The Secret to Overcoming Fear

When we moved to our farm six years ago, the only animals I had ever raised were dogs and a hamster.

We had first purchased property and put cattle on it.  Then we bought the land and house next door to live in.  So when we arrived we already had cows.

I was terrified of cows.  I had a seven year old and a two year old.  Cows were big.  And looked at you with a menacing gleam in their eyes like you were all kinds of delicious.  And did I mention.. they were big.

Then there were the horses.  They were big too.  And jumpy.  But we still agreed to take care of someone else's horses on our land.  Those large, jumpy, dangerous and wild animals right in my children's back yard!

The coyotes sounded scary howling away at night.  Would they attack my little girl if hungry enough?

And mice!  Maybe there were mice.  They carried disease, didn't they?  Farms always had mice!  A farmer's wife's job was to cut off their tales with a carving knife, right?


Fear has stalked me my whole life.  Fear can debilitate you completely, freeze you right where you are and give you no hope.

And when we moved here, I was afraid.

But I also knew it was where we were supposed to be, and I trusted God.

Shortly after we moved to the farm, I had to deal with a cattle situation when my husband was away. I was terrified and overwhelmed but (with God's help) I made it through just fine.  And over time my fear of cattle diminished.  Mostly because I learned about them, how they think, and what they need.

You see, I just didn't know cattle.

I didn't know horses, coyotes or mice either.  But I learned and discovered that they each in their own way are absolutely manageable. 

So many of the fears we have are fears of the unknown.

What is worry if not fear of what might happen?  Mothers especially seem prone to worry about the future, to dwell on the "what if's."

Years ago my husband taught me to ask myself the question "What is the worst thing that can happen?" Admittedly, there are some scenarios in which the answer is pretty devastating.  But so many of the little things we worry about are just not worth the emotional output.

And often, if that which we fear does come to pass, it is not nearly as bad as we anticipated.

I had the opportunity to put that principle to the test recently.  I am a transplanted Yankee, but have now been living in Texas for seventeen years.  When we arrived I was stunned and slightly terrified by the volume and variety of stinging and biting critters.

It didn't take long for me to get my first fire ant bite, which was followed by countless ant bites over the years.  Wasps, mosquitos, spiders, ugh.  And the other day I added to my list of "been-there-done-thats"... I was stung by a scorpion.

Photo by David Dallaqua

Looks menacing, doesn't it?  As it turns out, my scorpion sting wasn't any more painful than a wasp sting. And scorpions in most of the U.S. are not deadly.

So many of the fears we have are fears of the unknown.
You probably have fears that are far deeper and more life-altering than a fear of scorpions. Have you spent time sitting with the Lord and sharing them with Him? Have you asked yourself "What is the worst thing that can happen?" Have you educated yourself on that which frightens you?  Knowing that cattle are afraid of humans, and that our local scorpions are not deadly, went a long way toward helping me be emotionally realistic.

There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love. 
~ 1 John 4:18 ~

"Fear involves punishment." The enemy of our hearts wants us to be bound up by our fears. Jesus wants to break our chains!

It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.  
~ Galatians 5:1 ~

We really are offered freedom from fear in Christ.  It is a surprisingly challenging truth to accept. 

But when you trust God, when you truly believe He has your best interests at heart, you can receive the truth that while you may not know what is around the corner, He does.

'For I know the plans that I have for you,' declares the LORD, 'plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.' 
~ Jeremiah 29:11 ~

Today, if you are afraid, find a way to be alone with Jesus.

Sit at His feet and pour out your heart. Tell Him all your fears and ask Him to show you the truth... what is the worst thing that could happen, what knowledge are you lacking?

Then praise Him! Turn your eyes from yourself and your fears and praise the God who made you! Even if you can find nothing in your life right now that seems praiseworthy, praise Him for who He is.

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go."  
~ Joshua 1:9 ~

I pray that "...the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him" (Rom 5:13). And I would be privileged to pray for your specific situation as well.

May you receive His freedom today!


  1. Excellent, Patti! I've been sitting here worrying that my daughter won't pass one of her finals this week and then won't graduate on Monday. But she just advised me to stop worrying. :-)

    I'm really striving this year to lay my worries at Jesus' feet. And praise him for the way he's taking care of me!

  2. I agree with Lisa, this is excellent! Thanks for the reminder. Fear is something that sneaks up so often. I love all the verses you incorporated into this.

  3. Lisa, it is sometimes hard to remember that He even has our children's best interests at heart, isn't it? We know it, yet emotionally, we are so attached to their well-being we hold tightly to the outcome.

  4. This is a great post. You're right; as mothers we tend to spend too much emotional energy worrying. I love the phrase "emotionally realistic". Realism is typically thought of as the realm of intellect, but we have the mind of Christ to inform our emotions. You are so right about learning about what frightens us. It really puts things into perspective, or as you eloquently say, "But so many of the little things we worry about are just not worth the emotional output."

  5. Excellent post. As a single mum I've had to overcome many fears so I can completely relate here. Thanks for a great post! Paula :)


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