Fear seems difficult to overcome. Anywhere from fear of heights, fear of rejection or fear of God. The list can go on for miles. It makes sense though; some things we fear are rational while others don’t make much sense at all. Fear can be an appropriate answer in some situations and the wrong reaction in others. But I’m wondering, what exactly is fear? How do you distinguish healthy vs unhealthy fear?
Google says fear can be defined as,
an unpleasant, often strong emotion caused by expectation or awareness of danger. So, yes, fear is unpleasant, but the emotion of fear is not a bad thing! In fact, God gave us fear as an innate form of protection.
So why do we hear so many things about fear and the negative effects it has in our lives? When fear is distorted from its intended purpose, to protect us from dangerous situations, fear becomes unhealthy. This distortion leaves us with a problem: distinguishing healthy vs unhealthy fear.
Unhealthy fear develops when we allow the emotion of fear to spill out into other areas of our lives that aren’t life or death situations. This unhealthy fear causes us to make decisions based on an emotion that doesn’t correspond to the circumstance. Unhealthy fear can often be caused by trauma or hurtful experiences that we have gone through. Left unchecked, unhealthy fear can begin to manifest as anxiety or worry, playing a role God never intended it to play in our lives!
But here is the good news: we don’t have to let unhealthy fear control our lives! God has given us power over all unhealthy fear through the blood of Jesus and He will help us overcome every fear we encounter.
As you go throughout your daily life this week ask the Lord, “Will you show me where I have unhealthy fear in my life?” Then, invite the Lord to help you overcome that fear.
For more resources on fear, listen to the MercyTalk podcast series called Overcoming Fear.