Fearless Living: Help for Feeling Anxious and Fearful

Step back and take a look at your life. More importantly, how you think about your life. In this case, life means your daily activities and responsibilities and relationships. Do you approach each day with anticipation, looking forward to the good things that will happen? Or do you begin the day–mentally–dreading what’s ahead, creating anxiety?

One year my “Word of the Year” was Fearless. At first I didn’t like that word because it reminded me of a pushy salesman, who barges in and talks loud. I don’t know where my association with that word came from, but there it was. Continuing to search for my One Word and trying to get away from the word Fearless, it was no use. That was the one.

Before long, I realized that an effect of fear is anxiety. Next revelation: I was living much of my life in fear. Oh, I didn’t call it that. “Stress” is a popular word, and we use it in a way that implies that it happens TO us, and we’re helpless victims. Utter the words “I’m so stressed out” and people will nod in an understanding way.

For many years, from the time I opened my eyes in the morning, I was dreading and fretting and worrying and assuming the worst about the day ahead. In fact, I was dreading the next two weeks and the events coming up in a few months. Every little responsibility and to-do was met with an automatic association of anxiety.

You may wonder if I was cowering in my bedroom, afraid to venture out into the world. Oh no, everything looked normal. I managed to get through most days without a breakdown. But after years of living like this, my body couldn’t take it anymore and I began to experience physical problems like autoimmune issues and adrenal fatigue.

At that point, my life changed as I sought answers for my health issues, and learned better ways to deal with stress and anxiety. Surprisingly, supplements to support gut health and blood sugar made a HUGE difference in my thoughts, believe it or not. I had no idea that there was such a strong connection between brain function, gut health and blood sugar. It was a relief to find that my battle with discouraging thoughts was deeply physical rather than spiritual, and what a surprise when much of the bombarding thoughts faded away.

But of course old habits die hard, especially habits of thought. The Bible instructs us to take every thought captive and to renew our minds and this is exactly what it takes to overcome living in fear. I remain vigilant about a clenched jaw and fists, hunched shoulders or a furrowed brow—physical evidence of thoughts gone astray.

It turns out that our physical nervous system must be calmed before trying to change our thoughts. So when physical evidence of fear and anxiety shows up, the first thing to do is something physical to “reassure” your nervous system and move it into a state of safety. Things like deep abdominal breaths, shaking your hands out and hugging yourself are simple ways to communicate safety to your nervous system. Once your nervous system perceives safety — through physical means, not words — then you can begin the mental work of changing thoughts.

It’s still a journey, but I’m grateful for growth. Living in constant anxiety about everyday tasks is a waste of good life. Troubles will still come, but God will give the grace and strength for them at that moment.

For God has not given you a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. ~ 2 Timothy 1:7


  1. I love this. My life from 2009 on taught me to be anxious…. My daughter was diagnosed with a brain tumor that year, then every year after that something horrible happened including becoming a single mom with financial pressure and on and on. I had chest pains even checking the mail. Anxiety becomes a trained response even when life calms down because you’re so used to responding this way, but it’s something you can untrain for sure. I’m still working on it. 😉 I have that verse on the bulletin board over my desk.

  2. Amen! That’s the verse I quote to myself most often 🙂

  3. Great post! It really spoke to me, thanks!

  4. Amen, amen, amen! Came to the same realization after reading the book A More Excellent Way to be in Health by Henry Wright. Began to realize even my prayers were ‘fear’ based. Never thought I was stressed or fearful. Thought I trusted God too much for that. But what a realization these last few months! And what a relief to say, “Lord, I’m sorry for all my worry!” Spiritually – a huge weight off and a blessing. Physically – a weight, literally off my chest and answers to multiple trips to the ER. You are spot on with your comments on how it can trigger autoimmune responses,etc. Stood on the same verse you mentioned, also Psalm 139:23,24. Thank you again for being a blessing, Charlotte!

  5. Thank you Charlotte! I like where you basically said stress is actually fear. I never looked at it that way, but it is so true! Good things to remember.

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