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A string of devastating disappointments can weaken you to the point you live in constant fear of the next disaster. Don’t give up. You can push through fear and find hope.
Job experienced multiple traumas. He suffered from the loss of his children, his finances, and his health. Though he was greatly distressed, he held on until God brought him relief.
In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.Job 1:22 NIV
Just like Job, your mental attitude makes a difference. Do all you can to guard your heart against bitterness toward God. A healthy fear of God is good.
At any moment, you have the ability to choose a different path. With each decision you make, something changes. As long as something is changing, hope is alive.
If it seems like you are up against a wall with no way out, perhaps you are afraid of something. The enemy uses fear to distract you. When you are afraid, everything looks worse than it really is.
Here are two possible ways you can become immobilized by fear:
- You expect a change for the worse: You fear a change that will result in you being worse off than you are currently. You anticipate you will make a bigger mess of an already bad situation.
- You expect no positive change: You fear you’ll never be better off. You believe your dreams are unobtainable, your effort is futile, and change is impossible.
If nothing about you could ever change, fear would multiple quickly. You would become consumed with hopelessness. The more you feel trapped, the more you would panic. The more you panic, the more trapped you would feel.
Anxiety blocks creativity. The more anxious I am, the less I have access to the part of me that can find solutions. I can’t make a good decision when I am anxious. When my ability to change my thinking becomes inaccessible, I become confused, paralyzed, and unable to move forward.
Don’t give up. Push through fear like you would cross a scary bridge. You can use these 3 strategies to bridge your way to hope:
Use the Gospel to Push Through Fear
You were once dead in your sin, but now you are a new creation. You are forgiven and capable of becoming more like Christ. You can change because God is empowering you. This is the ultimate hope all believers have.
The kind of change I’m talking about is the kind that matters most. The priceless kind. Would you rather have an easy life or the strength and peace to endure a hard life?
The hope of the Gospel is more than enough to calm my fears.
Use Your Identity to Push Through Fear
All positive, significant change is a decision to embrace more of who God made you to be. Circumstances can change for better or worse. But your identity is fixed. And this is good because it’s easier to hit a fixed target than one that moves all the time.
As you accept and move toward your true identity, you’ll gain the power to also accept your circumstances.
If you’re believing lies about yourself, you are opening yourself to evil. Walk away from abusive situations. I don’t mean give up on loving others. Instead, I mean improve your self-worth by actively refuting lies with the truth.
Use Momentum to Push Through Fear
The smallest change can result in unstoppable momentum. There’s always hope when there’s something you can change. If you can make a change in what you’re doing or saying, then something must be different inside of you.
God takes no pleasure in seeing you beat yourself up or put yourself down. When something terrible happens, it has nothing to do with who you are. Remember Job? He lost so much, but that didn’t change who he was to God.
Can you decide to take better care of yourself? Relax and allow yourself to find the greater separation between who your circumstance says you are and who God says you are.
Always hold on to hope because you can make a change. If the change you want seems too big, then start smaller. Even a small change can lead to big hope. Do something different. Take a walk instead of sitting inside all day. Veg out instead of doing laundry all day. Do something to enjoy the moment you have right now.
To push through fear and choose peace despite your circumstances, you will need to pray.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.Philippians 4:6-8 NIV
Matt Pavlik is a licensed professional clinical counselor who wants to see each individual restored to their true identity. He has more than 20 years of experience counseling individuals and couples at his Christian counseling practice, New Reflections Counseling. Matt and Georgette have been married since 1999 and live with their four children in Centerville, Ohio.