I once heard fear described as ‘False Evidence Appearing Real’ or ‘Forget everything and run!’. The challenge is – we ‘think’ the fear is real…. And it is real ~ in our mind. However, just because it is in our mind doesn’t make it any less paralysing. BELIEVING it to be real releases adrenalin and we are ready for fight, flight or run to our comfort zone. Fear stops us from thinking rationally.
Living in this “stress” mode is destructive to the immune system and because we believe the fears to be true, then often the belief does become our reality. What the mind of man can conceive and believe – we will achieve. Good or bad.
So how do we identify these false fears? How do we know when we really should be concerned about something? Is it smart to just dismiss everything as “it is nothing”?
For me the first thing to do is to identify what the fear is. Is the fear a concern about the way someone will respond if I called them – I could get a “no”. Is that so bad? Is it the end of the world? So looking at my fear I could ask? Is it fear of rejection? Would the person be rejecting me or my offer?
If I tried something new and I didn’t succeed the first time, does that make me a failure, or does it mean that I have identified something that I would like to become better? If I go somewhere new and different, is it possible that I could enjoy the experience? Is there something from my past that makes me feel inadequate when I am in this situation? Why is it that I am concerned about getting out of my comfort zone? Am I afraid of change? Does this fear have any basis? Do I have any evidence that I should be concerned about this? Are these fears my own or have they been passed on to me by someone else? What has my past experience been in this area? Has anyone else ever done this and been successful?
Perhaps I could say “possible in the world, possible for me!” How can I find out what ‘they’ did to be successful? Perhaps my fear is that people will find out I am not really who they think I am. Perhaps I am out of my depth because I am not sure what could happen in a situation. Sometimes my fear is simply one of looking foolish – then people may not accept me.
By identifying what the real fear is and analysing the possibility of any truth in the fear, it helps me put it in perspective.
I have had so many people say to me “How can you live on the mountain in a high fire risk area?” Yes, fires are a possibility and once we did need to evacuate. However, ‘prior preparation prevents pitfalls & poor performance’. We have our fire plan in place, we have done the training and if we were not able to leave, we are prepared. Therefore, I am not concerned about living where we do. I love it here instead of fearing possible hazzards.
I also like to think of the worst case scenario with all these mental fears. In reality how many of these mental monsters could become a reality? I have discovered we can use so much energy worrying about something that never happens or a reaction that doesn’t come, that our lives fall short of our potential. These fears stop us from following our passions and we can die with unfulfilled dreams.
Mark Twain said, ‘Courage is mastery of fear, not absence of fear.’ You have to decide whether you’re going to become a warrior-or a worrier. There’s no middle ground. When you’re faced with a crisis, you either choose to stand on your faith or give in to worry. This side of Heaven we will never fully understand why bad things happen to good people. But we know that God is good-all the time!
So when bad things happen to good people, you will either give in to fear and allow it to destroy your peace and well-being, or you will become a warrior armed with faith and rise up against it. When fear threatens to engulf your mind, stand up with the Psalmist and say, ‘Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in You Lord God.’ (Psalm 56:3 NKJV) The greatest courage of all is showing courage in the face of fear. Someone said, ‘Courage is just fear that has said its prayers and you are filled with faith in that moment. It puts steel in your spine. But even when you move out in faith, you can still encounter the old lions of fear’. ‘What if this doesn’t work? What if I fail? What will people say?’ Suddenly you’re having an attack of the ‘what ifs’.
I have a saying that says – “WHAT IF?” Just imagine what could be if I let go of the fear and stepped out to try something different. What if I could imagine some great events, results and responses instead of negative ones? What if I could turn that negative energy into something positive? Where could that positive energy called faith take me? The possibilities are endless!