"Fear has torment" is a phrase from the word that speaks volumes. If your life is ruled by fear and your outlook is fear based, hang on. Help is on the way.
Author June Hunt explains in her counseling manual that during the Nazi regime, Hitler's minister of propaganda said, "If you want someone to believe something, you have to tell it to him over, and over and over." If you are living in a state of fear, it's because you have been brainwashed with false propaganda. You're cowering in a corner, you're in a ditch filled with dread, afraid to turn around, step out and reach out, and get out. Hitler's reign of terror ended years ago, and when the German people learned the truth about Hitler, they were emotionally set free.
Most know that fear is an emotional response to imminent danger, whether real or imagined. Fear can be a good thing if it is in response to something that can truly hurt us. However, fear becomes a damaging thing when we develop the spirit of fear. That is simply not of God. II Timothy 1:7 says, "God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind."
Many times we develop a spirit of fear from an event. Most have heard of PTSD - Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Many of our soldiers come home with this disorder. Others who experience it are abused women, rape victims and child abuse victims. Even a car accident can trigger the release of so much adrenaline that the body gets stuck on "overdrive" and the "flight" mechanism keeps giving and giving. Often I tell my clients that sometimes the only thing standing between you having a mediocre life or a great life is a little medication and counseling.
If you grew up in a household where fear reigned, it is of utmost importance to realize God does not ask us to stand in our own strength, but rather in the strength of God.
Many adults remain living in fear their entire lives. Hunt explains, "If you grew up in a home where fear reigned, you could have easily developed a fear-based mentality as a child and grown into an adult controlled by fear. At times, you find yourself feeling helpless and powerless to confront or to match someone strength-for-strength. You will remain at the mercy of those who are 'master manipulators' with fear tactics unless you recognize the bondage you are in and accept the fact that Christ came to free the oppressed. Yes, Christ came to set you free."
We have to choose to not allow people or circumstances to control us, and decide to get out of the grip of fear. Often, a person must make some life changes in order to be set free. There is true and imminent danger of an abusive home, and there is a life of imagined danger due to past baggage of something or someone who propelled us on this downward spiral of fear. If there is real danger, there are steps to take to ensure your safety. Contact your local Women's Aid In Crisis for the "how to" on that. That goes for men, too. Often it is men who are the silent sufferers in domestic violence due to the stigma of husband abuse. Seek help today.
If yours is a past experience that haunts you or the present that frightens you, take heart. There are steps toward healing. Hunt further explains, "Be aware living in a state of fear is not part of God's plan for you because fear-based thinking is ... keeping you in bondage, and physically, emotionally and spiritually damaging. Then, be willing to analyze your fear honestly in order to discover the real source of it. Rejection? Failure? Financial loss? Be aware of the power of God's love for you. It provides complete acceptance, a realization of your value, the power to overcome fear and true security."
We can develop our faith by reading God's word and then meditating upon it and praying. Fellowship with other believers will strengthen us. "As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another." Proverbs 27:17.
Becoming free from fear and strengthening your faith will give you peace and joy you may have never known. It is not God's will for anyone to live in fear. In Kristin's Bible, the verse Psalm 4:8 is highlighted - "In peace I will both lie down and sleep, For you alone, O Lord, make me to dwell in safety." After the verse, she penned: "Everyone has the right to feel that way." I agree. You do not have to live in fear. You can live in safety, whether it is physical emotional, spiritual or mental safety. You have a right to feel that way.
(Kimberly Morgan, MA, is a wife and homeschool mom in Elkins. She also is a counselor and licensed chaplain with Cornerstone Christian Counseling. She can be reached at 304-637-1109.)