Fear is for Real: 5 Ways to Deal with Fear in Our Lives

Sadly, we live in an era where we experience fear in what should be mundane, simple situations.

On Friday, January 8, 2016, for the first time, I was a little afraid when I dropped my eight year old off at her school. If you haven’t heard Jefferson County Public Schools were on a level three security procedure for the day because of threats that were made for multiple JCP schools. She got out smiling and her principal opened the door for her (which I thought was a pretty great thing). I hoped and prayed for the best— but I was a little scared.  What if?

Fear has always been a human reality. In fact, one of the greatest leaders in the Bible, Joshua, experienced tremendous fear as he was taking the reins from Moses and leading God’s people into the Promised Land. How do we know he was so afraid?  We see in Joshua 1 that the people and God told Joshua to “be strong and courageous” and “do not fear” eight times.  Eight times in one chapter. Eight times in eighteen-verses. It doesn’t take a biblical scholar to figure out that Joshua was showing a little fear, but the people and most importantly, God, still believed in Joshua.

So what can you do to be strong and courageous when fear creeps into our lives?

Admit You Are Afraid

From childhood we are told to “suck it up” and “be tough”. These “encouraging words” are meant to strengthen us, but most of the time they weaken us. Denying the fear we feel doesn’t get rid of it—it merely hides it for a time.

Jesus felt everything we have felt so we can approach him confidently in our time of need (Hebrews 4:14-16). Jesus was terrified before the cross. I bet when the devil showed up in the desert that freaked him out a little as well. Admitting we are afraid helps us to deal with our fear head on.

Find Out What is True

Fear can be a very good thing. A healthy amount of fear causes us to act with caution when needed. Fear causes us to slow down and assess the situation and slowing down allows us to ask “what is true about this situation?”. Many times our fears come from worrisome exaggerations of what “could happen” instead of thinking about what has happened and how we have prepared for the situation we are facing.


Surround Yourself with Good People

Strong people succeed in conquering fears not because they are macho and rush the field. Strong people succeed because they surround themselves with people who have strengths they don’t possess, tell them when they are wrong, and encourage them to be their best. Joshua’s people reminded him that they trusted him; they believed in his strengths. This type of encouragement allows us to act with strength and courage, rather than with fear. Who do you surround yourself with in your life? Do you have people in your life that will speak truth and reason? People who will speak encouragement?

Be Willing to Take the First Step

In conquering anything the first few movements are the hardest.  Detox is a very hard step in recovery. Going to the gym is difficult when all you want to do is just sit home and relax. After the first step the plan becomes clearer, not necessarily easier, but if you look at what you’ve already achieved, your strength, courage and confidence will grow.

Believe What God Believes

Joshua was told to meditate on God’s word day and night. Now that is hard for a leader because at some point you have to take action, right?  You can’t just sit in your room all day praying and reading the Bible. But Joshua was told this because he needed to believe what God believed. God had been preparing Joshua to succeed Moses’ leadership and Joshua needed to see himself through God’s eyes.

God has been preparing you for what you are fearing as well.  When you think you can’t do it…God thinks you can.  When you say, “I can’t lead these people” God believes you can.

So may God, who is strong in our weakness, take you by the hand and help you be strong and courageous!