Fight Not Flight: 4 Ways to Face Danger without Fear

Jerusha Agen Uncategorized 8 Comments

Car side mirrorTension radiated up my arms to the rest of my body. Eyes locked on the road in front of me and grip tight on the steering wheel, I tried to remember to breathe, hoping to relax my wound muscles. The drive to the writer’s conference with two friends was supposed to take eleven hours. Instead, it was going to take thirteen.

The time itself wouldn’t have been bad. The reasons for the delays were what had tied my stomach into knots. Heavy rain, construction, a wrong turn in Chicago, traffic jams, losing control in standing water on the road, and a near-miss with a tornado accounted for the extended trip time, as well as my heightened stress level.

When we finally arrived at our destination, I was exhausted to say the least. But I was also inspired to face the conference with full confidence and courage. If God could get me through a flood and a tornado (okay, a bit of an exaggeration, but closer to the truth than I’d like), He could easily bring me triumphantly through pitches and networking.

This extra courage for the conference as a result of our harrowing journey was nice, but finding bravery because I was reminded I have greater fears isn’t so positive. Our Lord tells us “do not be anxious about anything” (Phil. 4:6a) and “fear not” (Isaiah 41:10a). He doesn’t tell us to be brave by remembering that worse things could happen.

If we’re going to win the battle against all the fears that plague our daily lives, we have to learn how to fight the fear when we’re in those frightening moments. I didn’t do so well fighting the fear on my recent road trip. Sure, I didn’t have a breakdown and probably even looked calm on the outside. But I held onto fear the whole time I felt in danger, internalizing it so much that I felt its effects long after the drive was over.

In hindsight, I’ve realized there were several steps I could have, and should have, taken to fight the fear, rather than passively surviving until we were out of the situation.

I’d like to share with you four things I should have done that might help you more effectively face your dangers and worries without fear:

1. Pray

The rest the Philippians passage gives us the key to not being anxious: “but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Phi. 4:6b-7).

God’s peace is the only kind of peace that will enable you to be without fear even in the face of the worst danger. And we get that peace through praying about the things that are scaring us.

Road, dark, foggyOn my road trip with my friends, we prayed at the beginning of our trip for travel mercies and God’s blessings, but judging from my stress level, I definitely needed to pray more throughout the trip, truly giving my worries to Him until I felt His peace.

If you’re stressed or worried about something, take that fear to God and pray until you gain His peace. If you are diligent to pray, He WILL give you His peace. It’s a promise!

2. Fight

Psychologists say that humans have two responses to danger: fight or flight. My response in most circumstances, especially in physical danger, is to flee. In some situations, of course, flight is a smart choice and one that we should make to protect ourselves or others. But if you’re like me, you might choose flight over fight far too often.

Fear and danger are so unpleasant that I will do almost anything to avoid them. As a result, I run from and dodge things that God may want me to do for Him, despite the potential dangers. I keep my foot heavy on the accelerator during a frightening drive because I just want to get away from the danger as quickly as I can so I can stop feeling afraid.

But God never tells us to flee danger. Quite the opposite. He tells us to “stand firm” and equips us to do so if we will stop listening to our fear and listen to Christ instead.

Try standing firm instead of fleeing from the fear you’re facing…and watch the evil one run!

3. Let Go

I had a flare-up of tendonitis in my wrist for a week after the drive to the conference, thanks to the tension I harbored in my body the duration of the trip. What if I had tried letting go?

Okay, not of the steering wheel, but of the false belief that I was the one in control. That it was my responsibility to chauffer my friends safely to our destination.

Sure, I have a responsibility to be a wise and safe driver, but the results are the Lord’s. Ultimately, I couldn’t control any part of that trip, other than letting the fear win when I could have called on the Holy Spirit’s power to defeat it. The things that did go wrong and the many things that could have gone wrong (or right) were completely out of my control.

And I’m so thankful for that. I’m not all-knowing, all-powerful, perfectly good, and perfectly holy. But God is. Thank the Lord that He is the one in control.

Remind yourself of that truth and cling to it when you’re facing fear or danger. Then, let go and watch God work!

4. Have Faith

Mustard seed If anyone had asked me while I was driving if I trusted God to bring me safely through or that He had a good plan no matter what happened, I would have answered yes. But from the way I had to remind myself to breathe, I know I wasn’t really trusting Him. I had the mental knowledge that He is good, trustworthy, and in control, but I didn’t believe it in my heart. If I had, I wouldn’t have been hounded by fear for all those hours.

If you’re feeling fear, worry, or anxiety about anything today, you aren’t fully trusting Jesus either. Just like me on that road trip, you’re not using your most effective weapon in the battle against fear.

Jesus promised that if we have faith even as small as the tiny mustard seed, we can tell a mountain to move and it will move.

If I had that kind of faith, I need not have feared a puddle of water on the road or a tornado at my back.

Have faith in Jesus, and you’ll fear nothing.

Which of these thoughts resonated with you? What tips have helped you overcome fear in the face of danger? Please share in the comments below so we can learn from each other!

Comments 8

  1. Emily Conrad

    As one of the two in the car with you, I have to say, that was an unusually adventurous drive! I’m sorry it was such a stessor going into the conference, but at least you got a good post out of it! Prayer, especially praying aloud with loved ones, is a big help to me when I’m anxious or worried–sometimes hearing the way someone else prays about a situation improves my own perspective of it and to remember how much bigger God is than any problem.

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      Jerusha Agen

      We’ll do that next time, Emily! (Pray more together.) 🙂 Or maybe we won’t have such an “adventurous” time of it in the future. Thanks for being along for the crazy ride and trusting my driving!

  2. Beth Sanders

    Jerusha, thanks so much for this post! In fact, all your posts have been helpful and/or convicting to me in some way. 🙂 I often struggle with implementing prayer when I’m afraid or worried, and just letting go of them to God. It was a great reminder to put those things into practice! Thank you also for being willing to share from your own experience. I’m glad to know that God kept you and your friends safe!

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      Jerusha Agen

      Beth, I’m so thankful that God used this post to minister to you! I admit, being so transparent is new to me, but I hope sharing my struggles will help others in some way. I really need to improve in the area of prayer, as well, but if we bring our troubles to Christ, He will give us His peace. Hopefully, we can help each other remember that! 🙂

      1. Greg Holland

        Jerusha, sharing your troubles with others can certainly help them, but it can also help YOU to realize more about how they affect you, and how you should respond to them. Too often we don’t start to pray until we have run out of other options. But prayer is really where we should not only begin, but continually remain.

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          Jerusha Agen

          Amen, Greg! I admit a big reason I started this blog was selfish–to push myself to examine my own struggles with fear and do something about them. I’m hoping that God will use my battle against fear to encourage and challenge others as a bonus. 🙂 You’re so right that we need to pray unceasingly. Thanks for reading and commenting!

  3. Richard Spillman

    Experiencing fear is not the problem. The problem is the management of fear. And you’re right, the way we manage it most of the time is to run from it. But sometimes we should walk into it because there is something for us to learn about ourselves, about how the world works, about God. Your four tools are excellent for fear management. Correctly used they help us know when to leave or when to stay. The point is: fear can save our lives or it can stunt our growth. The trick is knowing the difference.

    Thanks for an interesting thought provoking blog.

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      Jerusha Agen

      Thanks for your comment, Richard! You bring up a great point of discussion, and I’m so glad that you liked the suggestions for beating fear. I have to disagree with you on your argument that fear is good, though, since the Bible is very clear that fear is never okay (except for the fear of God, which is a different kind of fear than what I’m talking about in this post). In fact, we are commanded repeatedly NOT to fear. Fear is part of our fallen nature as sinful people living in a fallen world. I’m planning to write a post on this very topic, since another friend also brought up this point, so thanks for adding to this discussion! I appreciate you giving me more food for thought. I hope you’ll visit again for more on this later!

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