fear. That includes your fear, too. Here’s how we fight fear with faith:
1. Take control of your thought life.Our thought life affects every other aspect of our lives. The more time we spend thinking of things that do not produce life, the more our lives will be eroded. Scripture tells us that out of the abundance of our hearts our mouths speak (Luke 6:45; Matthew 12:34). When we’re consumed with fear, we talk about it. We internalize and verbalize it. Before long, our words become toxic, reflecting our toxic thoughts. If you’re consumed with worst case scenarios, with always finding the negative, with focusing on anything fearful you can find in every situation, you will give your life over to your fears. If you want to overcome fear, you will have to take control of your thoughts.
2. Call that which is evil, evil.In Romans 12:21, Paul writes, “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” The fear we’re talking about truly is evil. It is robbing us of peace and attacking our joy. God wants us to trust Him, but we cannot trust Him while cowering in fear. The two simply cannot coexist. When we walk with Christ, we will never walk in fear.
3. Look fear in the eye.I know this is going to be hard, but you’ve got to face down that fear. You do that by asking yourself one simple question, “What’s the worst that could happen?” When I was struggling with my escalator fears, I had to come to terms with the ultimate scenario. What happens if I trip and fall? I’ll hurt myself, but I will survive. In fact, it probably won’t even be all that bad. You see, fear keeps people in bondage, but Jesus came to deliver us from the fear of death and living in bondage. He has better plans for us than to live in fear.
Time to Be BoldThe Lord repeatedly told Joshua, “Do not be afraid” (Joshua 1:6-9). Why would He say that? Could it be that Joshua, the mighty warrior, was fighting fear? His own people and outside sources tried and tested Joshua. Moses left big sandals to fill, and Joshua must have frequently felt the heaviness of that responsibility and those expectations. He may have even doubted himself. God saw his challenges and responded by commanding Joshua to only “be strong and courageous.” The Lord is never going to ask us to do something that He hasn’t already given us the ability to do. When Jesus told the disciples many times, “Do not fear,” or when Jesus told a dying girl’s father, “Do not fear, only believe,” that’s because He had equipped them with His strength and power to do exactly what He was commanding. He had given them the ability to not fear. That same ability is also for us so that we can take power over our anxious thoughts, apply truth, and move forward without fear but with faith.
Perfect Love Ends FearJesus wants us to cast off the fear that torments us by being confident in His love. “We have come into an intimate experience with God’s love, and we trust in the love He has for us. God is love! Those who are living in love are living in God, and God lives through them. By living in God, love has been brought to its full expression in us so that we may fearlessly face the day of judgment, because all that Jesus now is, so are we in this world.”
1 John 4:16-17 TPT, emphasis addedWhen we come to know and really believe the love that God has for us, it changes us. You see that happening in verse 17, and in the Modern English Version it reads, “In this way God’s love is perfected in us, so that we may have boldness…“ One of the characteristics of being fearless is being bold. It’s being brave. It’s being intrepid. The passage goes on to say, “…that we might have boldness on the Day of Judgment, because as He [Jesus] is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear” (brackets added). God’s love is the antidote to any fears that we might have in our lives. Truly knowing His love helps us to overcome fear! Fear left unchecked will torment us. It will hold us in bondage, but 1 John 4:18 continues, “Whoever fears is not perfect in love.” God loves us so much that He paid the ultimate price to free us from bondage and torment. Don’t let the devil rent space in your head by suggesting unfounded fear that’s based on lies or by magnifying a negative experience out of proportion. Satan once had the power of death, but Jesus defeated his power. Be confident that the enemy no longer has power in your life. The only power he has is what you give him when you do not place your trust in God’s Word. Reject and overcome your fear and embrace your freedom.
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Regardless of your circumstances, you can break the cycle of fear and live in freedom and boldness!
It is time for you to abandon a life of worry, anxiety and fear and launch into a life of faith, boldness and power. Don’t tolerate fear: live the life you were made for!