Fear is self-absorption. Ouch! I’m sorry but also not sorry if that offended you. I figured this out a couple of months ago when the days leading to wedding day became fewer each day that went by. Marriage stirred many fears in me like it does in any major life change. Well, if I am honest, change in general stirs fear inside this heart of mine no matter if it’s a big change or not, but that’s besides the point.
I was fearful I would fail. I was fearful of the unknown and I was fearful that this could possibly be the biggest mistake I would ever make in my life. It had nothing to do with my soon to be husband. I was neither doubting or second guessing his character and the knowing our marriage was God-founded. Rather, it had to do with my fears of the unknown. Not knowing can do some real psyche damage to you. We can also fear the unknown because of past hurts resurfacing when said major life changes is approaching. Fears are real. Only they are real not in the physical rather they are real in the unseen areas called our thoughts. We cannot hold fear with our hands. If we could, I would say quite a number of you, like me, would trample on our fears and say “be gone with you.” Unfortunately, we do not have the luxury to trample on our fears in the physical, but what we do have is much greater. Before I get into that, let’s dive into why fear is a form of self-absorption.
What is self-absorption? Simply put, it is the preoccupation with one’s own emotions, interests, or situation. Have you met someone that’s self-absorbed? It’s all about them. Everything is about them. They like to be the center of attention. They thrive knowing all eyes are on them. The world could be falling apart around them, but their “problem” or “victory” is far more important and they are much happier making that known than taking concern for those around them.
That’s not always how self-absorption looks though. For some of us, self-absorption is silent. That’s how self-absorption tends to present itself in me. It’s quiet on the outside and rather loud internally. It’s being consumed by what’s going on in your personal life that all outside conversation and happenings presents itself as white noise. We say we are listening to those around us when in actuality we have been consumed by our own fears that we do not truly hear those around us or can engage in our surroundings. Life is meaningless because our life has been consumed by something “greater”, fear.
Let’s get this straight. Fear isn’t all bad. Fear is what saves many of us from making the wrong move. It helps us not get hurt and saves us from the headache of getting out of trouble. Fear is good in keeping us safe. On the other hand, fear is unhealthy and often times detrimental when it consumes us to the point where we are crippled internally. Common fear triggers that cripple us internally are often found to be future events, imagined events and the unknown. All three, if we are honest with ourselves, are intangible and essentially “made up.” Don’t get me wrong. I have my fair share of fears that feels very real. It can be hard to convince me otherwise, but when I am honest with myself I know that these fears are what I’ve convinced myself are real because I’ve allowed myself to become consumed by the “thought” that my fears are reality.
Why do we do that? Why do we give fear the power to control how we live? Why do we allow the unknown to cripple us? Yeah that’s right, we give it the power. We allow it to consume us. We tell fear they are in control. We say to it, they are the gods. Fear is one of those things that we’ve made ourselves to believe it’s impossible to let go of. We’ve convinced ourselves that they are more powerful than anything else. We’ve convinced ourselves of a lie. And we’ve actively been living in it.
Can I share something with you? One of the greatest disservice you can do to yourself is allow a lie to become your reality. Let that sink in for a moment. What lies have you been believing? What have you allowed to consume you and have become self-absorbed by that you cannot truly live and enjoy life? What lie have you believed that has held you back in life? I will admit, it’s hard to get out of the rut of uncertainty and the known. It’s hard to quit believing something we’ve convinced ourself is truth.
From a biblical perspective, Jesus says to cast all our cares (aka fears) to Him. In other words give it Him. He didn’t say this to mock you. Rather, He knew that some of us would greatly struggle with fears and we would need to hand these over in order to not allow them to become our gods. We know as Christ followers we should have no other gods or idols. Being self-absorbed by our fears we are unconsciously giving it (fear) the throne of kingship and god over our life. We’ve removed Jesus as our sole devotion to something that is unknown and ultimately a lie.
How do you cast your fears and hand them over to Jesus? Practically speaking, by first admitting we’ve allowed fear to become the god of our thoughts and living. And secondly, seeking God through prayer and devotion — daily praying for complete freedom. That you may only believe God’s truth and not the lies of fear.
I don’t want to dismiss that mental health is real and fear can distort our mental wellbeing. In that regard, there are practical steps you can take that can help you shift from fear to faith coupled with seeking Jesus. A big step is asking for help. I am a full believer in seeking godly counseling. Counseling has helped me walk through many seasons of change. You’re not crazy for seeking counseling. If you’re like me, who grew up where Christianity said counseling is for the mentally crazy, please forgive the church and their false teaching. Proverbs 11: 14 states,
Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety.
Side note:There are a plethora of biblical references that support counseling. When you have some time, I challenge you to do some digging for yourself.
We need counseling. Each of us do. Whether you know it or not, you currently have someone counseling you. Sadly today, our advice and counseling have been from scrolling through our phones and staring at a television screen. Counseling is important. Who’s counseling is even more important. By seeking counseling doesn’t translate to you being demon possessed or evil. Counseling means you are human. And in our humanity, we need godly counsel.
If you’ve allowed yourself to become self-absorbed by fear, I challenge you to seek Jesus and seek counseling. There’s freedom and liberation in living fearless. You choose to give power to fear or trampling over it and saying to fear, no more. I am rooting for you friend. You can do it. All it takes is you making the first step. Living outside of the lie is difficult, but every step you take becomes increasingly easier as you actively choose truth. Don’t believe me? Try for yourself.
What fear have you believed to be truth? How has this held you back? What are you going to give Jesus today and exchange for freedom?
1 Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.[a]
2 I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.”
3 Surely he will save you
from the fowler’s snare
and from the deadly pestilence.
4 He will cover you with his feathers,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
5 You will not fear the terror of night,
nor the arrow that flies by day,
6 nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
nor the plague that destroys at midday.
7 A thousand may fall at your side,
ten thousand at your right hand,
but it will not come near you.
8 You will only observe with your eyes
and see the punishment of the wicked.
9 If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,”
and you make the Most High your dwelling,
10 no harm will overtake you,
no disaster will come near your tent.
11 For he will command his angels concerning you
to guard you in all your ways;
12 they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
13 You will tread on the lion and the cobra;
you will trample the great lion and the serpent.
14 “Because he[b] loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him;
I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
15 He will call on me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble,
I will deliver him and honor him.
16 With long life I will satisfy him
and show him my salvation.”