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As women, being emotionally strong is something I would say most of us desire. We would love to be able to handle the pressures of balancing work, family, relationships and responsibilities better. According to Psychology Today, emotional strength “involves a person’s ability to deal with challenges and bounce back from them.” It doesn’t mean that you never feel anything, but rather that you are resilient and able to bounce back from anything that comes your way.

Something we don’t always realize is the impact fear can have on our ability to be emotionally strong. Personally, I’ve been learning how much the emotion of fear can control me and become what drives my decisions and consume my thoughts and emotions. I grew up in a home that was very motivated by fear – we were always prepared for the worse case scenario just in case sudden disaster hit – so my instinct when facing challenges in life is to become fearful. I can get overwhelmed just thinking about my fears, and I haven’t even done anything yet! We can often be unaware or in denial of our fear and the way it is affecting our lives presently. To become emotionally strong, we need to be willing to admit and deal with the fears that plague us on the inside.

What I see in the Bible is that fear can paralyze us, cause us to panic, and make us stop obeying God. Getting to know who God really is and focusing on being close to him can help us overcome fear and become emotionally strong.

Fear Paralyzes

Rahab: I know the Eternal has given your people this land. Your coming has paralyzed us all with fear.

Joshua 2:9 Voice

Our fear, can make us paralyzed – unable to move, think clearly, focus on God, or make decisions. Maybe you desire to make changes in your life, like taking a leap of faith in your dating, your career, or your family. What stops you? Fear often becomes the nagging voice that keeps us from doing any of it. Have you heard that nagging voice lately?

Fear says things like:

  • That will never work
  • You’ll be so embarrassed if you try and fail
  • What if you fail like the last time you tried?
  • What will people say if you try and can’t do it?

What are some of the things you are afraid of? Have these fears been paralyzing you? How?

Decide to talk to a spiritual about the fears that paralyze you so you can get clarity and help on how to overcome them.

Fear Causes Panic

[5] “This is what the LORD says: “We hear cries of fear, cries of panic, not cries of peace.

Jeremiah 30:5 GW

Sometimes we respond to fear with panic. Instead of being paralyzed and unable to move forward, we are moving at hyperspeed because we are filled with anxiety. We try really hard to fix, control, and micromanage because we are afraid of something bad happening. We think if we try hard enough, maybe we can change the situation and avoid whatever outcome we fear most.

The challenge here is that there are a lot of situations in life that we just can’t fully control. As hard as you try, you won’t be able to control what people think of you, or how your stocks perform, or if your landlord decides to raise your rent, or a health challenge that unexpectedly affects you or your family, among many other circumstances that are far beyond human control. So if you are always trying to control these things you will be left in a perpetual state of anxiety, never really finding that peace you desire because your fear is still there.

For those of us who panic, slowing down is actually good because it can help you to think clearly, be honest with yourself and others, and let the Bible and prayer calm your emotions and guide you in the right direction. Do you fight to believe the Bible instead of your fears? You can’t fight fear by telling yourself just not to be fearful, you have to instead believe that God cares about you and will work through everything that happens for your good (Romans 8:28).

This week, when you are starting to notice yourself panicking, pick a scripture to read to slow your mind down and trust that God will take care of the things you can’t control.

Fear Stops You From Obeying God

Jesus: O you of little faith. Why did you doubt and dance back and forth between following Me and heeding fear?

Matthew 14:31 The Voice

The Bible says that fear makes us waver. That means that fear makes us have weak convictions. When we’re fearful we will “dance back and forth” between following God and something else. Fear keeps us from obeying God and the Bible. When we are controlled by our fear, our emotions end up leading us more than the scriptures and what would be pleasing to God. As a result, we’ll compromise what God wants for something that makes us feel better or that we think will ease our fear.

How has your emotion of fear kept you from obeying the Bible in your marriage? With your family? With your friends? Fear can make us decide not to be open and honest about our lives. It can also stop us from taking action to help someone else.

One practical that helps me with not letting my emotions of fear control me is finding specific scriptures that help me with specific fears and praying through the scriptures and memorizing them so they can be on my mind and heart more than my fears throughout the day.

Knowing God Brings Freedom from Fear

You haven’t received the spirit of slaves that leads you into fear again. Instead, you have received the spirit of God’s adopted children by which we call out, “Abba! Father!”

Romans 8:15 GW

Our fears can grow when we believe that it’s totally up to us to take care of ourselves or the people and things we care about. Fear keeps us from having faith, taking risks, and dreaming big.

This scripture says that God doesn’t want us to be controlled by our fears! What helps me with this is growing in my trust that God will take care of me and cares about every detail of my life and those around me. The more I get to know God, his character, his love and his intentions through the scriptures and the more I believe God’s promises through scriptures, I will be willing to let the Bible guide and lead me over my fears.

What scriptures can you hold onto and pray through to help you believe God’s promises more than your fears? Freedom from fear will help us become emotionally strong women who can face life’s challenges with resolute faith and determination.

Written by

Rosalind Nitta

Rosalind graduated from Stanford University and has more than two decades of experience in women's ministry and public speaking.