Facing and Rising Above Fear

Fear –(noun) distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain, etc., whether  it is real or imagined; the feeling or condition of being afraid. 2) concern or anxiety

When I was a little girl through my years of early adulthood, I had traumatic life experiences as a result of various kinds of abuse that caused me to be very fearful, fear-FULL, or filled with fear. At a young age, I dealt with fear by fleeing.

Flight or fight – the two most common reactions to fear.

I can remember a one year period of my life when I was afraid of just about everything. I literally drove my parents and older sister nuts during this period of time, but I physically and mentally felt fear.  However, both of my parents would teach us different and vital lessons on facing fear. My parents were minorities who became U.S. citizens at very early ages, and learned to speak and live in a completely different country and culture than the one in which they were born and raised. My mother worked for the embassy and my father fought in Vietnam.  Each of them had to overcome serious obstacles of approval and acceptance in this country, in the workforce, in our neighborhoods, and in society. My mother dealt with various situations head on regardless of how she was being treated and/or judged because she was first a minority in this country, and second a woman in the work force.  My dad always had the survivor mentality, and one of his famous lines to us as children was, “Pretend your mother and I aren’t here, how would you do it?” This became the line he would use to teach us how to open birthday presents/boxes and put things together/build them, fix our bicycle chain, fix a flat tire, change the oil in our cars, defend ourselves, etc.  And, those things that we were unable to readily figure out, he and my mother would teach us how and from then on, we had to do it on our own as if we were by ourselves with no one to help us. He and my mother would have no clue of the various trials we had gone through as children for a while, but their “survivor mentalities” would begin to teach us how to face or confront our fears.

Confront:  1) come face to face with; 2) to directly oppose and question the action or authority of someone; 3) brings two persons together for examination, comparison, discovery of truth; 4) to deal with (something, such as a problem or danger);especially : to deal with (something) in an honest and direct way.

While I couldn’t fight off some of the traumatic abuses that I experienced in my life, I can literally remember a time in my teenage years in which I was done being a victim. I very much had the victim mentality as a young child because I was victimized by people of their own free will, NOT God’s doing. Fear had caused me to bow down to it and, as a result, I did not trust certain types of people and I was insecure with myself. I let fear dictate my life in certain areas because of the destruction that took place in my life.

“You shall have no other gods before me…You shall not bow down to them or serve them” ~Exodus 20:3, 5

Fear in our world today is defined as a strong emotion or strong feeling. That is not how the Bible defines it:

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

The spirit of fear causes our body to react in very specific ways:

“Fear came upon me and trembling which made all my bones shake.” ~Job 4:14

Fear also produces dry mouth, stress, heart palpitations, sweating profusely, and thoughts of impending doom. The spirit of fear will try and get you to bow down to it by first affecting your thoughts and giving you all of the reasons why you should be afraid, by outlining all of the “What IF’s?” in a situation.

I have used an acronym for “IF” in the “What IF’s” of life as; IF = “I’m Fear” speaking to you. Remember, fear is a spirit and its language is going to do its best to outline all of the fears you should have, could have, and would have.

Fear projects our past experiences into the future, robbing us of the present, today.

Fear and faith both project into the future. We get to choose which we would like to project into our future, fear or faith. We can call those things that are not as though they were in fear or faith. God says that the power of life or death are in the tongue:

Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof. ~Proverbs 18:21

God created this world into existence by the power and use of words. Words have power and we get to choose what power we give them; to destroy, tear down, curse, death; or build up, restore, bless – life.

When AJ arrived in the trauma room in Charlotte, I witnessed doctors putting up the x-rays of her pelvic area and saying, “It’s like a puzzle with missing pieces.” In the coming days we were told that she would need steel plates on both sides of her pelvis along with nuts, bolts, and rods. From the time that I saw her after her accident, we began praying and speaking creative miracles in her body. We began calling those things that are not as though they were and speaking life into her being, believing God, the Great Physician and Healer, to do what only He can do.  After her pelvic surgery the doctor came out to speak with us and said, “I don’t know what happened. It wasn’t as bad as we thought at the beginning. She only needed 1 PIN to hold her pelvis together.” We knew what happened. We trusted in God more than man. We believed God’s report, not man’s report.

“Who has believed our report? And to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed?” ~Isaiah 53:1

When our feelings or in this case, fear, tries to get us to bow down to it – it will never restore life into our lives. It will always produce death of some sort be it stealing our joy, peace, work, relationships, health -our life.

The freedom of fear does not always mean the disappearance of fear.

When I was younger, I confronted my fears in the “fight” response. But, God taught me to confront them in a godly manner. We can confront our feelings instead of wishing that “it” or “they” would go away, wishing that “it” hadn’t happened, wishing that we hadn’t had something or someone in our lives. As God was bringing the children of Israel to the Promised Land, He called them to possess the land.

Possess: to occupy, dominate, or control.

“See, I have set the land before you. Go in and possess the land which the Lord your God swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, to Jacob, to give to them and their seed after them.” ~Deuteronomy 1:8

The Promise Land, or the life God died for us to live is within our reach on a daily basis. The fears and other “feelings” we allow ourselves to be subject to, to bow down to, prevent us from living the abundant life.

“Be strong and courageous, DO NOT FEAR, or be afraid of ‘them’. For it is the Lord your God who is going with you. He does not fail you nor forsake you.” ~Deuteronomy 31:6

What you choose not to control or confront will control and confront you.

Leading up to our son’s severe seizure and brain tumor diagnosis in February of this year, and his brain surgery in March of this year, I felt like I was behind Fear’s pitching machine. I had received a troubling report from one of my doctor’s, my husband had received some troubling reports from his doctor, and both of my parents had received troubling reports from their doctors. These reports all came around the same time, and I had already taken in the “WHAT IF’s?” What if I died? What if my husband died? What if my parents died?” It was no surprise then that I didn’t initially handle that trial with the same faith as I did our daughter’s trial. I was quite the mess because now fear had put into my thinking, “What if my child dies?”

When you feel fear, don’t run.

There I was in the hospital with no place to run. I had no choice but to press in and confront my fears because they were all up in my face confronting and consuming me. I needed to be strong and not be afraid of the thoughts that fear was putting in my head. I needed to face them with faith knowing that God was with me and He would not fail me. I began that journey just before the diagnosis of our son’s brain tumor.  God showed up countless times through people we knew and didn’t know to assure us that our son would be just fine. Even our son faced the trial in great faith, trusting and proclaiming God’s faithfulness every step of the way.

God operates in faith. Fear hinders what He tries to do in our lives because fear is the opposite of faith. 

Where does it say that we have to feel right or have the perfect set of circumstances in order to do what God has called us to do? We conquer fear through confronting it even if it means we are shaking in the process. We don’t conquer fear through running from it. Many believers, including myself, use prayer as an excuse to run from fear, “I’ll pray about it,” but they never deal with it and it remains a stronghold of fear in their lives.  We also don’t conquer it by doing what I also used to do, take immediate action or “fight” and not in God’s timing. God has given us the power to do ALL things through Him who strengthens us (Philippians 4:13). Therefore, we must choose to stop living in fear and dread so that we can be who He has called us to be, and do what He has called us to do.

Fear will try and make us believe that our future is going to be filled with dreadful things that could destroy us.

Dread: to fear something that will or might happen

When our son came home to recover from his brain surgery, I was struggling with dread.  I was constantly gasping for fear that something might happen or something bad would happen each time they would go outside, get hurt, cry, etc. As I was sitting outside keeping a close watch on my children as they rode their bikes, I saw our son get on his bike and I immediately felt dread. My middle daughter and child, Spunky Pops, said, “Why can’t you think that they are just kids having fun and nothing is going to happen?  Why do you always have to think something bad is going to happen to them? If they fall, they’ll get back up. They will be ok.”

FEAR: False Evidence Appearing Real

Fear and dread come by way of thought. We must then choose to think in faith and not in fear. Fear gives a negative feeling and tries to relay a negative report that hasn’t happened yet. So many people miss out on big blessings in their lives out of fear of the “coulda, should, woulda – but didn’t” situations in life.

When I first learned of our daughter’s accident through my husband’s phone call, fear tried to come upon me, ready to consume my mind. But, we chose to answer in faith and pray instead.

A person controlled by fear will:

  • not step out and try new things
  • assume the worst
  • be tormented by memories, visions, thoughts
  • be robbed of their present lives and future
  • believe that God can’t do the impossible

A person who confronts fear will:

  • step out and try new things
  • pray, hope, and have faith in God’s best for them
  • make new memories, overcome, and be renewed in their minds
  • enjoy life and have great hope for their future
  • believe that God can do the impossible

I do not proclaim to have overcome fear. It’s a daily choice to confront fear or be tormented by it. Although I have passed through some traumatic trials in my life, God has been faithful to instill in me to purpose to enjoy life and not let fear rob me of living it to the fullest. I confess that I don’t always succeed, but I do try and try again.

Fear has no authority over you if you confront it.

I had and have to choose to confront fear because I know what it is like to be controlled by it. We have the Spirit of the living God within us and when we choose to recognize that powerful truth over our fears we can then:

FEAR: Face Everything And Rise (~Zig Ziglar)

In the first week that AJ had been home from the accident, God impressed upon my heart several fears we had and have to confront; the first of which was getting back into a vehicle and driving past the scene of her accident.  We had doctor’s appointments to go to and although I could have chosen another way to go, and some even suggested that I do so for her sake, God said different and I whole-heartedly agreed. Fear is a prison house. Faith is facing our fears and rising above them in Him.

“So if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.” ~John 8:36

I have had quite a few people share with me that they fear such and such happening to them, or they begin to project the trials that we have faced as a fear in their own lives.  In my “About Me” page I have shared that I “journal my fears and seek to turn them into victories.” Journaling was and is still a huge part in my healing in all things since I was a little girl. As believers, we have more power behind the words because of the power of the Living Word. I have pushed my children to keep journals from a very young age for the same purpose and healing God gave me in it. Most who truly know me know that I’m a pretty transparent person. I wasn’t always this way. I wasn’t always a confrontational person either. But, God once dropped into my spirit,

“What you don’t bring to the light and reveal, I cannot heal.”

There is great risk in being judged in our transparency, but God can use it to show others that they too can be healed and freed as they trust in Him. This is my hope and prayer for each of you who read our “But God” testimonies.

We can choose to run from our fears, fight them in our flesh, or confront them in faith. Whether we choose to journal or confess it aloud, the power of God’s whole healing begins with choice. Choose Life – Yours, and Live It! =)

~Laurie for the PopTribe

@popsoflife

 

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About Laurie Popovich, Pops of Life

Hi! So, happy you stopped by. Stick around while I tell you a little bit about me and my journey. I’m a daughter to Spanish parents and a sister, too! That means I love family, hugs, to share my 2 cents, music, dancing, flavorful foods & coffee. I’m a wife, twice to the same man, in a thrice redeemed marriage. I love deeply because I know no other way and it has filled my life with hope. I’m a believer of the impossible. I’m a mom of 5 beautiful and full of life blessings; but was only supposed to have one. You see, I had cancer; given 6 months to live when our first and daughter was 2. They’re a product of the impossible. I’m a homeschool mom who didn’t think she could teach: first, at all then, at different levels, different styles. I teach in what in my mind was the impossible. I’ve walked through many trials; some that have taken my life in many aspects, including literally. I have overcome the impossible. I’m a spiritual sister and friend. I love to share and encourage others in life to live the impossible. I’m a daughter of the King; a powerful Creator and Redeemer of the impossible – me - and I can be impossible  I love to…love people…encourage others…being a student of life and the impossible …laugh at myself… journal my hopes & dreams & pray to make them a reality… journal my fears & seek to turn them into victories…eat chocolate…cook for many & watch them enjoy the food & fellowship…go against the grain because you never know what blessing is there waiting for you…flirt with my husband openly because I’m in love…squeeze our 5 blessings often because I’m grateful & amazed by them…say sorry often because I make mistakes, stress & well, I’m a mess at times…I run to clear my head…and…I run to God because He’s my source of strength, hope, and love. I’m not where I was and I’m not where I’m yet going to be; I’m under construction deeply desiring to enjoy the journey. I know you have a unique and exciting one too, and I can’t wait to learn and enjoy the journey with you! Grateful, Laurie
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