Overcoming Fearful Thinking
“The sky is falling” Chicken Little declares in the famous folktale about a chicken that is hit in the head with an acorn and mistakenly assumes the world is coming to an end. Popular for centuries across many cultures, the story resonates with people because it speaks to the tendency many of us have at times to jump to conclusions based on false and/or negative assumptions. I faced my own chicken little or fear based thinking the other morning. I woke up with an anxious heart. I was concerned about a project that needed to be finished. It was a minor, relatively simple project but my thoughts started to race and in less than a minute, I had convinced myself that that I couldn’t do it, I would disappoint the people involved, everyone would figure out how truly incompetent I was, and that I should probably curl up in a little ball, pull the covers over my head and never again take on any project ever again. Worry and fear made their best effort to sabotage my day and my feet hadn’t even hit the floor yet! Thankfully, I was able to combat these fear filled thoughts with what I knew to be actually true.
Here are some ways that help overcome fearful thinking:
- Get alone with God. Ask Him for insight about the situation. Read scriptures about His unfailing love and faithfulness and trust Him. He causes our thoughts to come into agreement with His thoughts as we do.
- Take the time to praise. Find some good praise and worship music and enter into His presence. The joy of the Lord is our strength.
- Start praying earnestly for others as He leads—pray for God’s peace, love, grace, and compassion to overwhelm them. Praying for others helps us get our mind off our problems and onto God’s kingdom.
By the time I did all these things that morning, my fearful thinking was gone. I had gleaned insight about myself and my challenge, had a more accurate perception of what I was really facing and what I needed to improve, and had the confidence that the Lord had called me and would equip me for the tasks ahead. I was stirred up, believing God, and ready to take on the day victoriously. And you can too!
“Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.” Philippians 4:6-7 (MSG)