The quote by W. Clement Stone went like this, “Thinking will not overcome fear, but action will!” What a unique insight!
As I reflected over this past week with each day bringing the news of more cases, more problems, more financial issues and more voices of fear, it became easy to think myself into the “fear virus,” which is negative thinking and negative belief. Then I realized just how easy it is to become fearful and then, like so many other people, allow fear to control me.
All my life I have heard that most things are caught rather than taught. The truth is that we catch all types of things, both good and bad. We catch how to treat people, we catch our perspectives on life, and we catch how we treat our own bodies and health. As well, we can catch illness, failure and even defeat, but here is what we cannot do. We cannot allow ourselves to be trapped only by our thinking.
Here’s the point. Catching something requires that we get close to it, that we place ourselves in proximity to it so that it can affect us. There is the uniqueness of Stone’s quote. Thinking about something will not get you there; it will only lead you to a false fear of what if.
It is true that this virus is caught by touch, and the consequences for some are not good. However, it is also true that our fear can create some negative consequences as well. Let me just mention the fear that is driving the buying-run on toilet paper. I have yet to figure out why any family would need three or more months of toilet paper stocked up, but this run continues with much dismay.
What I know is that fear is a bigger problem for most of us than perhaps the actual virus. I see it everywhere--fear buying, fear of people, fear of neighbors. The problem is that this leads to bigger fears, such as fear of people groups, fear of people who are different than us, and fear that God is not with us during this.
So, what is the answer?
I want to suggest six action steps you can undertake that will lead you out of fear and into courage.
1. Awareness is the first step to action. Understanding what you need to do during this time will give you clarity for your life. Fear happens when we don’t know what to do. So, I advise to start slow, discover what you need to do and then begin to take the steps that move you forward in a positive way.
2. Identify is the power that comes from knowing who you are and whose you--a great forward step in overcoming fear. Once you know who you are you begin to have a strength that overcomes obstacles. When you discover whose you are in Christ you have direction that cannot be destroyed.
3. Live in the power of NOW! Right now, is all you really have; what you do with it will determine your life and your future. This means don’t live in the what-if scenario, live with full faith in the God who created you and is able to deliver you during these days.
4. Gratitude. Finding the gem of hope amid so much doubt is the next step. How you look at things determines who you are and of course what you do. Finding something that you are thankful for today will move you forward to overcoming fear. Gratitude is a driving force of hope. Here is the key, when you have a grateful heart your life has room for hope.
5. Meditation. The practice of meditation or reflection will produce i positive emotions which will fuel your hope, while lack of reflection or meditation will drive your fear. Perspective is a great tool to realize what it is you have in your life that is worthwhile. It is only then that we realize we can act.
6. Breathe. My parents always told me to take a deep breath, count to 10 and then decide. I want to encourage you to do the same as it pertains to where we are with the Coronavirus. Thoughtful action is the best course. Reaction is always the result built from our fear and causes us to do and believe things that are not reasonable.
Perhaps fear has a grasp on you. Just remember this is not the final statement of life. This current reality is only an opportunity to discover more about ourselves and to produce the creative power which is our God-given gift to find a partway forward.
I know that I will be doing just that by asking what my next step will be not based on fear, then acting on courage that tomorrow will be better because of what I/you/we did.
Join me on the journey.