Sep 29, 2022
Today we're continuing our series on overcoming fear. And as we get started, ask yourself a question: Is your fear real or imagined?
Dr. James Dobson has decades of experience coaching people to overcome fear and doubt, and put their trust in Christ. He relates a fascinating experience he once had when he learned that sometimes our fear is all in our head.
It seems that he was preparing to graduate from Southern Cal with a PhD in psychology, and as he got ready at home that day, anticipating the happy drive with his family, a cold fear just came over him. He says now that he felt a growing dread, seemingly out of nowhere, that he would be killed in a car accident on the way. Honestly, this sounds crazy, and it kind of is. Even Dobson admits that. He says today that he realized this fear of death and tragedy that gripped him was obviously not from God, and the obvious source is that of our enemy. In some weird way, he can influence our thoughts.
Maybe this happens when we're exhausted or distracted. Maybe these thoughts of failure and terror come from stress. Whatever the circumstances though, they're evil. They have no place in our hearts and minds. James Dobson said that day, he simply got in his car and he led his family to the USC campus where he received his hard-earned degree. Afterward, they had a lovely lunch, and the day remains a great memory for the Dobson family.
Mark 5:36 says, “Jesus told him, ‘Don't be afraid. Just believe.’” For Dr. Dobson, this also remains a powerful lesson. Oftentimes our greatest fears are not even real. They don't even come to pass. Learn to recognize the real from the imagined.
And of course, there are times where our fears are very real. Maybe it's a scary diagnosis from a doctor, or a wayward child just digs himself deeper holes in life. In those times, remembering the source of our fears is really important. When real dangers do crop up, literally speak to the Lord and tell Him you are giving him this giant problem. Tell Him you can't solve it, but you know He can.
Another thing to remember if you determine your fear is legitimate, is seek the care of a good friend. Likewise, if you see someone weighed down with fear, you be that shoulder to lean on. We can determine to help each other. Proverbs 12:25 tells us, “An anxious heart weighs a man down, but a kind word cheers him up.”
One day God will permanently remove our fears. And until then, learn to recognize the difference in real and imagined problems in your life.
Father God, your Word tells us that in this world we will have trouble. Problems will challenge us, but you have overcome the world, and that is our ultimate safety net, where evil can't hurt us. In Jesus' name. Amen.