You've heard hundreds of sermons on the “do not fear” verses, and you know you shouldn’t be afraid. Even when you’re facing a global crisis. But really, how do you get things from your head to your heart?
“Well, what’s between your head and your heart?” my dad often asks, and points to his mouth. What you say out loud has the power to change your mindset and situation, and it’s the first step in fighting fear. But what does it look like in today's chaos?
Two months ago I got the stomach flu. Relatively minor, compared to what everyone is facing, but still not fun. In the middle, my mom texted me a list of “don’t fear” verses, encouraging me to read it aloud. Nothing changed. But slowly, instead of despairing, “this always happens”... I started thinking, Things will get better. That day changed everything.
I realised that half my battle was against fear itself, not a physical virus. Although it was a reminder to look after my health, it was also a wake-up call to how fear had been toying with my mind. That day kicked off a series of lessons on courage that I need now more than ever.
So, here are five practical tips on how to fight fear—and choose courage instead.
1. Don’t scroll.
I know, I know, you had to scroll to get here. It’s difficult to get anywhere in the storm of social media without scrolling. But even if every headline, infographic, or blog post you saw today was completely worth your time—it doesn’t mean it’s healthy to read each one. Take a moment, breathe, and set some boundaries (even if it’s just avoiding your newsfeed for one day!).
2. Watch or read courageous stories.
It’s easy to binge-watch shows or read novels to escape to another world. (Believe me, I’m the one who just did an Indiana Jones marathon). But stories can bring us into the lives of people who also lived through global chaos. Whether it’s historical drama or sci-fi or even a kid’s story, don’t completely check out. You become what you behold, right? So start noticing the people who face their fears, and choose stories with courageous characters (and don't forget the Bible is full of them!).
3. Talk to somebody.
Sometimes the most courageous thing to do is talk to someone honestly about where you’re at. It’s hard to share your fears when it seems like everyone else is freaking out. But as researcher and author Brené Brown teaches, every courageous act is made possible by a moment of vulnerability. Or sometimes those acts are one and the same. So face your fears, and ask someone to pray for you. You may not feel courageous in the moment, but trust me, it is the definition of bravery.
4. Take a step forward, even if it’s small.
Fear cripples you—that’s why this is a perfect time to take a step forward. In the face of global chaos, a question I’ve started asking myself is, “What’s one brave thing I can do today?” It could be something that seems pretty insignificant or small. Last week, I submitted my passport application even though I don’t know when I’ll be able to use it. These small steps add up—and one day you may find yourself doing wildly courageous things you never imagined.
5. Be thankful for what’s in front of you.
In the last week, I’ve been swamped by all the things the media (and government) has told me I can’t do. Although I have to honestly face my disappointments, it’s also the perfect time to be thankful. So, thank God for the things in front of you—whether it’s your cat, a working phone, or even a fresh roll of toilet paper. Changes in circumstances can rattle us, but also give us new perspective on how blessed we really are. And we always have this hope: “that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love Him” (Romans 8:28).
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