Fear is, by far, hardest lion for me to tame.
Recently, Bella, my feisty little four-year-old daughter, had an accident. She was playing an entirely routine gymnastics game that sprawled her chest-first into the mattress, incapacitated. Even with EMS personnel pin pricking her tiny toes, she couldn’t move her legs. Mike and I were crippled with fear.
She has since miraculously recovered, thanks to quick response from local emergency responders, attentive and concerned ER doctors, and precision-focused neurologists at our state’s largest Children’s Hospital. Not to mention the outpour of prayers and support from friends, family, and so many we have yet to meet.
The immediate danger was over — but this terrifying event sparked a sense of fear in me that began to permeate everything. I could hear the evil one’s voice trailing behind me, challenging my beliefs and my security.
- My child’s well being. (Is she really safe?)
- My career. (Are you really good enough?)
- My marriage. (Does he really love you?)
- My friendships. (Can you really trust them?)
- My health. (Don’t healthy people get sick all the time?)
- My willpower. (One more time won’t hurt, right?)
- My self-esteem. (Are you sure that doesn’t make you look fat?)
- My faith. (Did God really say that? Do His promises really mean anything?)
I know I’m not alone in this. These quiet, challenging voices make us anxious, distrustful, backward, secretive, even desperate at times. We fall into a hopeless self-preservation mode, embodying a controlling, estranged version of ourselves. We think we can “fix it” — when in reality, the only option is complete and utter surrender to God. Entertaining even the smallest lie creates an opening for the evil one to creep into the deep, dark places and wage a war for our minds.
Spiritual warfare is real. And honest, real-life fear like what we experienced with Bella is one of the many “baits” in Satan’s tackle box. If you find yourself confused, experiencing difficulty discerning truth versus lie, here are a few tips I’ve found helpful of late.
Satan’s voice is usually:
- Loud — deafening and distracting from matters at hand.
- Urgent — demanding you drop everything and deal with it right now.
- Inconsistent — spewing lies about your character and identity in Christ that you know aren’t true.
- Confusing — no clear, discernible action — often leading you backward in your journey.
- Counterintuitive — not matching up to scripture, to prayerful revelation, or to undisputed truths of your faith.
Remember: Because of our identity as adopted sons and daughters in Jesus Christ, we are not given a spirit of fear — but of courage and a sound mind.
Courage is not the absence of fear — it’s living by faith and consciously making the right choices, even in the face of overwhelming and very real danger. We have the ability to discern God’s voice from the lying voices in our heads. The reverence of God is the only fear that can truly overcome all other fears in this world.
Behind every irrational fear is a lie that must be identified and taken captive.
True bravery is seeing the fear, swallowing hard, and trusting God… letting Him have it — no matter the outcome. Knowing that with each failure, each disappointment, each unexplained hardship and offense in life, He is sovereign… and He deserves our trust.
That may sound difficult (or even impossible). But know that you’re not expected to go it alone. God has promised He will be with us to the end. Our only hope lies in Him.
And the good news is, He has already overcome this world.