We’ve been talking about fear. I shared the success story of my seven-year-old nephew, Ronnie, who conquered his fear of joining a swim team, and is now enjoying success and is feeling pretty good! So I thought I’d share with you the four steps to conquering F.E.A.R. Here’s how:
Fear Is a Feeling So Name It
What exactly is it that you actually fear? When fear is vague and undefined, it cannot be conquered — so name it. What is it that you are anxious about happening or not happening? Call it by name. I fear ______.
For my nephew, the fear was that the older kids would make fun of him for not being a good swimmer. That was the last thing I expected to come out of his mouth, but that was what was keeping him from jumping in with both feet. Now it had a name: Fear of humiliation.
Excavate the Root
Next, you need to ask, How did the fear originate? Is there validity to this fear, or is it a “what if” fear? You must dig deep into the root issue of the fear.
I drilled my nephew with investigative questions to see if bigger kids had ever abused or harassed him. He assured me that no, he just imagined they would make fun of him, and that paralyzed him. Perception is reality — unless it is questioned with truth.
Ascertain the Truth / Reality
What IS the truth? Is this fear irrational, made up, or a control issue of some sort? Maybe you have been hurt before and you need to work through forgiveness or another unrelated issue. OR is it a “what if” that has validity to it? One way to go forward is to think through the worst-case scenarios and how you can live with the outcome. Is the risk in the 90 percent or the 10 percent probability? Get to the truth so you can make an intentional decision.
My nephew had to walk through the probability of the kids actually making fun of him. There might be someone who mocked him, but what was the chance? I challenged him by asking whether he would be mean like that to littler kids. (He was horrified — of course not!)
Replace Fear with Its Opposite
Once the fear is named, the next step is to find the opposite so that you can start retraining your mind. What truth do you need to tell yourself to overcome the fear? In general, the opposite of fear is faith. So you may ask what can you put your faith in to help you get from one side to the other. You see, faith is believing in what you cannot see to be true. “Chances are the bigger kids will not make fun of me.” Fear is believing you can control what you cannot see; it fools you into believing that by worrying you can change reality.
For my nephew, once we worked through the steps, he repeated out loud, “I am not listening to you, fear.” He replaced it with “I am an adventurous boy, a brave leader, and God will help me.” Did I mention his swim coach said he was even better than some of the older kids who had been swimming for a few years? He now has this incredible new opportunity and is already reaping the rewards — because he faced his fear!
Now It’s Your Turn
As you face and replace your fear, what are you now able to turn toward? Opportunity, reward, joy, love — what matters most to you? What do you fear and what do you desire more than that fear?
Name five things you fear right now. Now pick one to conquer by working the four steps. I would love to hear about it on Facebook or in the comments. Let’s conquer this together.