How to Overcome Fear

Everyone is afraid of something. You can be afraid of heights (Acrophobia), afraid of open spaces (Agoraphobia), or simply afraid of spiders (Arachnophobia).

In my case, I have always been afraid of public speaking. I recently discovered my fear goes by the name Glossophobia, which is really speech anxiety. I would have thought, though, a fear such as this would have gone by a better name. Something like Heartinmythroatphobia would make more sense. I would even accept KillmenowbeforeIgoonstagephobia.

I have learned, however, that fear avoidance does nothing more than delay the inevitable. Eventually the same challenge will appear and you will have to tackle it one way or another.

Facing My Fears

To overcome my fear of public speaking I do what any normal human being would do. I immerse myself in situations where I cannot avoid public speaking.

I realize it sounds counterintuitive. After all, who does that? Who confronts the very thing that promotes that queasy feeling in the pit of the stomach that renders a person sick as a billy goat?

Well, I do.

Whenever there is an opportunity to make a speech, say a few words on behalf of an event, or have a need to make my opinion known, I am there. I do it because I know that if I choose to stay quiet, I will not grow and be a better individual. I will remain the same.

Sameness makes a person lukewarm.

And a long time ago, I promised myself I would never be lukewarm for something I care about a great deal.

God Fights on My Behalf

The other thing I have yet to mention that gives me the courage to step outside of myself and face my fears is I have God fight my battles for me:

“Say to those with fearful hearts, ‘Be strong, and do not fear, for your God is coming to destroy your enemies. He is coming to save you’” (Isa. 35: 4 NLT).

Imagine your fear being a big bully waiting for you at the end of the street. In the past, you turned the corner and went the other way. But on this occasion, right ahead is God who will ensure your safety. He will fight in your stead. He will vanquish your enemies and turn them into dust.

With a thought like that is it a wonder anyone has any fears at all.

Will Fear Ever Vanish?

Yet, every so often, I still have that queasy feeling whenever all eyes are gazing at me. And I am fine with that because I know as I move forward toward overcoming my insecurity I will be a better version of myself.

In that sense, it is all a matter of facing the challenge head on, and tackling it so that I can control it as opposed to it controlling me.

Add to that God’s help, and I know I have nothing to fear.

Peace

At this very moment, I feel privileged, not in the sense of what I own, but in the sense of who is now in my life. I have felt this way ever since deciding in the spring that, after a twenty-year absence, I belonged back in church.

"My Peace I give you" (John 14:27).

“My Peace I give you” (John 14:27).

Now, the funny part about it all is that my wife, Luana, had never stopped attending. In fact, not so long ago, she was going to a revival church one week and a fundamental church the other. Given my skeptical mindset at the time, it made for some interesting comic fodder. I could not pass up the opportunity to razz her about the obvious inconsistency with believing two sets of doctrine. After all, both churches could not be right about salvation, I thought!

However, God was performing a great work with my life. All I had to do was to be patient.

Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid” (John 14:27 ESV).

Through my church, I have learned to be patient and listen to what God has to say (James 5:7). I have learned what true peace means (Rom. 15:13) and I have grown to understand where I fit in the grand scheme of God’s plan (Mat. 5:9).

I have repented (Acts 3:19). I have forgiven (Mat 6:14). Above all else, I have taken into me God’s spirit to become a new man in Christ, of which would not have been possible had God not called me to be a partaker of his plan (Acts 2:38).

With that in mind, I extend blessings to all my readers so as you may also find peace.

Our Deepest Fear

I recently watched the film Coach Carter. I remember having caught the movie years ago, but so much time had passed that the memory of it had faded. I am glad I spent the time to enjoy it once again.

"Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us."

“Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.”

The plot focuses on Ken Carter, a hardware store owner, who takes the helm coaching an inner city basketball team that he leads to an undefeated season.

By all measures, this story inspires and provides a glimpse of what obstacles people face when battling trials on the road to success. I found, however, the most poignant moment of the film does not come from one of the team’s many wins, but comes when one of the students thanks Coach Carter for his dedication to the team. Even more so, the speech is in answer to the coach’s curiosity of what the student feared most.

After some research, I found the origin of the speech the student recited came from a book written by Marianne Williamson called A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of A Course in Miracles:

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

I have been thinking about how my presence could help liberate someone else’s fear. As I look to become stronger in God’s word, I am finding the things that once frightened me are no longer an issue. This is to say, much of what I have learned in the past few months has given me the freedom from the anxiety stemming from fear. If anything, I have allowed God’s spirit to flow through me and on to others who need it. In other words, lately I have functioned as nothing more than a conduit for helping others.

Now, believe me when I say this, it has never been my intention to live the life I am living now, renewed in the spirit and allowing my light to shine in an obvious way. Before this, I have chosen to stand by the sidelines while permitting others to step in on my behalf. I will admit my liking to having had a low profile.

This is the reason Williamson’s quote has affected me so much. It reflects that which has taken shape in my heart, manifesting itself through deeds I did not know I could accomplish. And realizing I no longer fear because I no longer linger on the thought of suppressing my real self, makes me all the more thankful I am living the life God wants me to live—shining a light so that others may be liberated also.

Therefore, I ask. Would you care what anyone thought if you knew what your true potential was?

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