Dealing with fear and worry is an every day issue. You can’t avoid them. But what you can do is learn how to deal with them and overcome the paralyzing effect they can have on you.
Let’s first define fear and worry. While they are almost used interchangeably, there is a difference. Fear is an automatic reaction to some event. A rabid dog or a deer jumping in front of your car should instigate fear. In this way, fear is not altogether bad. When used properly, it can protect you.
Worry, on the other hand, is a choice. Francis Chan defines worry in his book Crazy Love”, Worry implies that we don’t quite trust that God is big enough, powerful enough, or loving enough to take care of what’s happening in our lives.”
The Bible actually gives us a model on how to deal with worry that will work in any situation. 1 Corinthians 13 is often referred to as the “Chapter of Love” and is popularly used in weddings. The famous ending of the chapter is “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”
The model for dealing with worry is to apply these three “most important things”, faith, hope & love. In this post I’ll talk about the first of these, faith.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt had a great quote linking fear (doubts) with faith. He said “The only limit to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today. Let us move forward with strong and active faith.” FDR recognized that you have to have faith in order to have the strength inside to move forward past the challenges of today.
First, let me explain that I’m not talking about a faith in God. While that is something that is important to me, that’s not what this blog is about. I am talking about applying some Biblical priniciples in a very practical way to help you in your daily life.
So how does faith help you with worry? Simply put, faith is a form of confidence. To overcome fear, you need to have faith – fatih in yourself, your friends, your employer, your abilities, your plan…. whoever you need to rely on to get you through the tough time.
Take for example the time last year when I was unemployed. I needed to have faith in several things:
- Myself – I had to believe that I was capable of finding a job, and performing the duties of it when I did.
- My friends – I had to believe that my network of friends and associates would come through and help me find employment opportunities.
- My wife and family – I had to believe that they would support me no matter what happened.
- My strategy – I had to believe that the job search strategy I had empoyed would work.
Francis Chan had this to say about fear and faith. “Fear never wrote a symphony or poem, negotiated a peace treaty, or cured a disease. Fear never pulled a family out of poverty or a county out of bigotry. Fear never saved a marriage or a business. Courage did that. Faith did that. People who refused to consult or cower to their timidities did that. But fear itself? Fear herds us into a prison and slams the doors.”
Call it faith, courage, confidence… pick your word, the meaning is the same. If you are going to face your worry head on, you have to figure out who and what you have faith in. Then use that confidence to help you through the tough times.
Next, I’ll talk about hope, and how it is a necessary component in dealing with fear.