Every overcomer is usually a few fears away from their life changing in dramatic fashion. The potential of our lives is often held captive by a list of fears that have worked to keep us from apprehending our full potential.
Most studies show that we are only born with two fears—the fear of heights and the fear of loud noises. All the others fears have either been following your genetic line, come through trauma or have found agreements through every day life.
Regardless of how fear has entered your life, there only way I have seen people experience great fruit and relational health, is to live a life where you face your fears and stop running from them. But this often takes a very strong and sober decision that you will not be bullied around by fear any longer.
Fear is Not My Friend
Growing up and into my adult life, fear was my best friend. I didn’t like him, but I listened to him all the time. Every time I would overcome fear, fear would find another way to speak and I would come under it. When I began to allow God’s perfecting love to fill my life, I gained massive leverage over the unrelenting menace of fear.
Here are eight of the main fears that I believe every overcomer will have to face in various layers over time. The more we get used to facing them, the quicker we will find ourselves growing into our full potential.
1. The Fear of Rejection
Those who have experienced rejection can carry a tormenting fear of that pain ever happening again. For most, encountering rejection even in the smallest form is their worst nightmare. They do not want to undergo anything close to the hurt they previously endured. The wound, created in a person from experiencing rejection, is awful and fear will play on their desire to avoid that pain at all costs.
Most people live their entire lives driven by a fear of being rejected. The way we talk to people, our avoidance, how we joke around and the phrasing of our words all can communicate how we simply live to avoid being rejected by people.
2. Fear of Failure
The only way we learn the best is through our mistakes, but many of those mistakes create a lot of pain. Fear is always a temptation when pain enters our lives. It plays on the thought of “I never want that to happen again.” So instead of getting back up and trying again, we avoid taking a risk to keep ourselves in a place of safety.
The reality is that breakthrough and fruitfulness come after many failed attempts. But fear doesn’t want you to know that. It programs you to avoid pain and anything close to pain at all costs. The past hurt gets projected over and over again, keeping you locked from taking a step forward and experiencing the new opportunities ahead.
3. Fear of Tomorrow
The fear of tomorrow is another way to express how worry operates. Living in worry is a chronic pattern of projecting into the future with a fearful perspective. Instead of seeing tomorrow in faith and joyful anticipation, we see it thorough the substance of things not hoped for.
I find that worry hides itself as a culturally acceptable “concern,” when Jesus told us not to even bother worrying. He even took it a step further, saying, “Take no thought for tomorrow.” He wanted us to know, your heart is wired to only handle what is in front of you today. Cast your cares on me and engage what is in front of you, knowing I am with you.
The greatest danger of worry is that it takes you out of the present and into a fear-filled future. It does nothing to serve you or help you, but somehow fear has taught us that if we ruminate over something long enough, maybe we will solve it.
4. Fear of Abandonment.
We live in a day where relationships come and go as quickly as day and night passes. With this dilemma, I find a growing number of people facing abandonment issues. The rejection mindset formed in those moments is compounded with fear, keeping the person hesitant to ever get close to people again. Wherever we have been abandoned the most is where we often struggle to keep healthy connections.
People who have been abandoned, by a father, mother or key love interest, have a hard time becoming emotionally connected to others. They live in a way that assures they will never be abandoned again. To prevent being hurt, they don’t allow themselves to get close to anyone.
They are trained to believe, “If I do not let them in, they cannot hurt me or abandon me.” The problem is they never get close to anyone and end up traveling through life as an emotional nomad, always at an arm’s length from others. This prevents them from experiencing the healing power of love.
5. Fear of Vulnerability
One of the greatest fears people carry is that others will see your flaws and reject you. I remember working with a pastor on some his fear issues while he was stepping into some new opportunities. One of the biggest thoughts that came flooding in was the fear of vulnerability that said, “if they really know me and my flaws, they may change their mind about me.” This fear sought to accuse and disqualify him from boldly moving into his God-given assignment.
Vulnerability is actually a powerful weapon to influence people for good, yet we often run from it. The strength of vulnerability is that I can act from my heart, even though this leaves me susceptible to being hurt. This is the risk that all people who influence the world take, and one that millions of other people avoid altogether.
Fear magnifies the risk of being vulnerable, while minimizing the potential good, Faith tells us being vulnerable is one of God’s greatest ways to use us and if people hurt us, our Father provides a place of healing, so we can get back in the game.
6. Being Afraid of God
I have added this to my critical list because deep down inside, masses of people are afraid of God. They wonder if He really loves them, they question if they are living right before Him and are often afraid to embrace Him in a deeper dimension.
Those who are afraid of God often view Him through the lens of how they saw their parents. They also view Him through how their parents taught them to see God.
Being afraid of God makes us wonder if He is mad at us or in a bad mood. We can think He has something against us and feel that we are never good enough. If we are afraid of God, we will approach Him sheepishly, wondering if He will truly embrace us and accept us. Without a love understanding of God, we will not approach Him boldly and that is what He wants. He wants a bold, confident approach before Him.
For years, this stronghold was wrapped around my thinking like a constricting snake, choking the life out of my walk with God. The rejection mindset kept me at a distance from Him. Any time I would pray, I would feel that I needed to go through 100 hoops of repentance and asking of forgiveness to feel His presence. I would only feel a drip of acceptance after I did a list of religious duties and prayed long enough. This brief time of acceptance lasted only a few minutes, and I would then fall right back into feeling separated again.
I needed to be made more secure in knowing the love of the Father, which involves Him accepting me in His deep love, which was shown through Christ. I needed a revelation that God is for me, not against me, and that many of the desires in my heart were actually desires He put there. He wanted me to know His love and confidently go after all that He had for me.
Overcoming my fear of Him actually set me free to make mistakes, knowing that He is not going to kill me and cast me aside. His mercy is new every morning for me and His gracious love is fresh for my heart everyday. How can God bring transformation in my life if I do not feel I can freely approach Him?
What About the Fear of the Lord?
Some people do not understand the difference between the fear of the Lord and what the Bible describes as a spirit of fear. The fear of the Lord is an intense awe, respect and reverence for who God is in all of His glory, holiness and power. When God manifests Himself in glorious ways, there is a sober respect and absolute amazement that comes over us, to honor and bow before the greatness of who He is. The difference is also that a fear of the Lord is bred out of a deep love relationship with God. Being afraid of God is bred out of not understanding His love and being trained in a religious legalism.
God’s glory brings a holy fear of the Lord, but it is not a tormenting fear that leaves you bound. A spirit of fear is tormenting, chasing you down and repeating its impulses constantly; keeping you obsessing and lacking peace. The fear of the Lord carries a passionate love with an invitation for us as God’s children to draw nearer, not just run away and hide.
Pain over time makes us really cynical and quick to write people off. We end up judging people very quickly and keep ourselves at a distance. Trust has been burned and the recovery time is often hellacious.
Throughout the world, people are becoming more distrusting, because of the wounds they have endured. We often place the hurt of our past relationships onto the present one.
Suspicion won’t trust, so the person fails to enter into new relationships or new ventures in God. It can cause people to become paranoid, believing that someone is getting “one-up” on them. Fear has taught us to question everything: “Don’t trust anyone. Look out for yourself, because no one else will.” They start to have an immediate perception of people and their motives before they even get to know them. They become way too guarded.
Losing our ability to trust steals our ability to walk in faith. We cannot walk in faith without operating in trust. Trust involves being vulnerable and letting your guard down. Trust believes and is willing to take a risk. Truly breaking this pattern of distrust that rejection trains us in comes when we start to trust in God. It also comes when we start to trust other people, allowing them to speak into our lives and see who we really are.
Yes, people are going to hurt us, but that cannot stop us from being open to the ways that God wants to work. God often works in the people around you to touch your life. But if you are in fear of them coming too close, you may miss the blessing!
I have found that sometimes it takes years for me to get an opportunity to help someone, simply because they do not trust. I have no problem with earning a person’s trust, as I know it takes time to recover it. But we all have to make a decision at some point to be willing to trust again.
8. Fear of Man (Intimidation)
Every person will have to confront the fear of man, because it keeps us drenched in the swamp of “What do others think? What do they think of me?” It is a work of intimidation that keeps us from being confident and bold. A fear of man will teach us to make our decisions based on what everyone around us is thinking.
Personally, I have had at least three major encounters with getting free of the fear of man. I was controlled by this for years, because I lived by what people thought, or even what I perceived they thought. I would then alter my behavior to please them.
As God would reveal a fear of man issue in my heart, I would have to address it a number of times, because it permeated my life in so many areas. Every time I confronted that stronghold, a roaring shout would rise out of me. It was like a roaring lion was screaming through me, saying, “Enough is enough! My actions will not be dictated by this anymore!”
Where in your life do you need to say, “Enough is enough” when it comes to the work of fear in your life?
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