How to Keep Fear from Controlling You
March 8, 2016
The oldest daughter of New York Times bestselling author Ted Dekker, Rachelle Dekker was inspired early on to discover truth through the avenue of storytelling. She graduated with a degree in communic... Read More
About a year ago, I was almost ready to resign myself to the fact that fear is unavoidable and would always be part of my life.
I had searched for some magical tool that would give me the superpower of “void-of-fear,” something that would ensure I never had to feel fear again, something that would actually change the chemical makeup of my brain so that the emotion of fear was impossible.
That didn’t really work; actually it didn’t work at all, so I tried self-inflicted ignorance. The path that says, “If I can’t see it, then it must not be there.” This failed miserably as well. Left alone, ignored and pushed aside, fear becomes toxic. It brews under the surface and waits for the perfect moment to reinsert itself into your life, with hopes of causing as much chaos as possible.
In fact, I found that each time I faced a new fear, the other fear I thought I had been avoiding showed up in full. All of them reminding me of the past with loud, obnoxious chants that were deafening. I felt pretty hopeless. I was just anxiously waiting for another wave of fear to smash me into pieces.
Left alone, ignored and pushed aside, fear becomes toxic.
Trying to escape fear is an exhausting road that inevitably ends in failure. But we still all try to beat it, to conquer it. We fight against it because we feel that destroying it must be the only way to be rid of it. The problem is that even if we do destroy fear in one moment, it always comes back in another. Because you can’t outgrow, outrun or become immune to fear. It is always a possible outcome when faced with trouble in this life. It is a natural chemical reaction in the brain and simply part of being human.
So then, how do you deal with it?
I had tried the first road—destroy fear—and I had tried the second road—ignore fear—and neither of them worked, but living with the constant threat of fear wasn’t working either, and I knew there had to be another way. So I simply asked, What if there’s a third road?
That question launched me on a journey that forever changed my life. It was a journey of understanding that although I couldn’t become immune to fear, and I couldn’t run from fear, I could surrender to my fear.
It’s a strange idea, surrendering to something that seems to do you harm. It feels like giving in, or giving up or letting go of control. When I first heard someone suggest that surrendering to fear was the only way through it, I couldn’t accept it. I had spent my entire life doing the opposite.
Then I started to look at what surrender really meant. It wasn’t giving in as much as letting go—letting go of the false identity that brings fear. It’s so easy to forget who we really are and who our true Father is. See, we are children of the King, yet we see trouble and we fear for our lives—and, worse, we judge ourselves for being afraid. We beat ourselves up for not being stronger, for giving into weakness and then we are afraid and feel worthless. This is a dangerous cycle that only starts to change when you practice believing in your true identity. In the powerful heritage that has been given to you by the Father.
We beat ourselves up for not being stronger, for giving into weakness and then we are afraid and feel worthless. This is a dangerous cycle that only starts to change when you practice believing in your true identity.
Because when you start to believe that you are a child of the King, a couple of things happen. First, when you encounter trouble, fear still comes, because that’s what fear does; the difference is you see that it can’t really hurt you as much as you first believed. Because you are a child of the King. And the King’s children aren’t threatened by the opposing army; they have great faith in the King’s ability to protect the kingdom. So yes, they may gasp at the sight of the enemy’s approach, but then they remember who their King is and they let their fear go.
Second—and this one really rocked my world—they don’t hold themselves captive for forgetting that they are children of the King. We spend so much time shaming ourselves when we fall into fear. And this only reiterates the lie that we aren’t worth enough to really be called the Father’s. Let go of the shame, and know that feeling afraid or getting caught up in fear is OK. We have all been there, and we will all be there again. Fear is unavoidable. But living in fear, letting fear control you, these things are not meant for the children of the King.
For me, it took months of practice. Every time I started to feel like fear was inching up my spine, I focused on the truth I knew about myself, even though I didn’t believe it yet. I would speak out loud and say, “You are a daughter of the King. When you stand with the King, what can stand against you? You are powerful, you are His, and there is no need to fear.” Over and over and over, until somehow the words started to take root and change the way I saw myself.
It doesn’t happen overnight—it takes time and practice to remember who you truly are—but eventually you do start to believe it, and then you find real freedom. When you remember your true heritage, you can find the power to see your fear, release your fear and somehow suddenly feel fearless.
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