Posts Tagged ‘what if’

 

PIC006

Up to this point we have seen that Paul, in our example of someone who had the fear of crossing bridges, did not know what was happening to him and his problems kept getting worse.

We looked at two things he had to understand in order to be an overcomer of these fears.

1.  His fear was real.

2.  His fear was wrong and sinful.

Now we are going to look at some other points:

3. His fear was not of bridges; it was a fear that had become associated with bridges.

It is very important to understand this. He needed to recognize that the bridges did not cause his fear.  There is no reason to be afraid of bridges.  Kim, the person in our example that is afraid of cars, needs to recognize that the cars themselves are not her problem.  The car does not cause the fear.

My first panic attack occurred at work.  It was the most horrible experience I had ever had up to that point in my life.  I was terrified and thought for sure I would die. I was convinced it was my heart. But I didn’t die.  I went to the doctor and he said I’d most likely been overdoing it and to take a couple of days off and rest.  He also gave me some tranquilizers if I remember correctly.  I followed his instructions.  But, at the end of those days off I had to go back and face the same place where I had that traumatic experience.  As I think back that was a VERY stressful period in my life and it is no wonder my body said, “enough.”  Physically, I was out of shape.  I didn’t eat right or exercise.  I drank and smoked, and partied all I could.  I was emotionally upset a lot with relationships and work stress.  And, I was spiritually bankrupt, as I didn’t know Christ as Lord and Savior.  It is no wonder I had that first frightful panic attack.

A little time passed and I had another attack at work.  I didn’t know what I was having were panic attacks, I simply called them “spells.” I don’t think the doctors even knew what they were back then. I was completely in the dark. I went into a downward spiral.  I truly became afraid of my office.  I didn’t want to go and as I got more tired and stressed out I began to miss days, I showed up late, and tried to find peace in more drink.  It didn’t work.  Soon, I had a panic attack in the grocery store.  Another place to fear.

Next, it happened in the bank as I waited in line.  Lines became an issue with me. My point is my world became smaller and smaller.  I quit my job.  I fell out of society and stayed at home all I could.  I got other people to do the necessary things for me and I hid out in my “safe place.”  I had Agoraphobia. It didn’t have a life anymore, I only existed! I felt hopeless.  

I get many emails from people just like I was.  They feel hopeless and helpless.  They don’t know where to turn. Perhaps you can identify with me too. The good news is that I did become an overcomer and I believe you all can if you just realize what is going on and learn how to deal with it. 

4. Paul’s real fear was of the experiences.  (The cause of fear)

The bridges were not the cause of Paul’s fear.  The car is not the cause of Kim’s fear.  And, all those places: the store, my office, the bank, the post office, and so many more were not the cause of my fear.  Once I found that out, it did help me.  I was experiencing fear of fear.  I was afraid of those awful feelings I had experienced in those places.  It took me a long time to see that, but when I did it was a real eye-opener.

Fear of fear is dreading to go somewhere or do something because some time before when we went to that particular type of place or did that particular thing we had a bad experience and were terrified with the emotions and symptoms that flooded us. That was fear and we wanted to escape.  Now we fear having that same fear again so we avoid those situations.  That is fear of fear.  We are not afraid of the place really, but of the feelings of fear we got there.   

So, bridges, cars, the workplace, grocery stores, banks, the post office, or doctor’s office, don’t produce these experiences. I hope you can see this.  It is so important. We know logically that cars and bridges don’t produce panic attacks.  We know that. We’ve all been over many bridges and we’ve all been in many cars.  They are not the culprits. 

Romans 8:15 (NIV) “For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship.  And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.”

We don’t have to live as a slave to fear.  We can change. 

5. The key to becoming an overcomer.

It is our own thoughts that produce panic attacks.  We have had panic attacks, we produce them ourselves by the bad thought habits we have picked up, and that means that we can stop producing them by a change in our thought habits.  Isn’t that wonderful?  There is hope after all.

Psalm 34:4 (KJV) “I sought the Lord, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears”

God wants to deliver us from all our fears.  Isn’t that wonderful?  That is His will for us.

6. There is not some mysterious thing going on.

It is really very simple.  Our thoughts effect how we feel.  We think ahead about going to the store, riding in a car, or crossing a bridge and because we associate our former bad feelings with these things we blame them and think it will happen again.  But, in reality we are anticipating anxiety.  We are looking for it. We set ourselves up for it.

We develop or produce it by worry.  Our minds center on what we think might happen.  We get vivid mental pictures of what might happen when we cross the bridge, drive the car, and shop in a store.  These pictures take on the “what if,” scenarios. We worry about “what if,” I get shaky, “what if” I pass out, “what if” my heart beats too fast, and everything else we can imagine.  When we do this our bodies react as though these things were happening right then and releases adrenaline, which in turn brings about the symptoms we are so afraid of. Sometimes we say, “it just came over me, out of the blue.”  But, it didn’t just come over us out of the blue because we allowed our thoughts to get control and take advantage of us.  The answer is to work on the way we think. 

II Corinthians 10:5 (NIV) “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” 

It is possible for us to be in control of our thoughts.  If it weren’t God would not have said so. 

Dear God, I lift up those who are reading this now.  Lord help them to see that there is a way out of the bondage of fear.  Help them realize that you are the answer.  Lord, please set them free.  Your Word says you came to set the captive free, and I pray that for any here who are slaves to fear.  In Jesus’ name I pray. Thy will be done.  Amen.

Next time we will dig a bit further into this subject.  Stay tuned! 

Check out my blog at www.hatchcreek.wordpress.com

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