Fear is, unfortunately, a natural part of life for everyone. When Adam sinned and the earth came under the curse, God withdrew His presence. And the enemy has been capitalizing on that ever since.
Throw in a damaged brain and mental illness, and fear can end up dominating the mind. Anxiety, paranoia, panic attacks, and phobias have run rampant through people’s lives.
Many times, I have cried out to God to take the fear away. And I have to say that I haven’t always found relief. This brings in doubt of whether God hears me or if prayer even works at all.
The thing I have to remember is, prayer is not a wish my heart makes. That’s a dream in a Disney song.
Prayer is a conversation with my Father. And He has already told me what I need to do in the book He wrote for me.
Psalm 16:11 NKJV
You will show me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
If His presence brings fullness of joy, then there’s no room left for fear.
When I realize there is no fear in God, then I can make the choice to drag my mind – fear and all – into His presence.
Seeking God’s presence takes my focus off the fear.
It’s not easy. I have to drop everything and focus on God and His Word. I have to take this fight seriously and expend effort to win.
I don’t have to go far, though, because the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit all live inside me.
I Corinthians 3:16
Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst?
Since God dwells in a temple, I need to know the proper way to enter the temple and come into His presence.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.
It doesn’t make sense to my natural mind that when I’m afraid, I should start thanking and praising God. The fear has filled my head with images of chaos and pain. What’s there to be thankful about?
This is when I use my will to move my mind to the truth. Because I have learned from experience that obeying God’s Word works, I can make the choice to do so again, in spite of the fear.
I will find something to be thankful for. It may be something completely unrelated, but introducing those thoughts of thankfulness into my mind means I’m taking back territory from the fear. Every brain cell I use to thank God for something, is one less brain cell the fear has to work with.
If I can’t think of something else, I’ll thank God that I still have brain cells and free will. I’ll thank Him for His Word regardless of whether I feel like it’s working. I’ll keep pushing my thoughts through the exercise of finding something to be thankful for until I get to the cross and the resurrection. And I’ll throw my fearful mind down at the feet of Jesus and thank Him for loving me so much that He paid the highest price just to be with me.
Thank you, Jesus!
Entering God’s presence brings me into peace.
It can be exhausting, fighting through the fear to get to the thankfulness. But I know the reward that waits for me there. Peace.
You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.
When I’m finally at His feet, I choose to keep praising and thanking Him for who He is and everything He’s done. I remember more and more reasons why He’s worthy of praise.
Praise the Lord, my soul,
and forget not all his benefits—
who forgives all your sins
and heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit
and crowns you with love and compassion,
who satisfies your desires with good things
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
More and more of my thoughts are transformed from fear into praise. His presence, His love, and His faithfulness are filling my mind and leaving no room for the fear.
Standing in God’s presence gives me a new perspective.
A praise and worship break will rarely change my circumstances. I don’t rule out that it could, because God has certainly done that before (II Chron. 20:22).
But His presence changes me. He changes my perspective.
And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus,
His Word reminds me that I’m seated in Christ Jesus, at the right hand of God the Father. Not only does He have my back, but I have His authority.
Just knowing that calms my nerves; but the benefits don’t stop there. I allow my mind to go back to the things that were causing the fear in the first place. But this time, I’m not being beaten down by the fear; I’m looking down on the fear from God’s throne room.
Even if I still have no idea how the situation could be resolved, at least I’m no longer afraid of it. I now have the strength to pray over the situation or the person. I have the presence of mind to seek answers in God’s Word.
Or I may hear Him tell me to just let it go and walk away. I couldn’t hear His still, small voice when my mind was overcome by the fear. And I certainly couldn’t have walked away then.
But I can now, because I’ve been changed by being in His presence.
How has coming into God’s presence changed your mind or your situation?
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