I always knew I had a fear, well, many fears actually. I don’t think much about my fears. I mean, it’s normal to have fears, right? And some of those fears aren’t even that big.
At least, that’s what I thought until I read Jen Avellaneda‘s post “Are You Masking Fear? How to Get Free!” It’s a great post. I nodded at each statement I read, but what caught me and really made me rethink what fear is and identifying the fear was a quote out of Matthew, Luke, and Mark. It was the story of Jesus confronting the chained demon-possessed man outside of the city. The people were afraid of this demon-possessed man who terrorized them. This is the first thing Jesus asked the demon-possessed man, “What is your name?”
I was shaken by that simple question. I saw the demon-possessed man as an embodiment of fear, so Jesus asking him his name made me realize He is asking “fear” what its name is.
Here are my steps to getting free of fear:
1. Identify your fear. What is the name of your fear?
I never asked my fear for its name. So I thought about all the fear I have within me, and the answer came rather quickly. My fear’s name is Failure. Now I know everyone has some degree of fearing failure, but for me, it absolutely freezes me up and gives me anxiety.
2. What lies does fear tell you?
Evaluating my life, I know that my fear of failure has stopped me from becoming the person I envisioned myself to be. My fear speaks to me like this:
- If you put yourself out there and fail, everyone will see you as a failure, that you cannot do anything well.
- No one has your back.
- You cannot succeed because you are not as creative and forward-thinking as others.
These lies speak to me consistently throughout my life. It became so normal that I don’t hear them anymore, instead, I feel them.
3. What causes you to fear? How did it all start?
This fear started when I was a child. My parents gave no positive encouragement when I failed, and there were none when I succeeded either. Someone was always doing better and I needed to keep up, or I’m older now and should know certain things (I didn’t know what I didn’t know). I felt like I had no one to back me up in life. I was all on my own. So my understanding, as I grew into a teenager and finally into adulthood, is to seek minimal risk. Only things I knew I could do. Thus, whenever I hit a point in my life that seems like a high step, I panic and feel a strong urge to run in the opposite direction.
This mindset really set me back in life. I’ve let fear control me and thus gave up on what I really desired to do because I FEAR wanting it too much and failing before I reach my dreams. And so, not only have I lost great opportunities and the time to achieve them early on, but I also lost my direction. My flame of passion flickers on and off: am I truly passionate about this subject or that field? Why do I not feel it now when I felt it yesterday?
4. Speak truths into your life.
Even before I realized the name of my fear, I had learned to speak truth into my life. It really works to get your confidence up and to remind yourself that you are no longer who you were. Speak positivity into your life.
These were my truths:
- I can pick myself up if I fall
- I do have people who care about me and I can turn to
- God loves me and only sets me up to succeed
- God is preparing me for better things through my trials and mistakes
- Failure does not define me and my future
- Failure is not permanent
There were other truths I told myself and still tell myself that applies to other areas of my life, such as my job/career. I recently quit my job and I did before I had the hardest time accepting the fact that I couldn’t do my job. I couldn’t really accept that I had “failed.” I was stressing over it until it hit me: I had not failed, my job and I simply weren’t compatible. That was all. I looked at what I’ve accomplished while I was with the organization and what I’ve learned; there was nothing pointing to me as failing. Just because I was quitting does not mean I failed, but that that lie started nagging at me. I had to seek the truth to kill the lie.
My supervisor also confirmed that I am a great worker and that she loved working with me, but that certain aspects of the job don’t agree with how I work.
At the end of the day, it is not the fault of anyone, just that we are all looking for compatibility. We didn’t fail because we worked hard.
If you speak truths into your life, you will see the lies that engulfed you. Don’t let fear lie to you and keep you from being free to be yourself.
I repeat the truth to myself in my head over and over throughout the day. For some, they may have to look in the mirror and speak truths into their face. Find what works for you to speak truth into your life. Speaking truths to yourself work.
Finally, I’ll leave you with the most important task in achieving your freedom from fear: PRAY. Prayer helps calm that anxious feeling you have when facing your fear and prayer solidifies the truths you speak to yourself.
- Identify your fear. What is the name of your fear?
- What lies does fear tell you?
- What causes you to fear? How did it start?
- Speak truth into your life.
And through it all, PRAY.