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.
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:
- Is it true?
- Can you absolutely know that it’s true?
- How do you react, what happens, when you believe that thought (the lie)?
- 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.