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How do you combat fear when you are in living in a state of crisis? Are you tired of the news playing havoc with your emotions? Does each press conference, or latest update feel like a stranglehold on your desire for security? Are you desperately searching for a safe haven in the midst of a storm?
At the time of this writing, COVID-19 is assaulting the world. We are daily hearing stories of toilet paper skirmishes, mask shortages, and how hoarding has become the norm. The mainstream media continue to stir the pot of fear each trying to outdo each other with elaborate headlines.
We wrestle with the idea (turned reality) that in our age of advanced technology, and strong healthcare systems, a pandemic can have such an effect on our lives. We subconsciously believe that we are too evolved for viruses that we can’t control.
But pandemics, wars, natural disasters, widespread poverty, and pain are not a new phenomenon. These life-altering events have been affecting humans since the beginning of time. We fight against it because it forces us to come face to face with our own helplessness, our own vulnerability, our innate humanness.
We are not God, and that is never more apparent than in a time of crisis. You wonder is it even possible to live with peace when fear is the common currency? We are going to be talking about three practical ways to combat fear:
2. Fight Fear: Praise God When The Sky Is Falling
3. Fight Fear: Practical Tips To Turn Your Eyes Toward Jesus
1. Fight Fear: Recount His Faithfulness
The Israelites from the Bible were very familiar with overwhelming odds and near-death situations. After escaping Egypt, the Israelites were caught between the Red Sea in front of them and Pharaoh’s army pursuing them from behind.
I can’t imagine how terrifying and helpless it would feel to see a huge army, including 600 hundred of Pharaoh’s fastest chariots hurtling towards you, as you are stuck on the banks of the Red Sea with no way to get across.
The Israelites responded to the crisis in the typical human fashion, “They said to Moses,“Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us to the desert to die? What have you done to us by bringing us out of Egypt? Didn’t we say to you in Egypt, ‘Leave us alone; let us serve the Egyptians’? It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the desert!” Exodus 14:11-12
When faced with overwhelming odds, instead of looking too God, they started planning their own funerals. They forgot that they served a God who had just unleashed his mighty power through plagues, rescued them from Pharaoh, provided a pillar of cloud to guide them by day, and a pillar of fire to guide them by night.
So, what do we do, when we feel like the world is closing in around us and there is no way out? We need to learn from the Israelites and remind ourselves of God’s faithfulness. Nothing that is or will ever happen is a surprise to God. He is not scrambling to try and figure out a solution to the issues at hand. When we are tempted to panic, we need to stop and remind ourselves of God’s faithfulness to us. So, let’s get practical, shall we?
Recounting God’s Faithfulness Prayer Exercise:
a. Grab a piece of paper, or journal and a pen. Find a quiet place and get comfortable.
b. Optional -Light a candle as a visual reminder that God is with you right now.
c. Close your eyes and invite God into this time of prayer. Spend a couple of minutes in silence just spending time with God.
*If this new to you, set a timer for 2-3 minutes, so you are not constantly checking your watch wondering if it broke. 🙂
d. Ask God to remind you of his faithfulness in your life. Record those events by writing down any time, large or small, that God has shown up.
Option 2: If you are finding this is difficult, or you have a relatively new relationship with God, start by listing all the ways he showed up for:
- People in the Bible
- Members of your family
- Current Godly men and women that you admire
- In the lives of Christians throughout history
e. Post that paper in a prominent place as a daily visual reminder of God’s presence in your life.
2. Fight Fear: Praise Him When The Sky Is Falling
The story continues with Moses challenging the panicking Israelites to not be afraid and to trust in God. With everyone watching, God made history yet again. 🙂 He saved the Israelites from the hands of the Egyptians, by dividing the Red Sea and allowing the Israelites to pass through on dry ground.
Exodus 14:28 says, “The water flowed back and covered the chariots and horsemen—the entire army of Pharaoh that had followed the Israelites into the sea. Not one of them survived.”
The Israelites spend an entire chapter, singing a song of thanksgiving to God praising him for his mighty power.
I don’t remember a majority of the sermons that I have heard over the years much to my dismay. However, I once heard a pastor unpack the story of Moses and the Israelites in a way that I have never forgotten. He said that the Israelites praised God on the wrong side of the river.
In the face of adversity, they promptly forgot his track record of faithfulness, and they demanded proof yet again that God was who he said he was. Anyone can praise God AFTER he shows up in a mighty way.
God is inviting us, built on our love relationship with him, to trust him. To praise him when it looks like everything is crumbling around us, and the world is screaming, “The sky is falling! The sky is falling!”
We need to remember that we serve Immanuel, which means God with us. Deuteronomy 31:6 reminds us of God’s character as it says,
“Be strong. Take courage. Don’t be intimidated. Don’t give them a second thought because God, your God, is striding ahead of you. He’s right there with you. He won’t let you down; he won’t leave you.”
Will you choose to accept God’s invitation to trust him and to praise him on this side of the river?
3. Fight Fear: Practical Tips To Turn Your Eyes Towards Jesus
David hiding from Saul in the mountains. Daniel in the lion’s den. Esther facing death. Ruth facing starvation. Baby Jesus and the threat of King Herod are just some of the examples.
I am always looking for ways to take head knowledge into practical heart transformation. I have compiled a list of practical ideas to help you when fear starts to creep up. They are not in any particular order.
a. Place Restrictions on Media Consumption.
I am not advocating burying your head in the sand. It is important to be an informed citizen. However, be wise at how much control the headlines have over your mental and emotional health.
b. Set Parameters on how Long you will Discuss the Latest News.
Along those same lines, be intentional on how much time you spend discussing the latest headline.
c. Spend Time in the Bible.
I would highly recommend reading through the Psalms. They are full of David’s sometimes brutally honest cries to God for deliverance. I would recommend reading a Psalm or two a day and using them as your own personal prayer to God.
d. Don’t Isolate Yourself
Find ways to connect with others, even if it can’t be in person. FaceTime, phone calls, text messages, and yes, even letters. Skype with your small group. Get creative! 🙂
e. Memorize Scripture
The great Christian mothers and fathers throughout history have used meditating on scripture as a way to live in peace, not fear. You can focus on topics like peace, hope, and joy.
This is so important to your mental, emotional, and spiritual health. Go for a walk around your neighborhood, try out a new exercise video on youtube, play outside with your kids. The point is to get moving!
Talk with God about your thoughts and feelings. Be honest. He wants to hear from the real you not the “good christian” you.
h. Eat Healthy Foods
I know you want to indulge in comfort foods 24/7 to help manage the stress. But eating whole foods is crucial to supporting a healthy immune system. The little choices you make today affect your overall health tomorrow.
i. Get Rest
Don’t use the latest restrictions as an invitation to binge watch tv until one am. Be wise and set aside six to eight hours for much-needed sleep!
j. Engage in a Hobby that Brings You Joy
Seriously, now is the time to try out that new hobby. This should be something that allows you to decompress and invites you to experience joy, wonder, and beauty in this world. Explore music, exercise, art, fix a car, learn to knit, try a new card game, or a new recipe. The skies the limit and there are no acorns in sight. 🙂
To God be the Glory, Forever, and Ever, Amen.
If you want to know how to get started in living a deep life with God; grab our Deeper Life Beginners Guide (below). And join our community of moms who are hungry for more Jesus in their lives and in the lives of their families.
What about you? What is your #1 issue when it comes to fighting fear? Leave a comment, and don’t forget to follow Most Important Work on Pinterest!