Valentine’s Day is tomorrow.
And with its arrival every year comes the reminder of my biggest fear.
I fear I am not enough.
This fear comes in different shapes and sizes:
I balk at the idea of my 30th birthday because I fear I’ll never get married.
I sometimes find it hard to do my job because I fear I won’t meet their expectations.
I often struggle to write for this blog because I fear I don’t have it in me to write something good.
I have decided that this year will be different. Instead of letting my fear control me, I’m going to face it. Because I’ve learned that there are healthy ways to face your fears.
1. Don’t throw a pity party.
There’s a difference between being realistic about your fears and wallowing in them. Wallowing in them is not healthy. That method leads to being paralyzed by your fear. Instead of facing it head on and dealing with it, you let it control you.
So instead of wallowing, choose to be realistic about your fear. Voice it. Acknowledge that it exists. Name it for what it is. Let it be a moment of realizing your weakness and seeing it as an opportunity for God to be strong in your life.
And then share it with someone else. (Make sure it’s a friend or counselor who will keep you away from the pity party zone.) Sharing your story means you have someone else to share the journey. And you might even find they have a fear they need help facing, too.
2. Fight the lie with truth.
Fear usually comes in the form of a lie. And the best way to combat a lie is with truth.
As you face your fear, it’s important to take the time to understand the lie(s) behind it. For me, the lies are these:
My value comes from what I can do.
If I make a mistake, I’m a failure.
I have to be perfect.
The next step is to find the truth that tells you those things are lies.
God says I’m valuable because of who I am: His daughter.
If I make a mistake, there is grace.
Jesus was already perfect, so I don’t have to be.
Because of Jesus, this is the truth God speaks over me every day: “You are altogether beautiful, my darling; there is now flaw in you.” (Song of Solomon 4:7, NIV)
Once you know the truth, walk in it. When the lies present themselves, speak the truth. Write the truths down and put them places you will see them.
Here’s another good one (“stolen” from my pastor, Louie Giglio):
“You are a God-designed, purposed, intended, significant, lavishly loved, daughter [or son], princess [prince], child of the king.”
Fear leads to striving. Striving is the opposite of resting. We strive when we choose not to believe the truth. We strive to overcome the fear. But in reality, we need to learn how to rest.
We need to rest in the truth, to believe that it’s true and act accordingly.
We need to rest in the fact that God provides the strength to overcome our fear. It’s not something we have to create in ourselves.
“… let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think.” (Romans 12:2, NLT) Yes, you have work to do. But the outcome is not wholly dependent on you. God is doing His transforming work through the Holy Spirit. Let him use the truth to change your mind.
And remember, there is always grace. When you believe the lie instead of the truth. When you let fear control you instead of fighting it. Whenever. Whatever. There’s always grace.