Fear: Four Steps To Overcome Fear

3 Cheerleaders

By +Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

Last week, I shared about being tethered and walking on a ropes course at a ladies’ retreat. So many life lessons came from that afternoon.

On the ropes course, each woman was on equal ground. Sure, some came in having suffered the loss of marriages, or children, or the death of a loved one. We all came in with the lies we struggle to erase. We—each of us—had at least a small degree of fear.

JD takes the drop

Yet, when we gazed up at the course—when we dared glance down from the zipline platform before plunging into space—we were women who wanted to do something daring.

Each woman who traversed the course displayed courage framed in by cables. Each of us stepped our way across from the beginning to the end, cheered on by the women watching below. We took steps in faith.

NP Phase 3

Faith that the cables would hold us.

Faith in the tethers that bound our bodies to the cables.

Ultimately faith that the Lord would cross with us and keep us safe as we stepped out into space.

Eager for the ropes course

As women paired up to make the crossing it was fun to see them—eyes uncertain, yet sparkling.

Something happens when you overcome a fear. Sometimes we can only succeed with the cheers and encouragements of those around us.

Preparing for ropes course

On the zipline, the women who made the decision to just go for it found it easier. Those who sat on the platform staring at the ground found it more difficult to make the drop.

But, women watching below encouraged them.

Cheered them.

Prayed for them.

Some women initially hesitated before taking the plunge into nothing. Once they released themselves into the air and survived, they knew they’d conquered that fear. They could do it again. And some of them did.

Looking upward

Isn’t that how it is in life? Most of us fear something. Sometimes the fear seems insurmountable. We don’t think we can overcome it. But, someone (or many someones) come alongside and encourage us, reminding us Who goes with us. First of all God, but also people who have walked a similar path. I’ve been pondering these experiences and lessons learned on the zipline.

Supporters

Four Steps Toward Overcoming Fear:

  1. Know that God is with you—all around you, above and below. He isn’t taken by surprise with your life’s circumstances. He knows the fears you deal with, and He doesn’t expect you to handle them on your own. He’s the One to tether yourself to when the fears seem too big to overcome.
  2. Make up your mind that you’re going to master it. No, it won’t be easy, but determining in your mind— in your heart—that you will face the fear is the biggest part of the battle. Once you make up your mind to conquer it, cement the determination in your heart.

Watching the ropes course 1

Sometimes this comes through finding someone/something that inspires you to move forward. One “afraid-of-heights” friend told me she considered me to be a cautious person. So, when I braved the ropes course last year, she decided she could do it too. And she did.

3. Enlist warriors to walk beside you. God created us to be interdependent. We’re not designed to walk through this life alone. You’re not alone in dealing with your fear. Find trustworthy people who will pray for you, speak truth and encouragement to you. This is especially important when your determination wavers.

4. Act. Determination is good, but if we don’t act on it, we never change. If needed, create a plan to help you overcome your fear. Set goals and get your cheerleaders on board with you.

Your fear may not be one of heights. Maybe it’s handling a difficult situation. Or speaking in front of people. Maybe it’s dealing with a hurtful relationship. When we let fear master us, we live in subjection to a pattern of thinking that holds us captive.

“God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, of love and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7.

Let’s stop letting fear overcome us and take action today.

What about you? What fear have you overcome? What helped you master it? What suggestion would you add to my list?

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7 thoughts on “Fear: Four Steps To Overcome Fear

  1. What a great post, and your “Four Steps” are marvelous.

    The fears that I might have had at this point are of pain and death, but I’ve got a fairly ancient strategy for dealing with them – una salus victis nullam sperare salutem.

    The only hope of the doomed is not to hope for safety.

    I figure I’m going to die, and it’s going to hurt, so I do my best to push hard enough to hurt MORE in the course of a normal day. That way, I have the assurance that tomorrow’s waking nightmare will not beat me.

    And death? Most of the people I knew and loved died young and did not die of natural causes. I feel them around me in the hard hours, and when I die they’ll take me Home.

    Anything else is chicken feed.

    Well, not ANYTHING.

    Hummingbirds.

    I’ve been attacked by hummingbirds on several occasions – they go for the neck, and stab me with their beaks. The pollen resident on the beak causes an allergic reaction which is most uncomfortable, and leaves a silver-dollar sized swelling.

    So, yeah. I’m terrified of the little…uh, birdies.

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    • Andrew, you have a good perspective about pain and death. I admit, I’m not even close to there. 🙂 It took me years to get over my fear of dying, even though I knew where I was going. I’m learning not to fear pain. The older a body grows, the greater the likelihood it will suffer pain. It seems a little silly to fear it. Rather just find a way to deal with it. Doing so graciously is the trick sometimes.

      And . . . hummingbirds. I had no idea they could be so vicious! Sorry you found out the hard way. I guess I’ll enjoy them from a distance. 🙂

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  2. Public speaking, Jeanne. Witnessing God provide the first time is what helps me take that next step forward. I’m still fearful … but not as much as the first time. The first time, I was really sick the night before and morning of … but I went and God delivered me through it. It was great … and I enjoyed it through my weak state. The last time … my hip shook uncontrollably! It’s fear. And three weeks after my surgery! 🙂 I’ll be glad when I reach a day that I don’t have bodily reactions! 🙂 But I continue to take that step out … God is faithful … He’s proven that.

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    • I love this, Shelli. 🙂 Yes, God meets us where we are, especially when we step out in spite of our fear. I’m so glad He’s equipped you to conquer the fear when you speak publicly. I hope to hear you one day!

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  3. Beautifully written Jeanne. Your ‘voice’ comes across with much ease and inspiration!

    I do not like lightening. It has bordered on the edge of fear. Trusting that the Lord alone knows the number of my days has helped me to overcome this. I also have an outdoor responsibility with animals that must be cared for in spite of the weather. Their well-being also motivates me.

    I don’t have anything to add to your excellent ‘list’ except an encouragement to anyone out there who does not have a network to draw upon for warriors: My encouragement would be to become engaged in a small fellowship, such as a bible study or other group. Friendships will build. Support will build. Opportunities to be that warrior for others will arise. God has indeed created us to be “interdependent.”

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    • Mickey, I’m so glad you stopped by. Lightning gets to me too, especially if I’m in the open. 🙂 I love your suggestion for becoming involved in a group of like minded people. Sometimes we have to be intentional about building friendships. Thanks for sharing your wisdom!

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