|Series Theme: Spiritual Warfare|
Title: 9. Clearing the Past: b) Fears & Anxieties
In these four pages of "Clearing the Past" we consider Guilt, Fear & Anxiety, Rejection, and Unresolved Conflict as four areas where things from the past impinge on the present.
On this page we move on to consider "Fears & Anxieties", the varieties of fears, and then dealing with them.
1. What is fear and anxiety?
“ Fear is a state of alarm caused by impending danger ”.
From this definition we can deduce that fear can be either:
a) good and helpful (to protect us)
b) bad or harmful
"Good fear” includes the fear of the Lord, and fear of dangerous things, such as fire, poisons etc. that protect us against harm.
“Bad fear” includes imaginary fear, unrealistic fears and fears from the past that inhibit the present well-being of our lives.
“Anxiety is a feeling of unrest, apprehension, dread or agitated worry”.
“Anxiety” has also been described as a fear in the absence of real danger, or a fear of something that is not understood.
Bad fear & anxiety therefore focus us on negative aspects of a situation while taking our thoughts away from the positive aspects.
Therefore, when they exist, they hinder us and stop us fully enjoying life as a child of God today.
We will consider:
2. Fears from the Past
Such fears originate from times in the past when we have been hurt, whether it be physical or emotional.
2.1 Fear based on something that happened
i) This is usually fear that the unpleasant thing will happen again in the future e.g.
ii) It may also be that we fear our guilt and shame will be found out i.e.
When we fear a reoccurrence of a past upset, or that past guilt or shame will be revealed, we fear what will then happen:
2.2 Fears based on feelings conveyed or words spoken
Causes of fears that result from the feelings or words of others, may be:
3. Fears of the Future
We need to note that many fears aren't strictly fears from the past, although in fact ALL fears will be linked with what we have learnt in the past.
In that sense all fears are in fact rooted in the past and so all other fears could also be considered “past rooted fears”. We didn't have them when we were born!
In general, fears of the future tend to be about:
We'll pick up these in what follows below.
4. Fear of Non-Harmful Things
5. Fear of Unknown Things you CANNOT affect
Fears about things over which you can have no control might include:
In each of these cases, they are things outside our control. We'll note more about these below.
6. The Cause of all Fear
Ultimately all such fear is alarm at my personal inability to cope.
From what we have said already, it is based on
It is forgetting or failing to believe the promises of God and to trust God's
These things go to the heart of our Christian experience and faith.
7. Dealing with Fear Generally
We may need to:
The following are some pointers for help:
8. Fear of Unknown Things you CAN affect
8.1 The Sort of Things e.g.
8.2 The Cause of Such Things
Our alarm here stems from either:
Remember these are things over which we have a say.
8.3 Dealing with Such Things :
We need first to identify the nature of the fear:
Our fears here may be
i) “Good” fear , we said earlier, protects us from harm (or failure), e.g.
Each “fear” can thus stir us into action to achieve better in the circumstances over which we DO have a say, and which we CAN influence.
ii) “Bad” fear is simply any fear that drives us into increasing negativism which limits our lives
Dealing with such fears again requires facing the truth with God's help and may involve very practical outworkings, e.g.
Each such fear needs to be:
9. Fear of Unknown Things you MAY not be able to affect
9.1 The Sort of Things
Some things are unknown and you may not be able to do much about them. e.g.
In each of those things you may be able to do something, but ultimately may not be able to guarantee the future outcome.
9.2 The Cause of Such Things
These are things you may or may not be able to influence,
e.g. the single Christian person
e.g. the childless couple
e.g. the healthy person
i.e. these are things where you CAN do only a PART and have to trust for the rest
Fear enters in when, for example, we hope for something but have alarm feelings that it won't happen (as first two examples above).
Conversely, fear enters in when, for example, we hope for something NOT to happen but have alarm feelings that it will happen (third example above).
Feelings of fear ultimately come when we are unable to submit our future to the will of God and cannot feel His love in our situation.
9.3 Dealing with Such Things
From what has been said above, we therefore need to:
10. Being at Peace
Once we accept that fear cannot exist in the presence of perfect love (1 Jn 4:16,18), we see that fear comes from not allowing God access to every area of our lives, e.g. our health, well-being, protection, ambitions.
Peace comes from knowing the perfect love of God in every area of our lives and allowing the truth of that love to transform our thinking and touch our emotions to release us from any inhibiting “bad” fears.
Anything which stops us entering fully into the purposes of God for us is a “bad” fear and needs to be confronted.
As we allow the Spirit and the word to enter our lives we are thus released from all such things into the peace of God which keeps our hearts.
If you are someone who has been plagued by fears and anxieties, you may want to go back over the above notes prayerfully, asking the Lord to reveal the truth to you.