The Fear Monster

“Fear – noun; a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain, etc., whether the threat is real or imagined; the feeling or condition of being afraid.” (dictionary.com)

We have all had the dream, that someone or something is chasing you and no matter how hard you try to run, your body is heavy and feels as if you are running through a pool of molasses.  When you manage to wake yourself up, your heart is racing, your breath has become quick and shallow, you may be sweating, and adrenaline is pumping through your body. Whatever had been chasing you in your dream was not real, but your physical symptoms sure are. Fear exists whether the treat is real or imagined.  How much of the fear that we experience is imagined? “I’m afraid, I may fall.” “I’m afraid to fly because, the plane might crash.” “I’m afraid of dogs because, I may get bit.” Do bad things happen? Of Course, sometimes bad things do happen, but most of the time the things that we fear never happen.

Psychology Today, claims “91 percent of worries were false alarms. And of the remaining 9 percent of worries that did come true, the outcome was better than expected about a third of the time.” Another article in Psychology Today says, “fear that the plane might fall is transformed by psychic equivalence into terror that the plane is actually falling out of the sky.”

Anxiety, worry and fear are similar monsters that cause, very real, physical symptoms. But just like anxiety and worry, (check out my blog on beating anxiety here; https://maliapoggio.com/2020/07/18/how-to-beat-anxiety/) we have a way to combat fear as well. “I sought the Lord, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.” (Psalms 34:4) Prayer. Prayer is a powerful tool. We must seek the Lord because, He is much larger than any of our fears, real or imagined. God tells us, “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God.” (Isaiah 41:10) God does not want us to fear, “God has NOT given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and self-control.” (2 Timothy 1:7)

When my son was about 4/5 years old (not long ago) he went through an awful time with nightmares. It seemed like he had nightmares almost every night for an entire year. If you have had a child that suffers from nightmares, you know how exhausting it can be for the whole family. Each night my response would be the same, “it is not real, it is only a dream. Enter monster de jour here cannot hurt you. Let’s pray about it.” We would pray for God to remove his fears, comfort him and banish all evil from his mind and presence, in the name of Jesus. It took time and repetition. Every night, we would pray the same prayer. Every night, I would tell him, that it was only a dream. And then, one day, I overheard him in the middle of the night, from his bedroom saying, “in the name of Jesus Christ, GET OUT!!!!!” He was so firm and sure of himself. And also, sure that God was with him. He stood up to his monsters and decided, you will not affect me any longer.  Everything changed after that night.  He still has nightmares, but they do not affect him like they used to. He learned that God is bigger than the “Boogie Man”.  

Fear does not always appear in our dreams, it can grip us when we are awake as well. The next time the fear monster is chasing you. Stop running and face it. “If God is for us, who can be against us.” (Romans 8:31b)

Here are the links to the full articles quoted from Psychology Today;

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/think-act-be/201907/how-often-do-your-worries-actually-come-true

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/conquer-fear-flying/201512/fear-can-make-you-believe-the-worst-will-happen-how

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