Fear is one of those topics I write about often because it is a constant battle within myself and I can see I am not alone in this war. If you are struggling with letting go of fear, keep reading! Let’s examine how it is a stumbling block in our faith as well as another way we unintentionally “conform to this world”.
One day I was studying Romans 12:2 and prayed about ways we conform to this world. Paul challenges us.
“Be not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind”
Why is Letting Go of Fear so Important?
So, what is the big deal? Why is letting go of fear so important?
In this post, I am primarily concerned with showing you how allowing yourself to dwell in fear is a way of conforming to this world and creates a division between you and God.
Satan wants nothing more than to see you dwelling in fear because then you are more focused on his world than God’s. He wants you to feel overwhelmed, discouraged, and anxious. Why? Because then you are not trusting God. You are not standing on His promises. You are succumbing to the world.
That hurts a little, doesn’t it? By allowing myself to remain fearful, I am succumbing to the world. I am doubting God’s truth and promises.
Before we go into this further, let’s pause and talk about why fear is bad for you physically.
What Does Fear and Anxiety do to Your Body?
We often focus so much on how fear and anxiety affects us emotionally that we do not realize we are actually making ourselves sick. Our bodies respond very specifically to any kind of danger. Our brains do not distinguish between fear and anxiety and a real physical threat. Therefore, it responds with the well known “fight or flight” response, dumping hormones into your bloodstream and preparing you to survive something terrible.
What Anxiety Does to Your Body: 7 Common Physical Symptoms is an excellent article. Here are a few highlights.
- Chronic exhaustion. Because your body produces stress hormones when you’re anxious, your body ends up staying in a constant state of high alert. To keep your body operating at this high-stress level is draining – and makes you feel exhausted more often than not.
- Poor sleep. Whether you have difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, or just wake up feeling anything but rested, anxiety plays a big role in the quality of sleep you get on a regular basis. One explanation for this is the fact that you can’t stop your thoughts from racing when you’re feeling anxious, which can get in the way of a good’s night sleep. Another explanation is that those stress hormones (cortisol and adrenaline) keep your body from resting. If this is you, check out “Prayer for Peace of Mind and Sleep” at Pray with Confidence. It is full of good verses to help you combat your anxiety during the night.
- Stomach discomfort. Anxiety is directly linked to your GI system. The more anxious you feel, the more likely you’ll experience pains in your stomach, constipation, diarrhea and other GI issues.
- Poor immunity. I found this one to be true. My husband and I caught every germ that went around the winter after losing Rebekah. If you find yourself catching a lot of colds or coming down with a virus more often than you used to, there’s a good chance it can be attributed to your levels of anxiety. Because it’s difficult for your body to function when it’s constantly in the fight or flight response, your immune system suffers.
Faith Over Fear
I love the expression “faith over fear”! It has been my constant struggle since losing my beautiful Rebekah three years ago. When our lives took a sudden and very painful turn with her accident, I was plunged into a fear I had never known before. Suddenly, I saw danger everywhere and life was no longer a safe place. I was convinced (not just worried) that I would lose another child.
What is your struggle with fear? Are you afraid of losing someone you love? Are you afraid of not being able to provide for your family? Are you afraid of what others think of you or of being a failure in the eyes of someone you admire? Perhaps you are afraid of your past mistakes and sins or afraid that God could never love and accept you.
Whatever your fear, I promise you, God can lead you through it. It’s time to look that fear in the face and stand against Satan’s attack. It is time to see fear for what it is, conforming to the world.
Bible Stories about Fear
If you read my post that began this series “Do Not Be Conformed to this World: 5 Strongholds We Need to Let Go of” then you read one of my favorite Bible stories about fear. Peter sees Jesus walking on the water and is inspired to do the same, but once he saw the waves, he took his eyes off Jesus and began to sink.
When we take our eyes off Jesus we will sink every time. The world is a scary place. You cannot dwell in it.
Here is another story of Jesus and a boat!
On the same day, when evening had come, He said to them, “Let us cross over to the other side.” Now when they had left the multitude, they took Him along in the boat as He was. And other little boats were also with Him.
And a great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that it was already filling. But He was in the stern, asleep on a pillow. And they awoke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?”
Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace, be still!” And the wind ceased and there was a great calm. But He said to them, “Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?” (Mark 4:35-40)
Does Jesus’s questions make you think? “Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?”
My first response is to say, “I don’t know!” But that isn’t completely true. We are afraid because we don’t want to experience bad things. We don’t want to die and we don’t want our loved ones to experience pain.
When we let go and let God, we put ourselves into a vulnerable position. We feel as if we have some kind of control by worrying and remaining fearful.
My friends, letting go of fear and accepting that we cannot control what happens in our lives is the only way to move forward.
We are allowing ourselves to be conformed to this world because we are not willing to let go of our meager control.
BUT we have hope in our fear. God has promised to never leave us. He has promised to walk beside us through all the pain this world holds.
But now, thus says the Lord, who created you, O Jacob,
And He who formed you, O Israel:
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by your name;
You are Mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you.
When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned,
Nor shall the flame scorch you. (Isaiah 43:1-2)
Paul says it beautifully! We can take his word for it too because he lived through all kinds of persecution and heartache.
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written:
“For Your sake we are killed all day long;
We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.”
Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.
For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:35-39)
For more encouragement for overcoming fear, check out these posts!
What Happens when You Face Your Fears?
What happens when you face your fears? What happens when you let go of your fears and reach out to Christ?
You are set free!
Letting Go of Fear: One Less Way to Conform to this World
Fear comes in various forms. Whether you suffer from panic attacks, can’t sleep at night, worry about the things going on in the world, or are resisting God’s leading, letting go of fear and resting in God’s strength will give you the peace you seek.
What verses help you through the fear? What promises do you stand on? I’d love for you to share them with me in the comments below.