I’ve struggled with fears as long as I can remember. Separation anxiety as a toddler, overwhelming dread of starting school, apprehension about sleeping over at a friend’s house: my early years were haunted. Even though I outgrew many of my fears, others plague me to this day. Some center around events—like public speaking—while others spin off “what ifs.” What if lose my job? What if this plane crashes? What if there‘s someone in my closet? My mind can conjure up countless frightening scenarios.
When I was growing up, adults often tried to reassure me by saying my fears would never materialize. But I knew no one could absolutely guarantee they wouldn’t. Really improbable things happen—my husband once jumped out of the closet and scared the dickens out of me (for which he spent the night on the couch). More seriously, people really do lose their jobs, and planes sometimes crash. Suffering happens. Jesus tells us that we will have tribulation in this world (John 16:33).
So isn’t it understandable that I’m worried? Perhaps, but unchecked anxiety paralyzes me. It usurps how I think and act. It squelches my desire to obey God. So even though I may be afraid, I don’t want fear or anxiety ruling my life. If you’re reading this article, I suspect you don’t either. But how do we overcome it? Here are three things I’ve found helpful.
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