28th June 2023

Betsy de Cruz explains


How to Grow Your Faith
  and Overcome Fear

Recently I woke up in the wee hours of the morning
thinking fearful thoughts.

The night before, our family had watched a classic
spy thriller. We had fun watching, but guess what I was thinking
about when I woke up at 3:00 a.m.?
I was counting how many people met an untimely end in the movie.
(Just what you want to be thinking about in the middle of the night.)

Somehow scenes that appeared fairly harmless while watching with
my family grew more disturbing at 3:00 am.
As the movie replayed in my mind, a vague uneasiness settled over me.

I pulled out my Bible, and the Holy Spirit brought the Word to life
as I read. Soon God's greatness and love grew bigger in my mind
than my restless anxiety.
Peace returned. I lay back down and went to sleep.

Satan will pull on our fear strings any chance He gets.

The news we see every day on television is more chilling than my
1973 suspense flick: shootings, natural disasters, political turmoil,
and terrorism.

Dwelling on horrific news makes God's love and power start to look
smaller in our minds. We get the unsettling feeling that the world's
not as safe as we thought.

You and I both know worry and doubt can strike us at home, too.
Even more powerful than the fear that arises from what we watch on
our television and computer screens, worry over our personal lives
and families can eat away our peace.

Yet we can overcome fear as we turn our eyes to God who is our
loving guardian and hiding place.

Whatever we focus on grows bigger in our minds.
What's your greatest fear?
Illness? A car accident? Losing your job?
Are you scared your kids will get in with the wrong crowd?
Maybe the neighbours or people at the gym don't really like you?

Most of us have plenty to worry about, and the more we dwell on our
worries, the bigger they grow.
How can we overcome fear?
God's Word offers wisdom.

As I read Isaiah 26:3-4, three steps to overcome fear with faith
come to mind:

Stand on guard and recognize Satan's attack on your mind through fear.
Fear makes us forget God.
Doesn't that sound like what Satan wants?
We forget God's care for us.

We focus on negative circumstances and expect bad outcomes.
Our best bet is to stand guard and stop our thoughts when they
start down the fear track.

When fear creeps into our thoughts, we need to change our focus.
Our verse tells us to stay our minds on God.
How do we do that when fear knocks at the door?

The only way I know is to start declaring God's Word.
Call to mind scripture verses that emphasize God's nature.
Copy them down, put them on sticky notes, put them on your phone,
read them out loud, and memorise them.

Do whatever it takes to put God at the forefront of your thoughts.
Our Everlasting Rock is faithful and true, so let's affirm our
trust in Him.
Declare His sovereign power over each situation you're worried about.

If you're scared your project or presentation at work will fail,
start praying for God's help. Each time that fear comes to mind, pray.
Affirm and declare that you trust He will help you.

Fear makes us forget God and His care for us.
Faith focuses on His love and power.
We can fight fear with faith when we shift our focus towards God.

When we keep our thoughts fixed on God,
he keeps our hearts at rest in Him.

Now it's your turn: What fears are you facing?
Does the news ever scare you?
How do you choose faith?

Betsy de Cruz
I've been battling distraction in my relationship with God for over 20 years
while serving in women's ministry, church planting, and child raising.
After serving in the Middle East for 16 years, my husband Jose and I
moved back to Texas in 2018.
With two young adult children, we're new empty nesters, and I don't know
whether to laugh or cry about it!
In addition to writing, I work to help and empower refugee women and
children through my local church in Dallas.