4 Simple Steps to Banish Fear

One day, you’re going to encounter a situation that takes your breath away. And not in a good way. 

In a fear-filled, oh-my-gosh-what-am-I-going-to-do, I’m so AFRAID way. Your heart will race, your mind will swirl with scary thoughts, and you’ll become paralyzed as you imagine the worst possible scenario. And you’ll probably cry from the sheer terror of what might happen. 

Many different scenarios can inspire this type of fear: 

A job loss. 

A health crisis. 

A wayward child. 

A suicidal friend. 

A struggling marriage. 

Are you frightened yet? 

Each of these situations, at some point in my life, have scared the beejeebies out of me. Thankfully, God cares when we’re scared. He cares so much so that he planted a tiny, 10-word verse smack dab in the middle of the Bible just for us scaredy cats: 

“When I am afraid, I will trust in you.” 

Psalm 56:3 is one of the first verses I taught my children when they were afraid to go to sleep or hesitant to try something new. I don’t know if they remember it now that they’re adults, but I certainly do. Psalm 56:3 effectively cuts through the thoughts that try to kidnap my faith and replace it with fear. 

As I’m learning to battle fear, I’ve identified four 

Steps to Take When You Are Afraid: 

1. Take your fear to God. 

 “When I am afraid, I will trust in you” (Psalm 56:3). 

“Don’t be afraid, just believe” (Mark 5:36). 

It’s easy to go to our spouse, our friends, or our Facebook page when something frightens us, but the first place we should go is to God. Only God has the power to change our situation and give us strength to go through it. Only he can still the waves of fear that threaten to capsize our faith boats. Friends and family are great support, but running to them shouldn’t be our first response. 

2. Pray. 

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God, and the peace which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 4:6). 

Tell God how you feel. He already knows, but somehow, the physical act of telling God what we’re frightened of (especially if we pray aloud) brings it out of the darkness and into the light. Prayer reminds us we’re not in this alone, and that we have a powerful ally on our side. 

3. Search God’s Word for promises or truths to claim. 

Specific Bible verses provide a focal point for our thoughts and an anchor to steady us when rough emotional seas buffet our faith. Before you search your Bible or online Bible resource, pray and ask God to lead you to just the right verse or passage to claim. Then write it on sticky notes all over the house and commit it to memory. These Scriptures can become life preservers in the tossing seas of our trial. 

Here are a few of my favorites: 

About finances: “And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:19). 

About health: “Heal me, O LORD, and I will be healed; save me and I will be saved, for you are the one I praise” (Jer. 17:14). 

About a wayward child: “I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh” (Eze. 11:19). 

About a struggling friend: “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds” (Psa. 147:3). 

About a failing marriage: “Nothing is too hard for God” (Luke 1:47). 

4. Enlist a trusted friend to pray with you. 

Battling fear is spiritual warfare, and spiritual warfare is exhausting. Remember the story of Moses leading the children of Israel into battle against the Amalekites in Exodus 17? He stood on a high hill overlooking the battlefield and held his staff aloft to encourage his soldiers. As the battle continued, Moses’ arms grew weary, and his staff drooped. Aaron and Hur came to his rescue and supported his hands until the battle was over and the Israelites had won the victory. 

We all need friends like Aaron and Hur to support us as we battle fear. The simple act of praying with someone divides the load and doubles the spiritual energy, thus enabling us to press on to victory. 

Fear is a natural response when something threatens us or someone we love. For all the energy and effort it consumes however, it seldom accomplishes anything constructive. Taking our fears to God, praying, claiming God’s promises, and enlisting a praying friend are supernatural responses. They are, as 2 Corinthians 10:4 describes, “mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds.” They are also a means to invite God to quiet our minds and remove our fears. 

Listen to his promise: "You will keep in perfect peace, him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you” (Isa. 26:3). 

While we may have to repeat these steps multiple times to gain victory over fear, we can find that “peace that surpasses understanding.” God honors the honest prayers of his children and uses them to accomplish his will on the earth. 

If that’s not enough to banish our fears, I don’t know what will.

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