I did a post a couple of weeks back about dealing with fear. Last week I received a great question asking for some more practical tips. So I’ll throw out an idea. Perhaps you guys can add some as well. But first, I’ve got to share my thought on Halloween with you.
Amidst all the commercialism and hype, the true meaning of Halloween has been lost. (Bet you didn’t see that one coming, did you?)
Think about it. Many of us choose to celebrate Halloween in different ways, and many choose to not celebrate it at all. In many circles, it has become an “issue” where people are either right or wrong.
Forget about all that for now. Regardless of whether you celebrate it or not, the general intent of the holiday is to take things we’re afraid of and get them out in the open. In doing so, we’re able to deal with them. Or at least have some fun with them. I think that’s a pretty good idea.
Whether you choose to celebrate or not, today is as good a day as any to acknowledge your fears. Get them out in the open. And perhaps even deal with some of them.
OK try this. Get out a pen and paper and make a list of everything you’re afraid of. Take ten minutes to do this. Use a timer if you need to. Write down anything and everything that comes to mind.
When you’re done, take a look at what you’ve written. You will quickly find some items that are kind of silly. The things you wrote down because you couldn’t think of anything else. Go ahead and cross those off.
Look at the remaining items and ask yourself if there’s anything you can do about them. Nervous about a chemistry test? You can study. Worried about your kids? You can call them. In many cases, a fear points to a lack of action or preparation. Turn your list of these kinds of fears into a to-do list. And start doing them. You will feel empowered when you start crossing some of these items off the list. This feeling can carry over into other areas of your life.
What about the rest of them? Your genuine legitimate fear of flying? The results from that test at the doctor? Your fear of being alone? While you can take some action on a few of these items, you are now entering into the realm of prayer. Whatever items you have left can become a prayer list. Spend time in prayer and give your fears and your burdens to God. Don’t just keep it to yourself – enlist some help! Bring it up during a formal prayer request time, or just email some close friends. Make a habit of praying for and helping carry the burden of others.
I used to have a T shirt from my high school FCA that read “Work like it’s all up to you. Pray like it’s all up to God.” If you follow through and do this little exercise, you will distinguish which of your fears point to action steps and which point towards prayer. You will now have two lists: a to-do list and a prayer list. Use them both as weapons in your battle against fear.
If you try this exercise, let me know how it goes! Also, if you have any other ideas to help deal with fear, please let us know. Use the comments section.