Recently I woke up in the wee hours of the morning thinking fearful thoughts. The night before, our family had watched a classic spy thriller. We had fun watching, but guess what I was thinking about when I woke up at 3:00 a.m.? I was counting how many people met an untimely end in the movie.
(Just what you want to be thinking about in the middle of the night.)
Somehow scenes that appeared fairly harmless while watching with my family grew more disturbing at 3:00 am. As the movie replayed in my mind, a vague uneasiness settled over me.
Know what helped me? My Bible.
I pulled out my Bible, and the Holy Spirit brought the Word to life as I read. Soon God’s greatness and love grew bigger in my mind than my restless anxiety. Peace returned. I lay back down and went to sleep.
Satan will pull on our fear strings any chance He gets.
The news we see every day on television is more chilling than my 1973 suspense flick: shootings, natural disasters, political turmoil, and terrorism. Dwelling on horrific news makes God’s love and power start to look smaller in our minds. We get the unsettling feeling that the world’s not as safe as we thought.
You and I both know worry and doubt can strike us at home, too. Even more powerful than the fear that arises from what we watch on our television and computer screens, worry over our personal lives and families can eat away our peace.
Yet we can overcome fear as we turn our eyes to God who is our loving guardian and hiding place.
Whatever we focus on grows bigger in our minds.
What’s your greatest fear? Illness? A car accident? Losing your job? Are you scared your kids will get in with the wrong crowd? Maybe the neighbors or people at the gym don’t really like you? Most of us have plenty to worry about, and the more we dwell on our worries, the bigger they grow.
How can we overcome fear? God’s Word offers wisdom:
As I read Isaiah 26:3-4, three steps to overcome fear with faith come to mind:
1. Stop Fear in its Tracks.
Stand on guard and recognize Satan’s attack on your mind through fear. Fear makes us forget God. Doesn’t that sound like what Satan wants? We forget God’s care for us. We focus on negative circumstances and expect bad outcomes. Our best bet is to stand guard and stop our thoughts when they start down the fear track.
2. Shift Your Focus
When fear creeps into our thoughts, we need to change our focus. Our verse tells us to stay our minds on God. How do we do that when fear knocks at the door? The only way I know is to start declaring God’s Word. Call to mind scripture verses that emphasize God’s nature. Copy them down, put them on sticky notes, put them on your phone, read them out loud, and memorize them. Do whatever it takes to put God at the forefront of your thoughts.
3. Choose Trust
Our Everlasting Rock is faithful and true, so let’s affirm our trust in Him. Declare His sovereign power over each situation you’re worried about. If you’re scared your project or presentation at work will fail, start praying for God’s help. Each time that fear comes to mind, pray. Affirm and declare that you trust He will help you.
Fear makes us forget God and His care for us. Faith focuses on His love and power. We can fight fear with faith when we shift our focus towards God. When we keep our thoughts fixed on God, he keeps our hearts at rest in Him.
Now it’s your turn: What fears are you facing? Does the news ever scare you? How do you choose faith?
Note: This post contains an affiliate link; if you purchase, I make a small commission towards the cost of this blog at no cost to you.
Follow this link for daily encouragement on Facebook!
Need ideas on how to get more out of your quiet time? I wrote More of God: A Distracted Woman’s Guide to More Meaningful Quiet Times to help overwhelmed and distracted women recover a fresh sense of God’s presence, learn to hear His voice, and grow their prayer lives. Click on the image below for more info:
Photo Credit: Melika
Rebecca Hastings says
Thank you for the reminder to see fear for what it is and to choose faith instead. I’m not always good at this. Trusting that I can come in faith even when I don’t feel it!
Oh Rebecca, I’m not always good at it either. I pray, “Lord, help me trust. Help me believe.”
Linda Stoll says
Betsy, thanks for the needed reminder that the enemy is looking to devour us and render us completely useless.
Gratefully, greater is He who is in us than he who is in the world.
Amen, Linda! He is greater! Yes, He is.
Bev @ Walking Well With God says
So true that when we focus on our fears, they can become mountains quickly, when moments ago they were molehills. When I get that anxiety that comes with fear, it’s my red flag that I need to shift my focus to the Lord. Also holding the lies in my head up to the Truth found in scripture helps me to kick the enemy and his lies to the curb. Great reminder this am!
So true, Bev. I’ve been thinking lots lately about setting my mind on truth. Reading Sarah Geringer’s new book, and it has encouraged me greatly.
Michele Morin says
“The world’s not as safe as you thought…”
Mothering has brought this close to home, and especially parenting a bunch of adults.
Thanks for this collection of thoughts on what to do when fear shows up–because it always does, but it’s great that we don’t have to live in fear.
You’re so right, Michele! I’m also seeing that parenting adults is quite a game change, and easier on the one hand, harder on the other. Praising God along with you that we can trust God with our kids.
Lisa Appelo says
That middle of the night fear is the worst! Great full we can trust truth when feelings are telling us something different.
Yes! Those feelings trick me almost every time. 🙂
Fear is something I’ve always struggled with but these are good tips. Choosing to focus on God’s truth makes a big difference.
Yes, it really does make a difference! Blessings to you, Lesley.
I love that your response to that mid-night fear was to open your Bible. So often, we resist it or hesitate to turn to God’s Word. Do we assume it won’t help? I’m sure there are many reasons for it, but I can attest to never having regretted time spent in God’s Word. What have we got to lose? His Word is living and active and has the power to transform our hearts and minds, as you’ve described so well in your post. Thanks for the encouragement!
Thanks for your thoughts, Jana. For me, when those night fears or worries hit, often I’m just too lazy to get out of bed. I assume I can shake them off myself! But I find it’s worth it just to get up and focus my mind on Scripture a few minutes!
Jennifer Smith says
Whatever we choose to focus on really does continue to grow in our minds – especially in the middle of the night. While I do not usually get up and physically read my Bible…I force myself to recite scripture or to practice new verses I’m trying to memorize. The Bible – God’s word. It definitely is the answer for transforming our thoughts and calming our fears. Great post!
Thanks for this idea, Jennifer. Often that works for me too, to start saying Psalm 23 to myself. Last month, I had a few sleepless nights–not that common for me anymore–and I turned to John 15, which I was memorizing.
I love that you helped us think about our worries and anxieties over work or family etc are really fear in disguise. And I’m thankful for your practical tips to call them what they are. Remind ourselves of Gods Nature and build a new practice of trusting God.
Thanks for sharing this encouragement, Cassie. Yes, often I think, “Well, I don’t experience fear!” But actually you are so right; it often disguises itself as worry or anxiety. 🙂
Mary Geisen says
Whatever we focus on becomes bigger in our minds. Whew! That is some truth. I have found myself in a cycle that looks like this lately. Thank you for the reminders of how to stop fear, reframe my focus and trust God.
Kim Turner McCulley says
Thank you for this encouraging post. I’m actually walking through a fearful season, and I’m encouraged by your post! I’ve pinned and tweeted it. Keep writing!
I’m sorry you’ve gone through a fearful season, Kim. I know how that feels. Hugs. <3
Jeanie Detomaso says
Thank you so much for this post Betsy! I’m so happy I found this in a fearful moment in the night! I recently retired from teaching and miss it so much but I KNOW there are still other paths and doors for god to open and show me new ways. I appreciate your words, they truly help!