In my last post I talked about how fears can sometimes dominate our thinking, especially in financial matters.
So if you are feeling fear what do you do? Here are 8 specific steps to help control those fears and turn them into a positive.
Many times fear can be at its root a spiritual issue. Is your fear legitimate or is it motivated by a lack of trust in God? Ask God to give you wisdom and discernment. Do your fears reflect a real problem that you need to address? Or are you worrying about things that you need to place in His hands for care?
2. Understand your own personality.
If I know my natural tendency is to look at any situation and imagine the worst, then I can try to step back and look logically at my fear. Do I know I have a natural bent toward pessimism? Is there a real danger, or is this my imagination once again taking me to places that will likely never happen?
3. Write it down.
This is another area where a written budget can be really helpful. List your all debts on paper. I have heard many people say that they were really afraid of how bad their situation was until they actual wrote it down on paper. Once they could see exactly where they stood, it wasn’t nearly as scary. Knowledge is a key to eliminating fear.
4. Have a plan.
Fear that is good is fear that motivates us to change. Put together a plan to address your fear. Read some books. Gain knowledge. If you don’t like your job start the process of making the necessary changes. If you are deep in debt check out the Dave Ramsey Baby Steps. Get a starter emergency fund. Start a debt snowball. You might not be able to change your situation over night, but there is a peace that comes from having a goal and a written plan to achieve that goal.
5. Find someone to walk beside you.
Seek counsel. Find someone who has walked the same path and ask them to help you along the way. Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University is a great way to do this. You will learn sound financial principles and the group setting gives you built-in accountability partners. Find a financial coach in your area that can assist you. If you are struggling in these areas use the send me a note. I’d be happy to help you work through these things.
Proverbs 15:22 says: Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.
6. Start a journal
Start a journal recording the things that cause you fear. If you are a Christian keep a journal of your prayers. After you have done this for several months, start going back and re-reading your entries from a few weeks or a few months ago. What things were you worried about then? Did your fears come to pass, or did things turn out better than you expected? Often times the things we imagine are much worse than what actually happens in reality. The problem is we tend to have short memories. The benefit from having a written record is we can look back and see the answered prayers and the times where things worked out better than we thought. These will be the encouragement to help us face the fears of today.
7. Be careful where you get your news.
This is a simple one and may seem out-of-place, but be careful where you get your daily news. I believe we are to be informed citizens and to do that we need to know what is going on in our world. But… Be aware that bad news sells. Consider just as an example: if the market was down 300 points would that not likely be headline news? But when it bounces back 200 points the next day do you ever hear that? I don’t care what your news source is CNN, MSNBC, FOXNews, the major network news casts, your local paper, regardless, just be aware that bad news always trumps good news. If you feed your mind a constant diet of bad news, you will naturally tend toward a life of fear.
8. Not all fear is bad.
Sometimes fear is healthy. If your fear is something that leads you to action, then it can actually be a positive motivator. But only when it is the prod that moves you to the change that is needed.
All of us face fears in our lives. Sometimes those fears are justified. Sometimes fears can be magnified to the point of being paralyzing. Understanding our fears and properly handling them can radically change our lives.
What fears are you struggling with? Leave a comment and let us know how you deal with your fears.