Fear is a Liar

I have an intimate relationship with fear. I can trace almost every bad feeling I ever have back to this single, paralyzing emotion.

I fear losing what I love. I fear not being enough. I fear pain and heartache. I fear physical hurt. I fear discomfort. I fear rejection.

Thank God I don’t dwell on my fear every minute of every day or I’d end up in an institution. However, if I’m being honest, I have to admit that I’ve let fear take over my life more times than I care to admit. And I’ve learned that one of the most powerful things you can learn and practice in this life is how to tell fear to take a hike when it jumps out of the bushes and grabs you by the collar.

Last week I heard this song for the first time. It’s called Fear is a Liar by Zach Williams. It is SO GOOD. If you struggle with fear (I’m convinced we all do), read these lyrics, listen to the song, and believe it. Fear really is a liar. He tells us the most destructive, disempowering stories. And we believe him.

When he told you you’re not good enough
When he told you you’re not right
When he told you you’re not strong enough
To put up a good fight
When he told you you’re not worthy
When he told you you’re not loved
When he told you you’re not beautiful
That you’ll never be enough

Fear, he is a liar
He will take your breath
Stop you in your steps
Fear he is a liar
He will rob your rest
Steal your happiness

Cast your fear in the fire
‘Cause fear he is a liar

This is almost impossible to remember when fear is staring you in the face.

Unless…

You commit to learning the truth about fear when you’re not afraid. Then you can believe it, tuck it away in your brain, and call up the truth the next time fear tries to manipulate you. I’ve caught myself actually reminding myself of this truth verbally, out loud — “Mark, fear is only messing with your head.” I’m sure I sound a bit loony when I talk to myself, but in those moments I really don’t care. It’s more important to me to remember and articulate the truth.

Byron Katie calls it “The Work”. Her approach is to confront fear with four questions:

  1. Is it true?
  2. Can you absolutely know that it’s true?
  3. How do you react, what happens, when you believe that thought (the lie)?
  4. Who would you be without that thought?

Whether you remember the words of the song, the loony way I approach it, or you ask the questions suggested in The Work, learning how to work past fear is one of the most empowering pursuits you can embark upon.

This is an important, VERY common struggle, which is why I’d love to hear from you. Leave a comment below if you have additional thoughts, suggestions, or specific techniques you use to throw fear in the fire.

3 replies
  1. Kay Coughlin
    Kay Coughlin says:

    Mark, this is just what I needed this morning. I could not agree more. Beautifully said! Thank you for your honesty and compassion, always.

    Reply
  2. Allen Lloyd
    Allen Lloyd says:

    So true. I have always suffered from impostor syndrome which to me is just a kind of fear. Lately I have found a good way to deal with my irrational fears is to add some legitimate fear to my life. I have been doing more solo hikes (with my dog) as a way to get my juices flowing. Few things can instill real fear like finding a large animal carcass that another animal created. Knowing that somewhere not too far away in the woods is an apex predator makes you realize that people finding out you don’t have all the answers is small potatoes.

    Much like the impostor syndrome, a few weeks ago I climbed up to what I thought was a cliff. I don’t like heights and the snow was pretty deep. In my head any slip was going to result in a huge free fall into nothing. But then I got to the top and the other side of the hill wasn’t as steep as the side I had just climbed. This difference between what our minds tell us and what actually is really has potential to derail us. Typing this I also realize I was worried about falling off a cliff that I was climbing up to so physics would have needed to do some pretty strange stuff for the image in my head to actually happen.

    Reply

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