11 Jan Facing your Giants
Have you encountered a giant in your life? Have you felt like the little boy David facing the giant Goliath? An overpowering and overwhelming giant? A giant . . . you might wonder! In this day and age? Yes, a giant which makes you feel small and fearful, intimidating you. I am not referring to a colossal 9-foot-tall creature with more than 10 fingers and toes. I am referring to problematic incidents, situations, or people we face in our everyday life. The final exams or interviews which you dread, or fear of running out of money, the bully in college who constantly humiliates you, or the fear of losing a loved one. Fear is a common emotion most of us go through. It could be something in the past, or something we face in the present or maybe about the future. The fear of failure, of embarrassment, of disappointment, of making the wrong decision, of commitment, and of being exposed. The list goes on . . .
Fear is the emotional response to real or perceived danger or imminent threat. The feeling that something is going to get us, and that we can’t do anything to stop it. When we are overwhelmed by fear we are paralyzed. It affects our ability to think and reason. It makes us anxious, leading to palpitations, sweating and physical discomfort. Fear can also lead to negative thinking, hopelessness, loneliness, insomnia, excessive eating or excessive sleep. Some may even engage in maladaptive behaviours such as smoking, drinking or using drugs.
Is fear bad? Fear in itself is not bad. It is actually a basic survival instinct which urges us to protect ourselves from a threat or predator. The problem arises when we let fear take control of us. When we allow room for fear, it takes control and dictates what we do. We all vary in what we fear and what causes us to fear. It could spring from our past childhood incidents, trauma,a stressful life event or what we have inherited. Our personalities also play a role. Some of us have a strong need to be in control, to be perfect, and to please. Some are resistant to change or overthink with ‘what if’ questions. All these can give rise to fear. We are, however, not a product of the past. Where we come from does not determine where we are going or how God is going to use us.
How can we overcome fear and face the giants in our lives? The familiar story in the Bible of the 12 spies sent to spy out the land of Canaan teaches us few lessons. The report of the ten spies created fear in people. However, Joshua and Caleb gave a positive report of Canaan.
We must recognize them as they are and accept them without denying them. When we identify the fear and its root cause,
it helps us deal with it better. Name it to tame it!
There are some psychological principles and Biblical truths that we can learn from this story. Six R’s for you to apply in your situation:
Recognise and accept your situation: The spies saw giants. People, reportedly, were big and threatening. It was a fact. Some of the challenges and issues we face are real.
Reject negative thoughts: When we focus more on the problem we tend to exaggerate and sometimes think of the worst that can happen. They say, 90% of what we fear may not happen. The ten spies reported that the giants were so huge and that they would devour them. They were so scared that they forgot the Lord who was powerful and would not allow that to happen. They focused on the negatives and were overcome by fear.
Redefine your resources: Don’t just focus only on the negatives but instead relook at your situation with the positives (resources available). The Israelites had experienced the hand of our powerful God, they had heard of the miracles God had done for their forefathers, and they had each other in the community but they forgot it all. What are some of the resources that God has blessed you with? Perhaps a supportive family, maybe mentors who guide you, a fellowship which prays for you and friends who cheer you. You are not alone. Tap on the resources, seek counsel and Godly advice to face the situation with boldness and courage.
Replace Fear with Faith: Faith and Fear are opposite poles. They cannot operate together. Both fear and faith believe in the unseen. Only fear sees things negatively whereas faith is the positive factor. It is vital to replace our fear statements with faith statements. Joshua and Caleb were confident that God was with them and would help them. Fear exists when we have no control over our lives or what is going to happen in future but the realization that God is in control will reinstate faith.
Refocus and set goals: Joshua and Caleb were determined and ready to possess the land. They were working towards it. It is imperative to start moving towards the goal and not let fear make us procrastinate. An idle mind is the devil’s workshop. Set your mind on what can be done and move on with it.
Rely on God: Most importantly, rely on God through prayer and meditation of His Word. 2 Timothy 1: 7 says “For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline” (NLT). Once you identify your fear/ giant, place it in God’s all – powerful hands. 365 Bible verses remind us not to fear, one for each day! As we hold fast to His unfailing promises and unchanging truth, let’s face our giants with boldness and courage. We can overcome them with His strength and power.
Susanna Deepthi is a counselling psychologist who works in the area of mental health among young adults. She was a student leader of EU during her college days. She is married to Samuel Simeon, and they reside in Chennai.