“Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God, I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10
What do you do when you are in the midst of fear? How do you not allow that fear to take over? Is there a magic key that turns everything off?
Scriptures are one part of the equation, but there are some fears that need a bit more to overcome. Some fears need to be voiced to a safe person, prayed over continually, and also analyzed to find the root. Like a gardener caring for his garden, fear is a weed that is tough to kill. We must be able to find the root and pull them out and toss them away.
Deep-rooted fear comes from negative experiences. Most of the time, we experience something that leaves a wound, and we try to not experience it again; however, when it does happen again, then fear starts. Rejection is such fear. You can experience rejection in so many ways and from so many people, it can make your head spin.
Avoidance is a natural response to rejection. The thinking is that if I avoid large groups, small groups, this person, then I will not experience rejection. Clearly avoidance is not the solution of the fear of rejection. Taking a closer look at why we are fearful of rejection helps us overcome it. So, let’s get personal.
Rejection is one of my fears. Based on my life experiences, women are mean. We are! Especially in those critical years of growth, elementary through about tenth grade. By your junior year of high school, the wounds have been made and they are deep. Fear has become rooted in those wounds. I would describe myself as a misfit, then and now. The island of misfit toys was a favorite of mine during Christmas, it gave me a bit of hope that there was a place even for a misfit like me.
In elementary school I learned that girls were mean and exclusive, that theme continued for the rest of my life. Try as I might, I just could not find lasting friendship. My shame-based identity was constantly telling me that I was so damaged that no one wanted me. Even my mother did not want me (shame statements from her played into that, but that is for another blog). By the time I was in high school, I became a target of others cruelty and suicide was my constant friend.
The only connection I had at the time was God. He was my constant “go to”; I prayed a lot. That time of my life was (is) very painful. Prayer and scriptures could not touch the fear of rejection. As an adult, that fear has led to overthinking, anxiety, and avoidance. Until now, sorta. In looking back over some of those earlier experiences, I see that my shame-based identity kept me thinking I was not good enough, not worthy of friendship. So, I avoided lasting friendships.
One of my shame statements kept me rooted in the fear of what others thought of me. That fear stems from the mirror only showing flawed reflection. My statement was “Crystal, look in the mirror and see what others see.” Obviously, my eyes could not see the truth, so I mistrusted the mirror (still do). The other statement that played into this deep-rooted fear was plainly put “What would they think?” Profound what two statements can do, huh?
How can I overcome this fear? By changing how I see myself. My identity is not in those shame statements, it is in Christ. I am defined not by the world’s definition, but by Him who created me. I am His masterpiece (Ephesian 2:10), uniquely and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14) and the list could continue. By identifying where this fear comes from, I can move away from it. Dig it up, take it to the cross and let the blood of the lamb cover it forever.
Does that mean I am cured instantly? No. What it means is this, if my fear was an instant thing, I could have killed it long ago. Like a snake in the garden, jump, scream and take a hoe to its head and be done with it. But because the root of this fear is so deep, I have to continually take it to the one who has overcome the world. Over time, I will overcome. How about you? Do you have a deep-rooted fear that needs to be dug up, burned, and need a seed planted in its place?
“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. BUT TAKE HEART; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33. If the world helped create the fear in your heart, then Christ is the solution.