These past couple of weeks have been difficult. Two weeks ago, I had a plan. I had finally reached a “life stage” I had been anticipating for about a decade. Now, I’m back to where I started – no plan and no idea of what the future holds [if it’s not clear already, I went through a breakup].
What I found in the midst of feeling like “the bottom fell through” on my hopes and dreams were things I didn’t expect: security, faith, some courage.
The scary “what-ifs” of my past simply aren’t there anymore. And though the “what-ifs” have always been related to my future (what if I don’t get married, what if I can’t make it financially, what if I end up living a life of quiet desperation, and so forth) – and I am, quite obviously, older than I was – I find myself more confident than ever that things will turn out beautifully.
What’s the change? I think I have successfully overcome some fears in my life. What felt impossible at age 26 – overcoming fear of not getting my desires fulfilled – now feels, well, done.
Here’s what you should know: Fear was my MO for years and years. I feared, with near-nauseating paranoia, the following: what other people thought about me, gaining weight, losing friends, getting a terminal illness, etc. etc.
But, with a little knowledge about the spiritual realm, and how we’re actually created to think, I learned that any thought motivated by fear is simply not from God. In other words, it is not a good or true thought.
I wish it was as easy as simply experiencing this revelation, but it’s not. Overcoming fear is a matter of knowing Truth [perfect love casts out fear*], and training your mind to think differently.
If training your mind to think differently feels like an “impossible thing” – just like overcoming fear might – I want to encourage you: It’s not. Take it from someone who has suffered from some truly absurd forms of paranoia and extremely destructive thought patterns. It’s possible.
Training your mind has to do with knowing that there is an enemy of your soul who wants you to feel fear. If this sounds a little hocus-pocus to you, consider how aggressive, violent, and irrational that fear can feel. It can become totally disproportionate to the reality of your circumstances.
Training your mind to overcome fear necessitates that you learn to identify fear, and cut it off at the root – because it’s not from anyone or anything with whom you need to agree.
Training your mind continues with assuring yourself that God has really, really good plans for you. In fact, He has only the best intentions towards you.**
Finally, training your mind has to do with embracing hope: the joyful anticipation of good things.
Of course, this may make things sound a little too simple. Overcoming fear can take years, or even decades. But I believe it starts with these basic principles: love, truth, hope.
I can see the fruit of it in my own life, so that when I am shaken, I have something secure to stand on: the love of God, faith in a good future, belief in redemption.
*1 john 4:18