When the doctor called, I was expecting her to tell me I had walking pneumonia or maybe a severe case of bronchitis. Instead, she decided to drop the bomb: I had cancer.
At that moment in 2009, fear came into my life and set up shop; actually, more like setting up a multi-national corporation! It took a long time but I eventually learned how to get over the fear when it comes, even after six rounds of chemotherapy and going in and out of remission.
Is there a secret to conquering fear?
Yes, there is. It’s funny but recently, I felt a wave of fear come over me related to something that I had no justifiable reason to be afraid of and unrelated to my health. But I was truly fearful.
In a matter of minutes, I put a stop to the fear. That’s what cancer taught me. I don’t know if you can ever eliminate fear – there are good reasons to fear things. But irrational fear or too much fear can be immobilizing.
Here are 7 ways I’ve learned to conquer fear when it comes.
1. Let it go. This is the most powerful thing to do but it’s not easy. You simply have to “let go” of the fear if it’s something you can’t control. I like to visualize myself throwing the fear out the car window or watching it disintegrate. I simply decide that God is in control, and I’m going to let go of things that I can’t control.
2. Read the Bible. You can gain so much confidence from reading about how powerful and in control God is. You don’t have to think that only great saints have no fear – the Bible shows us people like Elijah who were fearful at times but also very courageous.
3. Talk to someone. Other people can help put things in perspective. And if they are Christians, they can really give you God’s perspective and solid encouragement, which is why I say to hang around Christians.
4. Imagine. When I’m in a fearful situation, I like to imagine myself as that Gladiator dude or maybe even the Apostle Paul. If I’m entering a fearful situation (like a bone marrow biopsy), I imagine that I’m standing in the place of my children, which gives me a sense of purpose and courage.
5. Pray. When you pray, you are bringing God’s power into your life. It’s supernatural but it’s real. I know God hears me no matter what the outcome is, and he’ll hear you.
6. Examine the situation. Consider why you are afraid. Maybe there are good reasons! If so, your fear may be well grounded and that fear could be a good thing in helping you either avoid a dangerous situation or find someone who can help you. For example, if you are afraid that you might have a serious health issue, then take action and find out.
7. Consider the future. No matter whether your fear is appropriate or not, a Christian can rely on the fact that any bad situation will not last forever. When I think about whether my cancer will come back, I know that even if it does, when I die, all the bad will go away forever. This life will look like a hiccup compared to eternity.
I expect fear to always come knocking in my life, but I am well prepared for it. It’s funny that when fear comes, it can be very powerful. The key is to be ready to appeal to a higher power: God.
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