I’m so happy to have 2020 behind me. Is it the same for you? My own midlife fear erupted last year as my baby left for college. Before that my hormones went berserk. Oh, and simmering in the background was this totally new worry called Covid-19.
We spent 6 months fearful of CoviD. Then I got CoviD, and I spent a couple weeks and then months fearful of every twinge and cough erupting from my person. And, I wasn’t just fearful for myself. I also worried about my family, and their livelihoods. Anything negative that happened in 2020 in our lives seemed to be magnified 10x their actual size.
Somewhere in there, I came across an article over the summer with this title:
We worship what we fear.
This simple idea stopped me in my tracks and led to literally weeks of pondering it.
Could this simple statement be true? In the midst of daily CoviD-19 news and statistics, I was drowning in negative thoughts and ‘what-ifs’. Was I really worshiping this thing that I feared?
This led me to a general word study of ‘worship’. When I think of the act of worship, I think of church – and music specifically. Worship is a time of proactively focusing our minds on God, and His many attributes. It’s a time to let go of ‘me’ and myself and think about Him.
Besides fear, are there other mindsets that you need to kick out of your head? Let me send you my printable Five Toxic Mindsets to Eliminate from Your Midlife. Just shoot me your email at the bottom of this post.
So what exactly happens when fear consumes us? Isn’t it the same act of focusing completely on a negative thought or idea and allowing it to overtake everything else? Hmmm. Sounds like worship.
These days it’s CoviD that seems to be our culprit. We’re focused on it, how it’s transmitted, its symptoms, and its casualties. (With the double whammy of menopause happening concurrently, you can also learn how to focus your midlife brain here.)
When I knew that I had contracted CoviD, the fear was the worst part. Was a hospital stay in my future? Or worse? Every ache, every cough, every breath I analyzed and catalogued. And CoviD is a circler. One day you think you’ve beat it and the next day you’re back in the bed. The fear alone was exhausting.
CoviD may not be your nemesis right now. It may be a fear of losing your job. Or a sudden cancer diagnosis. Now we have an unpredictable stock market with retirement savings to protect. The list changes daily in this uncertain world.
We all fear the unknown. We fear what we can’t control. And our fears change as our circumstances change.
Right now I’m in the midst of praying hard for my adult kids. I can’t control their decisions and it’s frankly terrifying. My aging dad tends to need me more these days, a thought no less terrifying.
Even in midlife, with our responsibilities lessening, fear still rears it’s ugly head.
Yet, in His Word, we’re told we need only ‘fear’ God.
Fear God. Only.
The Bible talks often of ‘fearing God’. I think the term means simply to allow thoughts of His grandeur and power to consume us. He wants us to draw near to him.
To fear Him means to understand our place in His universe. And to understand His power. He is God and we are not. God is the only entity we are to fear. The only one. Thoughts of Him are the only ones we are to allow to engulf us.
We are also told in His word to ‘fear not’, and ‘have courage’. I know. It’s easier said than done. God knows how fear debilitates us. He knows. He knows what it does to our brains and our general health. So He tells us over and over to stop it.
So how do we do that?
When we’re bombarded daily with things that the world tells us we ‘should’ fear, we can’t always just turn it off. Sometimes we need to hear the news in order to protect ourselves and family. How do we keep the anxious thoughts corralled and under control?
In midlife, anxious thoughts often sneak in and torpedo our brains for no reason whatsoever. During the menopausal years, fear and anxiety can be more a biological problem. These imbalanced hormones that menopause leaves behind can wreak havoc on our emotions, among other body parts. Ugh.
So what do we do?
Brace yourself! Here it is: Profound thought of the day incoming now!
To dispel fear that overwhelms, change what you’re focused on.
It’s that simple.
Change your focus.
Did you know that the human brain can only have one thought at a time? Just one. If I find myself drowning in fearful thoughts, I have to make the effort to change my thoughts. Read something else. Turn off the TV.
And most importantly, pull out my Bible.
God had to remind me with that simple article that I needed to put my irrational fear of my circumstances in its place. My ‘boogeyman’ called CoviD needed to be cut down to its actual size. Cue the VeggieTales jingle, “God is Bigger Than the Boogeyman”.
Today I’m giving you a few of my favorite verses that calm my mind when my fearful thought overtake me. They remind me who is in control.
I pull these verses out and think about them. I think about Him.
Is your anxiety pushing you to find some solace?
If so, here’s your challenge: Make your own cards with verses to keep with you as you journey through your day. The physical act of writing them out is itself cathartic.
Take a photo and add one as your cover photo on your phone.
Commit them to memory. Pick one every week or two. Then you can pull them out of your brain at the drop of a hat, and meditate on them. Think about them. Think about what they tell you about God.
Focus on Him.
This new year, 2021, I am striving to learn what these verses tell me about Him. The simple act of focusing my mind on Him and not myself calms, soothes, and provides perspective for my much smaller circumstances. I am reminding my worries (as well as my brain) who is the boss.
Won’t you join me?
If you’re interested, here are a few wonderful sites to visit:
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