This Spooky Season, Be Not Afraid

It’s Halloween Week, when it’s fun to be scared, but throughout most of the year, there’s nothing fun about being afraid. A state of fear is not one we’re designed to maintain. One of the most pervasive messages in scripture is BE NOT AFRAID.

So this week at Doubting Believer, we’ll be looking at ways to quell our fears. Here is one of my favorite exercises. Try it out and see how it works for you.

Step one:

Name your fear. Write it down. On paper. Own it. Remember that the only person who had power over Voldemort was the one person who was not afraid to speak his name. When we can name our fears, we can overcome them.

Step two:

Don’t just do something, sit there. Sit with your fear. Don’t berate yourself for not being brave enough or faithful enough or reckless enough to get over it.  It’s okay to be afraid. It’s not okay to let your fears keep you from living into the life you are meant to have.

Step three:

Play the if/then game with your fear. If your fear is realized, then what? What is the worst thing that could happen? And if that worst thing happens, then what? Keep playing the if/then game. At each stage, question the authenticity and likelihood of your “then” and see if you’re being honest about it.  

For example: If I lose my job, I can’t pay my mortgage and I’ll be homeless.

Fact check:

  • I have money in saving to pay my mortgage for two more months.
  • If I cut out discretionary spending like cable, subscriptions, eating out, etc, I could come up with at least another month or two of mortgage payments
  • I am highly skilled and can likely find another job in my field
  • Even if I can’t find a job in my field, I am willing to do any kind of job if I need to.

So then you’re if/then becomes: if I lose my job, I’ll need to cut expenses and look for a new position. Chances are the worst case scenario is not as bad as you’ve let it build up in your mind to be.

Step Four

So, now what? Consider the ways you can address the fear you face today…right now?  Write them down. When our day is consumed with what might happen tomorrow, we lose focus on dealing with the problems of the day and risk missing out on all the joys today has to offer.

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matthew 6:34). 

This is not the end-all-be-all answer to quell your fears, but in those times when your fear runs away with you, it is a great tool to re-center yourself and move from stressing over something to actually addressing the problem. Stressing to addressing. Hmmm…maybe I should make a t-shirt.

Rev. Anne Russ is an ordained pastor in the Presbyterian Church (USA), currently based in New York City. Doubting Believer provides tools and encouragement for the rollercoaster ride of your faith journey. Follow me on Facebook , Instagram and YouTube. You can also follow on TikTok. Get emails to keep up with all that is happening.

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