Negative Emotions Can Cripple Us – Part 3

Fear

Fear comes from a threat of danger and a sense of insecurity.  Sometimes fear is real, such as a storm about to hit our home.  But oftentimes fear is irrational, meaning it has no basis in fact or truth.  We can be afraid of people, circumstances, and events that will never hurt us.

Sometimes even our memories can produce irrational fears.  These are typically tied to our inborn temperament in some way.

  • Fear of not appearing competent; fear of rejection.
  • Fear of failure; fear of not being in control or under control.
  • Fear of disapproval; fear of the absence of approval.
  • Fear of abandonment; fear of being excluded or left out.
  • Fear of expending unnecessary energy; fear of over-obligation of energy.

We can fear failure and never try anything new.  We can fear rejection and never pursue satisfying relationships.  People who are fear-based most likely didn’t experience security and safety in childhood, and possibly even in adulthood.  They perhaps didn’t feel a sense of protection and the hope and assurance of support when a dangerous or less than comfortable situation arose.

God’s Love Conquers Our Fears

People who are fear-based don’t have the proper understanding of God or don’t know how He relates to us as the perfect Father, Provider, Protector, Lover, and Giver.

Fear can completely paralyze us at times.  A person bound by fear is a person who doesn’t feel safe to do much of anything or to take reasonable risks.  They literally hide under a shell, relationally detached and withdrawn.

Fear also has the ability to drive identity dependence.  The fear of rejection can provoke the same negative feelings as if actual rejection had occurred.  If we are rejected, we need to face that reality with a Christ-centered, Biblical perspective.  But if we only fear being rejected, the event has not yet happened.

The Bible tells us there is no acceptable fear except the “fear of the Lord.”  We also learn in the Bible that “perfect love casts out all fear” (1 John 4:8 NIV).  Therefore, it is safe to conclude that when we are fearful, we have a need to allow more of the love of God into our lives.

It is important to realize the need to place a higher priority on our relationship with Jesus.  We must seek Him, look to Him, and believe He is our Protector and Defender in all ways and in all situations.  We are reminded hundreds of times in God’s word not to fear.  We must choose to believe and live God’s truth rather than the false beliefs that we’ve known for much of our lives.  Unlike other emotions, fear is always illegitimate.

Young woman lonely and fear of rejectionLoneliness

Loneliness isn’t necessarily about being alone.  It means we feel isolated and disconnected from others, for some, even when we’re in a crowd.  Loneliness says, “I am the only person going through this.  No one would understand or care.”  Many people go through life lonely yet are never able to identify loneliness as the problem.  They fill their lives with things, busy activities, social calendars, yet are left still feeling that void and discontentment.

God created us to be in relationships, but they were designed in such a way that He would come first, above everything and everyone in our lives.  Any time we feel disconnected from others, we must first look at the health of our intimate relationship with Jesus.

Loneliness can lead to anger, fear, and even depression. Choosing to seek help and engage in community to overcome loneliness can be difficult.  Often this journey of transformation that we’re on together can feel lonely, as we give up relationships that are no longer healthy, or our own family members who don’t understand what we’re going through.  It is essential to connect with people who can encourage us and who understand the path we’ve chosen to take in our lives.  We need to surround ourselves with people who understand where we are, and don’t cause us to feel judged, condemned, or unacceptable.

A Journey of Connecting

In reality, this journey from brokenness to wholeness is one of connecting.   First, God wants to repair our broken or absent connection to Him.  Ultimately that connection will give us the ability to connect to others in healthy ways.

Even so, we must be willing to accept loneliness as a part of being human.  Sometimes we’ll just feel lonely and need to use those times for solitude with God rather than isolating ourselves from others.  By beginning to identify our loneliness, we can learn to hand over that feeling to God.  We can use those times for prayer, reading God’s word, and simply just being in His presence.  As we focus on Him, we find the sweetness of His presence engulfs us.  Rather than feeling alone, we feel connected to Him. Jesus said, “I will never abandon or reject you” (Hebrews 13:5 NLT).

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