I have never thought of myself as a fearful person – quite the opposite, actually. Even as a child I would charge in and defend the defenseless, speak before thinking, and stand up for what I knew was right at any cost.
But as an adult, I am starting to see what an incredible impact fear has had on my life. The other day I mowed the lawn for the first time in probably 20 years. Since my husband and I separated a lot of household tasks that he used to maintain have fallen on my shoulders. As I struggled to get the lawnmower started I realized that avoiding these kinds of tasks had been a major factor in not taking action sooner. I kept myself in a bad situation because I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to pay all the bills myself. I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to get the lawnmower started.
Well, I’m happy to report that I DID get the lawnmower started, and did a pretty darn good job of it, too! It was such a silly thing to be afraid of, but was indicative of a lot of other areas in my life that I was allowing fear to hold me back.
The fears we don’t face become our limits. – Robin Sharma
The affect fear has on our lives is multiplied exponentially if you have anxiety or OCD. I.overthink.everything. I can’t tell you how many everyday experiences that someone else wouldn’t even think twice about I avoid because I have overthought them into a an apocalyptic event. Sometimes even going into the grocery store is an accomplishment because I have convinced myself that people are judging what I buy, or I haven’t styled my hair beyond a ponytail and someone might think I’m a slob. Irrational, right? But that’s where fear’s power lies – by superseding the rational mind, and making itself bigger than life.
Are people really judging me at the grocery store? Probably not. And even if they are, does it really affect my life in any way, shape or form?
3 Steps To Overcoming Fear
I certainly don’t have fear beat in my own life, but I am making huge steps forward. There are three particular steps that have helped me move forward and overcome the fear in my own life.
1 – Stay rooted in your faith
Fear gains the biggest foothold in my life when I am drifting from my faith. Fear is not from God, and as a matter of fact he has already defeated it.
Be string and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; He will never leave you or forsake you. -Deuteronomy 31:6
I find the more time I spend in prayer and Bible study, and really anything that points my attention to my faith, the less fear is a focus in my life. It slowly starts to lose its foothold. When the creator of the universe is on your side, it’s hard to imagine a scenario where fear is in any way logical.
2 – Just do it
At some point you just have to start the lawnmower and get to mowing. I hate this particular bullet point. There have been many things in my life that anxiety just wouldn’t allow me to do, and no matter how many times people told me to just do it, it wasn’t going to happen. Anxiety is a legit thing, and you don’t just choose to get over it. But, there are a lot of fears in our lives that we can just suck it up and move past. The more you just force yourself to do things, the easier the next thing becomes.
3 – Axe the toxic
Sometimes fear is fueled, and the flames are fanned, by toxic people and situations in your life. If someone or something consistently puts you in a place of fear, negativity, and feeling helpless, don’t apologize for booting it out of your life. There is nothing wrong with wanting a peaceful life. If you instantly thought of a person or situation when you read this, it’s gotta go.
Is fear holding you back? It’s ok to be afraid. But it’s not ok to live there. Take a deep breath, and start that lawn mower.