The following is an article I wrote for Suite101.com and thought I'd share with you. I'd love to hear what you think.
Lacking a sense of peace? Feeling fearful of situations? Battling negative or anxious thoughts? If you can relate, don't worry, there is hope.
The negative feelings we battle with are the devil’s deception to keep our stomachs in knots, our minds confused and to stop us from enjoying our lives. Fear comes in several forms. We could be struggling with it and not even realize it. In its obvious form, fear is a sense of panic. Less obvious forms include dread, worry, anxiety and guilt.
In her booklet, Don’t Dread, world-renowned minister and teacher, Joyce Meyer states that, “The devil uses fear in forms we don’t always recognize to steal our joy and prevent us from living the kind of life God intended” (5).
At some time, we have all dreaded something. Maybe it was going back to work on Monday or finally doing an unpleasant task that we put off for weeks. Meyer also says that when we think about things that we need to do we can become overwhelmed and dread doing them (36). Simply put, dread steals our joy, ruins a good mood and leaves us with a sense of gloom or despair.
Most of us have also worried about things such as losing our jobs, making the mortgage payment and the increasing cost of food and utilities. Worry turns our focus from God and the things we should be concentrating on, to things we usually have no control over. Colossians 3:2 says to, “Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.”
Another form of fear is anxiety. Many of us have become anxious about beginning a new job or meeting people for the first time. That would be considered normal. We need to come to expect that new and unexpected situations are a part of the norm of life. However, when we are constantly anxious about imaginary situations, such as the possibility of a deadly illness or a terrorist attack, then we have a problem with anxiety. While both are possible, we should not allow ourselves to focus on such thoughts. Joshua 1:9 states, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
Guilt is the form of fear we usually try to cover up or suppress. However, God gave each of us a conscience and, though we try, we can’t escape the feeling. Sometimes our guilt haunts us, or we try to justify our wrong to relieve the guilt. We also stifle or deny it until the feeling passes. If we do it long enough, eventually we’ll become desensitized to feelings of guilt.
So, how do we overcome the feelings we battle and find ourselves giving in to? First, we need to set our minds to recognize the symptoms in our lives before they overpower us. And the best way to recognize them is through prayer. We should ask the Lord to open our eyes and show us when they are creeping in. Another way would be to speak with a trusted friend, someone we could pour our heart out to.
Finally, the most powerful way to overcome fear is through the Word of God. Speak the scriptures. Hebrews 4:12 states “The word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit” (NKLV). Throughout the Bible, God tells His people, as He tells us today, not to fear or worry. He is in control.
Learning to Conquer Fear: Restoring Peace and Joy in our Hearts | Suite101.com http://mary-j-maciejewski.suite101.com/learning-to-conquer-fear-a29915#ixzz1qiBj2Db6