7 Questions to Help Process the Emotion of Fear

I’ve watched fear keep many people from achieving all God would have them achieve. Fear will keep a guy from pursuing the girl of his dreams. Fear fan drive people to the safe side, rather than to assume the risk required to pursue their dreams. Pastors have even refused to address the needed changes in their church – not because it was challenging – but, because they were afraid. (Anyone identify with this one?)

Fear is the enemy of progress. It is the antagonist of pursuit. Fear can be the deadly foe of fulfillment in life. And, fear can be a leader’s worst enemy.

How can we overcome the dreaded fear all of us face frequently?

I don’t know if we can completely get rid of fear – or if we even want to completely – but, I do think we should and need to learn to manage the fear in our life. That’s the hope of this post. It won’t solve your fear problems, but it I’ll give you something to think about next time you’re afraid.

Let me provide some questions to process your fear the next time you are faced with a need.

Ask yourself these 7 questions:

Is it a God-given or a man-made fear?

This is a huge step. Fear is an emotion and God can use fear to keep you from harm. Is what you would be doing against God’s will for you or others? If it’s wrong to do, no wonder you are afraid. God may be trying to protect you. If you are continually making bad decisions in your life, you’ll likely live in fear. You may not even be able to understand the emotion, but in my experience, it’s one way God draws His children to Himself. Failure to walk by faith, which is a sin by the way, can also bring upon the emotion of fear. If you’re fear is from God – obey God! This is your answer – every time.

Is it a rational or an irrational fear?

Consider whether you are basing your fears on fact or fiction. Are you making up the scenario of what could go wrong or is the fear based on real information you have? Our minds can be our worst excuse – if we need one, we will find it. Be honest with yourself here. If you’ve been making up the excuses, it’s time to dismiss them and proceed.

Is it probable or improbable?

The truth is most of what we fear never comes true. Again, our mind is capable of all kinds of worst-case scenarios which keep us from moving forward. We shouldn’t allow fear in things which will probably never even happen stop what God may want to bring in our life. God may have a miracle for you – and, you’re allowing a made-up scenario hold you from it. The fact is you may fail, but remember, failure is a part of building life experience. Unless you know you’re going to fail (which is highly unlikely you would know this in advance), if it’s not sinful, and you feel you’re supposed to – I suggest you move forward.

Can anything be done to diminish the risk?

We should attempt to diminish fear through planning and preparation as much as possible. There is nothing wrong and everything right about being prepared. I’m not motivated by fear, but I have an alarm system at my house. (And, one of my father’s pistols he left me when he died!) If your fear is based on a lack of preparation, get busy developing the systems and strategies to help you succeed. Ask for help if you need it.

Is what I’m fearing necessary or unnecessary?

Is this something you must address? If it’s a conflict you’ve been avoiding, for example, the fear will only get stronger the longer you wait. The earlier you face the fear the more likely you’ll get positive results. Sooner or later, the fear must be faced. What better time than now? If it’s not really necessary, and there is no pressure upon you, you may not have to face this fear. I once jumped out of a perfectly good airplane. But, if you don’t have the desire – don’t do it.

Is the fear personal or impersonal?

Are you afraid of your abilities or the reaction of others? Do you wonder if you have what it takes? It’s only natural a challenge would create an amount of fear – even a captivation with fear. Every act of courage means you ignore an aspect of fear. Don’t let your insecurities keep you from achieving your dreams.

Are you satisfied with the status quo?

I know it’s a hard question, but if fear is keeping you from moving forward, and you’ve answered the other questions, this may be the one. You need to strongly consider the repercussions of giving into your fear. It may mean you stand still. It may mean you go backwards. It may mean you never realize the dreams you have for your life or the calling God has placed upon you. Are you willing to live with this reality?

Have you allowed fear to keep you from realizing all God has for you?

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Ron Edmondson

Author Ron Edmondson

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Join the discussion 13 Comments

  • […] 7 Questions to Ask Yourself When Facing Fear […]

  • Leeann Pope Cornett says:

    Your post reminded me of 2 Corinthians 12:9. "But He said unto me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." I have always taken this verse to mean that in any effort, when my skills are insufficient, God bridges the gap. When I am weak with fear, God's power is perfect. When everything I do and everything I have is not "nearly enough", God's grace is "more than enough". In other words, "God and I, we got this".

  • Joe Sewell says:

    The problem with the entire list is that, too often, we cannot answer the questions in a realistic fashion, or we would not answer those questions the same as another.

    For example, "is it God-given or man-made" is a trap for some people, who immediately pull out the verse that says that God has not given us a spirit of fear. Never mind that "a spirit of fear" and a built-in defense reaction we call fear may be two different things. They might also quote the verse saying "perfect love casts out fear." Therefore, there can be no God-given fear in their eyes. The problem comes when they feel fear.

    Rational vs. irrational fear is also in the eyes of the beholder, though you do well with your definition. With most men, though, fear kills rationality, as our brains are wired to shut down the logical side when the emotional side fires up. As far as "making things up," that gets into being prepared, at least to some.

    Some of our responses to these and other points can be tainted by our own backgrounds. If your father, for example, did something repeatedly to you that you couldn't stand, you might be afraid of falling into that same trap … more afraid than the average person, perhaps more afraid than you should be. If one family member misplacing items was a big deal to your mother, as another example, you might have an ingrained fear of misplacing stuff.

    Then there's the purely medical conditions of panic disorder and various anxiety disorders, where the body reacts with a "fight or flight" reaction without any obvious trigger. One friend of mine found out that his body would react with anxiety, but it wouldn't shut down that reaction. He'd become anxious over being anxious, because it would be completely out of his control. He was diagnosed properly, and now has only minor problems — probably what most would consider "normal."
    Twitter: joe_sewell

    • ronedmondson says:

      Good thoughts Joe. Your comment reminds me…we certainly need Christ's help when it comes to this issue.
      Twitter: Ronedmondson

  • Ymabyts says:

    someone said that FEAR = False Evidence Appearing Real

  • Some add-ons:

    — Is fear immiment or just a perception?
    — Is fear pushes way or pulls towards God's will? (similar to Jonah)

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