No matter how old I am, feelings of fear continue to linger in my heart and mind. Even as a twenty-somethings woman, young professional, and “new adult,” I still encounter fear too often. I question my ability to perform at work. I am scared of making the wrong decision about where to live. I fear never reaching my dreams and goals.
Oh, I wish fear would stop coming around, making me second guess myself, and holding me back. I wish I knew how to remove fear from mind and heart, so I could act boldly for Christ. At this point, I’d say letting go of fear is definitely overdue.
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The Struggle with Removing Fear from Mind and Heart
At the start of 2020, I chose a word for the year: “audacity.” In my journal, I wrote what audacity would mean to me this year. Having audacity would mean to “start taking risks and stop playing it safe.” It would mean to “stop worrying and letting fear drive my decisions.”
However, it wasn’t as simple as writing down an intention and then living out that intention. Even though I set out with high hopes and concrete plans for 2020, much of the year has been ruled by fear.
The coronavirus pandemic shattered my illusion of certainty, and fear quickly moved in. As I started to come around and see what the coronavirus could teach us over the course of the year, I realized how important it was to put my hope in God, who was certain. Yet still, my struggle overcoming fear continued.
Learning how to remove fear from the mind and heart and live with audacity was a journey. And that journey began with recognizing the spirit of fear.
What is the spirit of fear?
In my sophomore year of college, I made the decision that before I graduated college, I would apply for the Fulbright fellowship. I spent countless hours on essays, revisions, rewrites, research, and interviews to become an English Teaching Assistant in the co-principality of Andorra.
My senior year of college, I was selected as a Fulbright teaching assistant, and over the next six months, planned for my departure to Andorra. During that time of planning, I never felt fear–only excitement–over where God was leading me.
Until the four days before I was to leave. I was sitting in the kitchen of my parent’s house late one night, and I felt the spirit of fear.
At first, it started out small–a bit of a hesitation and a sprinkle of doubt.
Then I started doubting and questioning more details about my trip, my job, the country of Andorra. I picked apart everything in my mind and ruminated over my worries. The spirit of fear came upon me in full force and I felt so scared that I couldn’t move. I was paralyzed by fear.
That night, I took a deep breath, I journaled, and I prayed. Four days later, I ended up getting on that plane and going to Andorra to have one of the most incredible experiences of my life.
After my time in Andorra, when 2019 was coming to a close, I reflected on the past year and thought about that moment of fear. What would I have missed out on if I had not gotten on that plane?
What does God and the Bible say about fear?
Throughout the Bible, God talks a lot about fear to His people and through His prophets. He tells his people “Do not to Fear.” Whenever He speaks directly to one of His people or an angel appears, He says, “Do not be Afraid.”
“Thus says the Lord who made you, who formed you from the womb and will help you. Fear not, O Jacob my servant, Jeshurun whom I have chosen.”Isaiah 44:2 (ESV)
Since God says “Fear not” to us, it’s safe to say that we don’t need to hide our fear from God. He knows when we are fearful because He knows our hearts.
But as 2 Timothy says (and the rest of the Bible), God doesn’t want us to live in fear. He wants to help us remove fear from the mind and heart.
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”2 Timothy 1:7 (NKJV)
The passage 2 Timothy 1:7 is a Bible verse about fear that I’ve repeated a lot to myself over the past year, especially when it comes to learning how to remove fear from the mind and heart. This Bible verse has reminded me that God did not intend for us to live in fear.
Instead, God wants us to live in His Spirit. A Spirit of power and love and a sound mind. The Holy Spirit within us grants us these strengths. With Jesus, we can be confident as we approach God and receive his gifts of love, grace, and mercy (Hebrews 10:19-22). However, when we don’t live with God’s Spirit, we invite fear in.
Strategies for How to Remove Fear from Mind and Heart
Fear out of hand can easily control us, separate us from others, keep us from making decisions, and leave us anxious, stressed, and worried. This is what I faced when I was deciding whether or not I was going to take the teaching position in Andorra.
But it’s also what I face when I’m making a presentation at work. Fear is what keeps me paralyzed when I’m terrified of making the wrong decision. It’s what makes me second guess myself and miss out something that could be challenging, stimulating, and a great learning experience.
For those moments of fear, here are strategies for how to remove fear from mind and heart.
1. Be Honest about Your Fear
Being honest about your fear is so important to facing your fear and letting go of your fear. You can’t face something you don’t admit exists.
Write down what your fear really is. Try to avoid abstracts and find a concrete description of what is really scaring you. Then you can journal your thoughts around your fear to really understand what your fear is. If you’re not a writer, find a trusted friend and tell them about your fear.
My Story: Step One to Overcome Fear
When it comes to hopping on a plane to go halfway across the world to live in a country where I know no one, I have no problem. But there’s another dream of mine that lately has been plagued by fear.
I have always wanted to be a published author. I have memories of carrying around a notebook to the lunch room in fourth grade just so I could sneak in a bit of time to write. Now I scribble in notes during my lunch break at work.
My dream is for one of my made-up tales to reach someone else or lots of someone elses.
But I’m scared. I’m scared that I’m not good enough or doing enough. I’m scared that I’ll mess things up. I fear failure. I’m scared that people won’t take a young business consultant seriously as a novelist. I fear that editors and agents will look at my modest social media following and just not consider my writing.
I’m scared that I’ll succeed. I’m scared that I don’t even know what “success” will look like.
2. Overcoming Fear Biblically with Scripture
Now that the fear has been admitted, I turn to the Bible to help me remove the fear from my mind and heart. The Bible is full of stories about people like you and me! Sometimes we take Biblical characters and elevate them on a platform as though they had superpower capabilities that allowed them to accomplish God’s will in such amazing ways.
God did use these people in the Bible to accomplish amazing things! But, they were normal people like you and me. God’s power and strength was shown through them for His glory, but they most definitely felt fear just like you and I do.
Stories of Fear in the Bible
Because the people in the Bible experienced fear and had to overcome it, they are great examples for us to ponder when we find ourselves face to face with fear.
Their stories encourage us to stand on faith instead of giving way to fear.
Here are some examples of stories of fear in the Bible:
- Noah and the Ark: Noah felt fear when God told him to build a boat, when everyone ridiculed him, and when the floodwaters came. He spent a year on the ark before stepping onto land again!
- Moses and the Egyptian Pharaoh: The Pharaoh had immense power and was holding the Isrealites captive as slaves. Moses felt so much fear that when God asked Moses to tell Pharaoh to let the Isrealites go, Moses asked God to find someone else.
- The spies in the Promised Land: Of the twelve spies that went into the promised land to scope it out, ten of them were filled with fear and reported that the Isrealites should stay put instead of taking the land God promised them. Caleb and Joshua likely felt fear, but they encouraged the Isrealites to trust in God’s might instead.
- Queen Esther: Queen Esther feared the loss of all of her family and the Jews, to be killed by the King’s new decree. She was scared and frightened when she invited the king to a banquet so that she could ask for him to change his decree.
- Ruth: A Moabite, Ruth lost her husband and father-in-law, but she refused to leave her mother-in-law. She moved to a land not her own, Judah, while fearing the unknown.
- David: Before he was crowned King, David lived in fear as King Saul tried to kill David multiple times.
While we know these Bible stories well, we often don’t think about the fear that the people in these stories likely faced. Their journeys, like ours, weren’t easy. They probably hesitated, doubted themselves, and questioned if they’d make it to the light at the end of the tunnel.
Bible Verses about Overcoming Fear
But thankfully, that’s not the end of the story. Amidst these Biblical stories, God appears and provides us encouragement and plenty of Bible verses about overcoming fear. Here are a few of my favorite scriptures on fear and deliverance from fear.
- Isaiah 49:10: “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (ESV)
- Isaiah 49:13: “For I, the Lord your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, “Fear not, I am the one who helps you.” (ESV)
Joshua 1:9: “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (ESV)
- Luke 1:30: “And the angel said to her [Mary], ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.’” (ESV)
- Psalm 91:5-6: “You will not fear the terror of the night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness, nor the destruction that wastes at noonday.” (ESV)
Psalm 34:19 (ESV): “Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all.”
- 2 Timothy 4:18
While meditating on these Bible verses about overcoming fear, God will transform our hearts and our minds. By trusting in His word and that He is who He says He is, we allow Him to remove the fear from our minds and hearts.
3. Using Prayer to Remove Fear from Mind and Heart
Prayer is a powerful tool we as Christians have at our disposal. It is constant communion with God our Father.
When I think about the religions where you have to pray through a priest or be in a temple, I am overcome with gratitude that through Jesus Christ we have direct access to God (Hebrews 6:19-20).
Psalms 34:17-18 says:
“When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.”(ESV)
We can pray to God no matter where we are, what we are doing, or what is on our hearts. While we may not always have time to open our Bible and look up scriptures about overcoming fear, it takes only moments to pray to God.
All of our feelings of fear, worry, and anxiety can be communicated up to God in a moment.
My Story: Step Three to Overcome Fear
As a writer pursuing publication, I have been so blessed by the power of prayer. Anytime I get anxious about a submission or lost about where to go next, I can communicate those feelings to God in prayer and ask Him to help me remove my fear from mind and heart.
What surprises me about prayer is that even without receiving an immediate answer, prayer encourages me and uplifts me.
- Prayer is an active reminder that:
- God is with me
- God is watching over me
- God cares for me
- God has a sovereign plan
- God’s strength and Spirit is with me
- God is trustworthy and faithful
When I pray, I actively think about the God to whom I’m praying. In pondering his character, my mind is calmed and peace fills my heart. I realized that I got caught up in the world’s standards and frustrated by things that are out of my control. But God…He is in control.
Related: God Comforts Us in the Chaos
How do I pray for fear and anxiety?
For how to pray about fear and anxiety, I recommend starting with scripture. Find a Bible story or a Bible verse about fear that stands out to you. Psalm 34 and Psalm 91 are good places to start. In your prayer, read each verse out to the Lord and then pray about that verse. Keep following that pattern until you run out of verses.
When you pray about fear and anxiety, consider praying about God’s strength and peace. Instead of asking for your circumstances to change, ask him to grant you strength, courage, and peace. Read over the verses where God promises us these things in scripture and pray them back to God.
“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”John 16:33 (ESV)
You can also find a published prayer or printable about fear and anxiety. Sometimes when we are overwhelmed with fear, it can be hard to find the right words to pray. I’ve included a printable (How to Remove Fear from Mind and Heart PDF + Prayer) at the end of this post with a prayer to recite when you are dealing with fear.
Lastly, praise God! Fear can sometimes take over when we have our focus on the wrong things. Instead of worrying about work, finances, relationships, and all of the things that we can’t control, concentrate on God instead. Think about how He has shown His love to you and all that He is doing in your life. Praise Him for his character and steadfast love.
4. Overcoming Fear in Life by Living by Faith
When I break down my fears, I find that they are caused by one of three things: the unknown, uncertainty, or a disconnect between what God has told me and what the world’s wisdom says. This fourth strategy for how to remove fear from the mind and heart deals specifically with the last cause.
The world’s wisdom is enticing. It’s popular, it’s accepted, and a lot of people follow it. But God doesn’t follow the world’s wisdom.
He asks us to walk out on faith and go against the conventional wisdom to follow Him. Hebrews 11:1 says that “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” (ESV).
My Story: Step Four to Overcoming Fear
Once I prayed about being a writer to God, He spoke to me. God told me to sign up for a writer’s conference for Christian writers of fantasy and science fiction. It was a huge investment, expensive, and I’d have to take time off of work. It was days away, I had not prepared any of the materials that I would need, and I had a full load at work.
I went with the conventional wisdom. I listened to the world and didn’t sign up for the conference.
But God spoke to me again. He showed me in a dream that I was being held back by fear and not living in the victory of Christ. He would take care of the details, I only needed to obey and walk by faith.
How do Christians overcome fear and anxiety?
Like with my story, Christians overcome fear and anxiety by choosing to walk by faith. Walking by faith is trusting what we can’t see, which is that God will work things out according to his plan, purpose, and promises. It’s deciding to trust God instead of the world’s wisdom. It’s letting God take control instead of forcing our own plans.
To remove fear from the mind and heart, we must cling to God’s promises, remembering that He is faithful even when we are not.
Bible Characters who Overcome Fear
As the first few Bible verses in Hebrews 11 state, faith is extremely important to the Christian faith.
In the rest of the chapter, the author of Hebrews outlines the walk of faith for many Bible characters who overcame fear. The stories in the Bible about fear that I mentioned above are only the start of the story.
- Abraham Overcame Fear: He left his homeland to live in the promised land. He offered Isaac up as a sacrifice.
- Sarah Overcame Fear: She gave birth to Isaac in her old age.
- Joseph Overcame Fear: He was sold into salvery by his brothers, and later rose up to become one of the most powerful leaders in Egypt.
- Moses Overcame Fear: He chose to be mistreated with God’s people instead of receiving the Pharaoh’s blessings.
- The Israelites Overcame Fear: They crossed the Red Sea to leave Egypt.
- Joshua Overcame Fear: The walls of Jericho came tumbling down after they marched around it for seven days.
- Rahab Overcame Fear: She welcomed the spies, and thus did not perish with the city.
The rest of Hebrews 11 has a list of other Bible characters that overcame fear and chose to walk by faith.
Faith is how we can remove fear from our minds and hearts.
5. Letting it Go: How to Push Through Fear
My last strategy for overcoming fear is learning how to push through fear. We have to make the conscious decision to let go of fear and no longer let it control us.
Take the fear and measure it up against God’s goodness, greatness, and abounding love.
God knows when we are fearful or scared. He still asks us to walk by faith. He still speaks to us. He still uses us for His purposes and glory. God does all of this despite our fear. So even if our fear is there, we can still move. We can still obey God.
My Story: Step Five to Overcoming Fear
My story ends here where, even though I was still plagued by fear, I signed up for the writer’s conference. I trusted the Lord with my finances, my time, my work, and my novels, and I went to the conference even though conventional wisdom told me not to.
I realized that no matter what happened at the writers conference that weekend, God is good. By letting go of fear, I was able to remove fear from my mind and heart and obey God’s calling on my life.
Overcoming the Spirit of Fear
So the day that I’m a published author hasn’t come yet. While my fear still resurfaces from time to time, I hold tightly to God’s promises, remember his faithfulness and character, and persevere and endure as I wait. I wait for the words He has given me as a writer to reach the world.
That may look different than how I imagined it. It may take longer than I want it. Or it may happen very differently than I thought.
But this I know, He is faithful to His promises. He is greater than any fear and He will accomplish His sovereign will in me and through me.
How to Remove Fear from Mind and Heart PDF + Prayer
As you’re working through your own journey of removing fear from the mind and heart, download this PDF which has a short prayer for battling fear. I hope that it helps you let go of fear and draws you closer to God.
Here are other books, gifts, and items to use as reminders to help you overcome fear.
You may also want to check out my Freebies Library with Bible Verse Screensavers and Inspirational Quotes to help you in overcoming fear.
Throughout your journey, may God give you the courage to move when the time is right.
How do you remove fear from the mind and heart?
Leave me a comment below!
While You’re Here…More posts about Growing in Faith:
- 5 Keys to Accepting God’s Love
- 30+ Beautiful and Inspiring Verses about God’s Love
- 3 Important Lessons about the Power of Prayer
- Our Compassionate God & Running the Race with Perseverance
- God’s Will is Sovereign
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