Whether it’s a spider or being afraid that something is going to happen to your kids, your spouse or even you—if you don’t learn how to overcome fear—life will be filled with anxiety instead of peace.
And for me, this idea of learning how to overcome fear, keeps coming back to teach me over and over again. Here’s just one story of how it shows up for me.
The room was pitch black. I had just climbed into bed, pulled up the covers and closed my eyes when I felt something on my face.
Thinking it might be a piece of lint or a strand of my hair, I brushed my hand against it only to realize it was a spider! “Ahhh I gotta get this thing off from me!”
I thought I had succeeded, when I started to feel it crawling down into my shirt! I grabbed it—then threw it off me and onto the floor.
After calming myself down, reality sat in; I didn’t win.
I let that spider get away and it will show up again. In fact it did a couple days later—and I snapped a photo. Still, I can’t be absolutely sure that this is the same spider!!!
Now in case you’re short on time and really interested in getting started in overcoming fear right now—you can quick grab my free worksheet How to Overcome Fear When It Won’t Go Away. It goes right along with what I’ve written in this post. You can grab your copy here.
So how do you overcome fear, when it won’t go away?
Spiders can actually teach us a lot about how to overcome fear. I was at a conference where I heard Carlos Whittaker speak and share about his book, Kill the Spider.
He told his story about how life was literally the best—but then in an instant it turned upside down. During this difficult time, often he would say, “I’m just trying to clean out the cobwebs in my life.” At one point, his dad turned to him and said—“Carlos, you’re going after the wrong thing. You don’t need to clean out the cobwebs, you need to kill the spider.”
1. Cobwebs are a symptom.
2. The Spider is the real problem.
The point is, that fear also is a symptom—it’s a cobweb. Like a cobweb acts as a net for the spider’s catch—fear can make you feel powerless, restricted, and suffocated. You can spend time trying to clean out the cobwebs in your life, but unless you discover what the source of your fear is, unless you kill the spider—fear will show up again and again.
So let’s take the spider and use it to show us how to overcome fear step by step.
How to Overcome Fear When It Won’t Go Away
Turn the lights on—identify your fear.What fear are you battling right now and what does that fear sound and look like?
It’s like what you would do when your little boy says to you, “Mommy, I’m afraid of the monster in my room!”You ask your son, “Oh honey, I’m sorry you feel scared. What is it that looks like a monster?”Your son: “It’s on my dresser—over there, mommy.”You: “Oh! Okay, Peanut. Now look at mommy. When I turn the lights on, what do you see?”Your son: “Oh! Look mommy, it’s my books and my stuffy.”
Sometimes what we are afraid of—is simply a misunderstanding or a limited perspective. Turning the lights on—identifying what fears your battling right now—helps you to see what it is that you are fearing.
Look for cobwebs.Have you ever thought about keeping track of when and where your fear shows up?The idea of tracking wasn’t something I did either, until I read a book called Emotionally Healthy Spirituality by Peter Scazzero. In tracking my emotions, I discovered what emotions were real and it also revealed the ways my emotions were being influenced by people and circumstances.A couple years later, I started tracking my monthly cycle after reading, Becoming Myself by Stasi Eldredge. Tracking showed me that some of my fears were related to my hormones fluctuating during certain times of the month.In the same way, tracking your fears will help you to understand more what is causing your fear.
Kill the spider.Overcome fear by resisting it with God’s help. If you only get one thing out of what I’m sharing—by far this is the most important point.
You cannot overcome fear simply by saying, “I’m not going to let fear win.”And this is why:Because that response is based on willpower—what YOU CAN DO to overcome fear.I like how @boundariesbooks says it,“The problem with this approach is that it makes an idol out of the will, something God never intended. Just as our hearts and minds are distorted by the fall, so is our power to make right decisions. Will is only strengthened by relationship; we can’t make commitments alone. God told Moses to encourage and strengthen Joshua (Deut. 3:28); he didn’t tell Moses to tell Joshua to “just say no.”Your fear will show up again and you can resist your fear by taking action on those things you’ve learned in steps 1 and 2 but the real answer for how to overcome fear is to do so with God’s help.As a Christian, you have the power of the Holy Spirit living inside of you. God has also given you the tools of scripture and prayer specifically to replace fear—with the truth of God’s word.
Persevere. Don’t quit resisting the fear. Call in reinforcements.After you’ve armed yourself with some truth and started a path of resisting fear with God’s help—there’s something else that is true of spiders that I think is true of fear.There may not be any evidence that a spider is crawling on you—but after they’ve crawled on you once, it’s really hard not to “feel” like you have a spider crawling on your skin. Am I right?!Fear is like that too!There might be no reason for you to be fearing something—but it’s hard to shake that feeling. Fear can wear you down especially when you feel overwhelmed by life as a mom.Now is the time for you to call in reinforcements to encourage you and pray for you—calling out the lies—especially when you are feeling defeated. Who is someone that can pray for and with you? Write their name down today and give them a call or text.
How do I know how to overcome fear?
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How do you overcome fear—when it keeps beating you up?
The real spider was my wavering belief that God can’t help me.
When fear is weighing heavy on you—is God the first to hear about it?
Final Encouragement for How to Overcome Fear
This post is a part of the From Fear to Freedom Blog Tour hosted by www.flourishingtoday.com. You’ll find over 30 blogs written by other women who have stories how they have overcome fear and embraced freedom.