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Christian Counseling: Fears That Overtake Us

If there is any single word that so corrupts a person other than "sin," it is fear. Fear, as any other feeling, is not a sin, but the decisions we make about handling our fear can be. Too often people fear what others think and what they will do, so they choose not to stand up for what they believe, become silent in their witnesses for Him, and permit others to be harmed, like a child at the hand of an inappropriate parent. Consequently, many will feel some guilt and even direct some anger at themselves for not following their conscience in doing the right thing. But key to these and many other situations is the awesome power and control fear has over people.

I have seen many male and female clients who faint under another's assumed possession of kryptonite, be it their spouse, boss, parent or other authority figure. They want to act in strength and may even fantasize about having superhuman strength when confronting others in their minds, but are weak in the presence of another's felt massive power. The majority of people, especially women, don't want to hurt another person at any cost, so they keep the peace by silently withdrawing and allow the worms of hurt and anger to eat at them, while the tentacles of fear wrap themselves around their tongues, take freedom from their spirits, confidence from their esteem, and joy from their lives. They all know there is something quite wrong about it all, but fear has its way by confusing the mind and numbing the heart, until it becomes a way of life and imprisons.

Overcoming fear is no easy task, but truth, love and relationships, righteousness, and dying to this world are helps of great measure. Truth clarifies, such as lording one's power over another is contrary to Jesus' words. Instead, we are to be servants and mutually submissive to all (Mark 10:42,43; Ephesians 5:21). The love of God and others helps extinguish fear and supports us in cultivating new attitudes and behaviors (I John 4:18). We find power in a righteous purpose that gives us the courage to take some heat, like Jesus suffering for us. And when we are accustomed to dying daily to this life, fear loses its control because if we are not afraid of dying we've mastered the biggest fear of all (I Corinthians 15:31).

In the end, one must be "exposed" to the fear that mercilessly grips them. Bit by bit and experience by experience, through exposure kryptonite loses its power, insights about what underlies fear leads the way to new possibilities and freedom reigns. That is His wish for us all and to that end He is working, every day. Do you know in what ways He is at work in helping you overcome fear? Lastly, team up with two other people who can offer you encouragement and lend their strength until fear submits to you.

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