Knowing the symptoms and some of the body’s reactions will help you become more realistic about your fears. In addition, you may need to take some important specific steps to subdue any fears of being out of control. When you recognize the icy fingers of fear digging into your shoulder, here are five practical strategies you can consider.
- Face Your Fear
You need to open your locked closet and let the sunlight in. You can’t get well unless you confront the facts. The fear of your fear can sometimes be the biggest problem you face. There are many different approaches to getting honest with yourself about your feelings. Taking a peek into your dark attic can be one of your most important steps toward sound mental health.
- Set Boundaries
Learn to say no! Drs. John Townsend and Henry Cloud’s book entitled, Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No to Take Control of Your Life, revolutionized practical Christianity. Their Boundaries series (Boundaries in Dating, Boundaries with Kids, Boundaries in Marriage, Boundaries with Teens) has helped millions of people both directly and indirectly. In this series, Drs. Townsend and Cloud make the point that everyone needs to set parameters. Creating limits keeps us out of the places where destructiveness happens. Learning to say no is one of the most important boundaries that will keep us out of harm’s way.
Many people find this change to be a particularly difficult step because they have become conditioned to saying “yes” to every request. Refusing feels inconsiderate or impertinent. Consequently these victims go from problem to problem without realizing that they keep opening the door to their own difficulties. And the fear of disappointing someone controls them. Being unable to say know may be a symptom of a deeper fear that needs to be uncovered and dealt with.
- Consider Insight-Oriented Therapy
We must learn to face and resolve old losses and stresses. Often we need help in working through these unresolved issues. Don’t feel weak for needing help. Feel strong and courageous for asking for it. Scripture reminds us: Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed (Proverbs 15:22 NIV). Professional help can make all the difference in getting to the bottom of our fears and taking the steps needs to freedom.
- Consider Medication
In the right combinations, medications work nearly 100 percent of the time. While most of the people who seek professional help are able to overcome their fears through counseling alone, many times panic-stricken patients need a physiological chemical change that will enable them to resolve their fear-related issues. Spiritual issues often lie behind the cause of apprehension, and patients must deal with these in conjunction with medication if they are going to become totally whole. It is wise to see a good Christian counselor to look at the root of our fear, and not just expect a quick fix from taken a pill.
We need to be connected to God and His people. Spending time with loving, grace-filled servants of God can soothe anyone’s fear. Unconditional love is healing and will help us maintain perspective. New hope and direction can come from establishing positive relationships with people to whom we can confess our fears. Find a healthy church and join a small group where you can share your burdens, be encouraged, and be an encouragement to others. You can find comfort and healing in community with others.
Sometimes we have missed the reasons why we feel so disconnected and alienated. You may need to spend time looking at what destroyed your past relationships. Exploring the strained relationships of the past can be painful, but can help us to severe these unhealthy ties that control us.
Most important of all is to come into a new, intimate relationship with our Heavenly Father. He’s the one who has the capacity and potential to restore our lives and is waiting to do so. A revived relationship with Jesus Christ can add the power and opportunity needed to reconnect with people and God-and to face fear. Spending regular time with the Lord will help you to re-connect and change your perspective on life.
Remember that God’s gifts are power, love, and self-control. But you won’t experience them unless you work through all the reasons you have become disconnected from the Father. He is the ultimate, healing connection.
By Steve Arterburn