This post has been on my heart for a long time.
Let me tell you, 2016 was a year where I allowed fear to take up a lot of space in my brain. And I'm not proud of it. But I wanted this blog to be a safe space, where I not only talk to you about my fave fashion bargains or my fave brunches, but where I can connect with you as a girl who goes through challenges in life. None of us are exempt from trials, as Jesus said, "In this world you will have trouble. But, take heart! I have overcome the world."
At Hillsong, we always pray for one thing we're really believing in for the year. One thing we really want to see God do in our lives. And my prayer last year was to overcome fear. I had allowed so much fear and worry to shape my thinking to a point where it felt like poison. It was unhealthy! I did everything with a side of fear.
For the longest time, I wanted to do a video about how to stop worrying and overcome fear (which you can find here). But how could I give steps to overcome fear if I hadn't really mastered it myself?
Now, before I begin, let me just tell you that it's not as if I started doing something and I now no longer magically have any fear. No. Definitely not. The title isn't "how to get rid of fear" but rather how to OVERCOME fear.
You see, there’s been a confidence committee in my brain - and they don’t make me feel very confident sometimes! Sometimes they’re like, Nat, who said you were good enough? Or, what if this happens what if that happens? What if THAT happens?
I don’t know, but I think most of us have the confidence committee yapping in our brains.
So, I have come up with awesome tips and scientific research about how you can stop worrying and overcome fear. Okay, maybe I didn’t actually come up with any of these, but Dr Caroline Leaf did. But I’m just passing on the wisdom.
So research shows, that we are designed to control our reactions. We cannot control the events and circumstances in our life, but we can control our reactions to these events and circumstances. The more we focus on something, the more it’ll control things. Like, the more I fear something, the more control it has over me.
So, let’s get scientific.
What you see and what you hear that captures them as thoughts, turn into something inside your brain. Thoughts are actually a real physical substance. Inside your brain, thoughts are formed by dendrites.
Dendrites are kinda like this little tree thing. Your thoughts can also strengthen these trees and make them grow. So what are these trees anyway? Dendrites are chromosomes that have a DNA code, and when you think, you activate this DNA code in the chromosomes, which group together to make these thoughts.
You’re the designer of the tree. Your thoughts control your body, the thoughts you are thinking right at this moment are affecting all 75 to 100 trillion cells in your body. Your thoughts kinda like occupy mental real estate.
What you say and what you do are based on what you first built into your brain and mind. Those trees that you have built can either be for healing or for destruction.
So, if these thoughts are trees that you build, you can either build good or bad thoughts. The Bible says in Romans 12, that we need to renew our minds. We need to bring all thoughts into captivity to Christ. In Philippians 4, it says to think about whatever is true, whatever is lovely, whatever is just and honourable, these are things that we need to think.
And I used to think: how do I renew my mind?
So research shows, that 75-98% of current mental, physical, and emotional illnesses trace back to our thought processes. (This is true because Nathan is never ill!!! Last year I got sick so many times and he didn't get sick! Even when I had the virus that everyone was passing around, he remained positive and he - sleeping in the same bed next to me - was completely fine!!)
Illnesses trace back to our thought processes.
When we choose to think about good things, or when we choose to worry or be afraid, it IS a choice. EVEN though fear doesn’t feel like it’s a choice, it is. We can decide to focus on the fear, to focus on what can go wrong, and we can grow that tree of fear. We can grow it and it can have a ridiculous amount of power over us, and it can control us.
Or, this is probably the harder one, but we can choose to not think about the fear. The fear might still be there, but we can CHOOSE to not give it that power. We can choose to think about good and positive outcomes (like if you're going for that job! you can totally get it because you can do it! And if you don't, there will be a better one out there). We can choose to believe and think that even though bad things might happen, we’ll still be okay. We can choose to give only positivity power. THIS is how you conquer your fears, you don’t give them power. It doesn’t stop bad things from happening to you, but it definitely stops your bad reactions towards those things. You can control your reactions and your fears, even though it’s super hard sometimes. Try it, every time you feel afraid, replace it with a good thought. Replace it with something that you’re thankful for. Generally I find, that if I’m afraid of something, if I give thankfulness the power, I feel so much better.
Let’s make good trees, even when it’s hard.
Love you all,
John 16:33, "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."