Do It Afraid

Understanding the Origins of Fear and Overcoming its Grip

Joyce Meyer
Do It Afraid

Fear can show up in our lives in many ways. It can cause us to be hesitant, insecure, and full of doubts. It can take the form of worry and anxiety, affecting our physical bodies in some extreme ways. And fear from things like past abuse or painful circumstances can often linger for years, affecting our relationships and popping up when we least expect it.

So, where does fear come from? It’s important to know that fear does not originate from God. The Bible says, For God did not give us a spirit of timidity (of cowardice, of craven and cringing and fawning fear), but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of calm and well-balanced mind…(2 Timothy 1:7 AMPC).

Fear is a weapon of our enemy, Satan, who uses it to keep us from moving forward and enjoying the future God has for us. Especially when something negative happens, the enemy wants us to focus on all of the “what-ifs” and fill our lives with uncertainty. He desires to pull our focus away from God’s love and faithfulness.

You see, Satan wants us to shrink back in fear and live tiny, useless lives. However, God desires for us to live free from the effects of fear and live big, fulfilling lives. He wants us to enjoy freedom and creativity, unhampered by fear.

Recognizing Fear in Our Daily Lives

I think we would be amazed if we took the time to notice how often our circumstances and reactions to people are rooted in fear. We would also learn a great deal about ourselves.

People sometimes spend their entire lives reacting to situations in ways that prevent them from being the people they truly want to be. They never realize that their lives feel empty because they have allowed fear to dictate their decisions.

For instance, maybe you want to have a baby but are afraid you won’t be a good parent, so you keep putting it off. Or maybe you have a dream to write a book, but the fear of someone rejecting your work has kept you from trying. It could even be something simple like a desire to change your hair color—you’re afraid you won’t like it, so you just settle for keeping it the way it is.

Fear doesn’t show up just for the big events. It is always lurking, hoping for a chance to influence your life, even if it only causes a vague feeling of dread or doubt.

For example, maybe you are in a room enjoying a conversation with a few friends when suddenly another person joins the group and you immediately feel intimidated. When this happens, the culprit is fear.

Many times, a fearful reaction can be related to a specific personality type that reminds you of someone who hurt you earlier in your life. Or perhaps you view the person who intimidates you as better looking or more educated than you are, and that makes you feel insecure. The truth is, you could feel intimidated for numerous reasons, none of which are related to the other person at all.

When we don’t understand how fear works, we can even begin blaming others for our uneasiness although they haven’t done anything wrong!

Whenever you feel intimidated or insecure, the best thing you can do is ask God what’s going on, then watch and wait for Him to speak to your heart and show you. The answer may take time, but God’s Word promises that if you search for truth, you’ll find it, and the truth will make you free (John 8:32).

Confronting Fear

Fear can show up unexpectedly. That’s why one of our goals should be to recognize it so we can deal with it right away. I think too often we can become accustomed to something and just put up with it when we should be confronting it and moving past it.

Recently, I was waking up at about two or three in the morning and then having difficulty going back to sleep. After two nights of that, I found myself going to bed with a vague sort of fear that it would happen again, and sure enough it did.

After about three nights of the same thing, God reminded me that I could pray and resist Satan, the source of all fear. According to God’s Word, the sleep of the righteous should be sweet (Proverbs 3:24). I prayed immediately and went back to sleep and have not had any problems since then.

Fear can steal anything from us if we let it. Whether we walk in faith or fear is a decision we must make many times throughout our lives. I don’t think it would be a stretch to say we may need to make that choice daily.

I believe many times we wait for the feelings of fear to go away before stepping out to take action. However, when the Lord tells us in His Word to “fear not,” He’s not saying we will never feel fear. We will all feel afraid at various times in our lives. He is telling us to not allow fear to control us and prevent us from moving forward. When we feel fear, we have a choice—we can do it afraid!

That’s what courage is. True courage is moving forward in the face of fear. You still feel fear, but you are determined, with God’s help, to confront it and move forward anyway.

Galatians 5:1 says, It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery (NIV).

Satan is very shrewd and he doesn’t give up easily. I guess we can say that he never completely gives up the hope of drawing us back into bondage. That is why we must live watchfully, ready to recognize and immediately confront the things that steal our freedom in Christ.

Moving Forward One Day at a Time

Don’t let fear push you around another day. Open your heart to God, and He will show you truth and shed His light into the areas of your life that you don’t understand. If you can recognize fear and learn how it operates, you can gain freedom from it.

Psalm 34:4 is one of my favorite scriptures. It says, I sought (inquired of) the Lord and required Him [of necessity and on the authority of His Word], and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears (AMPC).

I encourage you to spend time with God and study what His Word says about the subject. Ask Him to uncover the areas of your life that are being impacted by fear in some way. As you do, He will not only strengthen your faith, but He will give you the courage to face your fears and walk step by step into a life of freedom.