Fear can take many forms. Fear to you could be a natural disaster or an economic collapse, something significant that will affect your life and those around you.
But fear to some can be as severe as unable to be alone or afraid of people; unable to fit in with others.
It’s very easy to imagine how fear can mould and shape lives.
What most people do to overcome their fears is to avoid the situation that causes the fear. This method can be effective but doesn’t solve the problem. In effect, all it does is make your world smaller.
When fear is limiting your life, you must face it.
At first, this can seem daunting, maybe even causing anxiety, but this is where faith comes in.
When I was younger, I was bullied at my part-time job. Then, one day on the way to work I got a mild panic attack. The next weekend I phoned in sick and told my doctor what was going on, and she wrote work-related stress on the sick note, telling me it was something I had to face. I agreed.
However, the thought that I had to face management to discuss the matter just escalated my anxiety, so I didn’t go back.
I didn’t go near the area of town where I worked as I feared meeting the people that I worked with, I didn’t want to explain to them why I left.; I felt that I was somehow responsible for the abuse. Bullying affects everyone differently.
Many other personal problems hit me around the same time, so I decided to go to see a counsellor.
As we got into conversation, he spoke about reading the Bible 2-3 times a year; he talked about it with so much passion that I started to read it myself. And the more I read, the more my faith grew within. Knowing that God is with us at all times helped me to surrender to His will.
I realised that I had let fear escalate the problem. By avoiding the part of town I used to work I was giving fear control of my life.
When I started to return to the places I used to go many of the people that I worked with didn’t even recognise me, others just said hi. Fear had built up a story that was not close to reality.
Fear makes problems more significant than they are.
Faith and fear are simply vibrations. One has positive energy the other negative.
When a lot of negative things happen, it is easy to get into a negative vibration, and it may seem like you will never get out, but when you work on your faith daily, it will give you the ability to change a negative vibration to a positive one.
Faith is simple, yet we like to make it complicated.
Now I’m not saying that it is simple to make prayer and devotion a part of your day, but if you can make it a habit, then you will see massive results.
Ask God to give you the desire and discipline to spend time with Him each day.
A simple practice that has worked well for me during busy times is to take 30-60seconds during the day. Close your eyes for 30-60seconds now. Listen to the world around you and feel the presence of God.
This practice sounds almost too simple to have an impact, but do it often, and within a short time you will see and feel the difference in your life.
I wish you a stress-free week. Take a step of faith today.
My new book, Live a Life Without Fear, is currently on free promotion on Amazon, if you could download and leave me some feedback it would be very much appreciated. Click on the image below.
Thanks for your time.
Rev J Martin
No matter how we feel, God is always present.
Many people go through times when His presence can feel far away or absent altogether, which is often the case when someone is depressed, in grief or the depths of despair.
We all go through times when we are so busy trying to get everything to work that we don’t take the time to connect with God, thinking that we must do everything on our own strength.
Worry doubt and stress has a way of blinding us from the truth.
It’s so easy to get lost in a web of negative thinking, which in some cases can last for months, if not years. Overcoming negative thinking is achievable in many ways, but the main one is to take time each day to spend in the service of God.
Many think that service means only to pray and to help others, but this is not the case. Service also means to take care of one’s self.
Most people care more about their cars than their own mental and physical health. Fear worry and doubt can destroy your spirit in the same way that water will rust your car.
A little fear worry or doubt is natural, it keeps us safe and away from harm, but constant fear, for example, can lead to illness and pain.
Fear is automatic; like a weed, it does not need care and attention to grow. It can grow in almost impossible conditions. Often I have seen a weed growing in a crack in a wall.
Faith is the opposite.
Faith is very similar to a muscle; it needs the right nutrients and exercise. Most people however only work on their faith when things are going wrong. Then when all is better again, they don’t put in the maintenance, so their faith rusts, so to speak, allowing fear worry and doubt to drift back in.
Then the smallest setback can seem like the biggest of obstacles.
Maintain your faith each day, and you will live a happier, healthier and more fulfilled life, where you see and take the opportunities that come your way.
There is so much negative news today that you must make a conscious effort to absorb as much positivity as you can. In the form of reading scripture or motivational books, listening to podcasts, watching films and documentaries that inspire.
We must take control. As much as we may want to, we can never change others. We can only change ourselves.
Thanks for your time. Have a good day.
Rev J Martin
Enter the Kingdom of God is my new book and is currently on free promotion on Amazon. Water your faith today with a short but compelling read. Click on the image below.
The conversations of young people intrigue, bewilder and sometimes confused me. “You’ll have to watch this video it’s so funny, you will enjoy it.”
It’s usually a cat or dog doing something weird and on one occasion it was a squirrel on water skis.
Usually the children are bent over laughing, and I’m left holding onto the phone with a smirk on my face at how little amuses the innocent.
One day last week I opened the local paper, and there was a story about a video that had 1 million views, the man in the video was power hosing an old white patio chair.
I read on expecting an animal to knock the hose out of his hand or for someone to play a prank on him but nothing. That was it. A video of a man power hosing a dirty old chair.
The story concluded with the fact that people find satisfaction watching something been cleaned and coming up as new.
It reminded me of my favourite job growing up on the farm at home. The satisfaction I got from power hosing the street in front of our house from all the gravel and dirt carried in by the cars and machinery.
Dirt on a tarmac surface or a patio seat is easy to see but what about the mess on the inside of our lives.
How much more satisfying is it to know that the metaphorical dirt of our lives can be washed clean by our creator who’s laws we have broken.
The bible teaches that when a person realises what they are like on the inside and come to Jesus for forgiveness, he has promised, as far as the east is from the west so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
The thief on the cross beside Jesus realised this; he knew that he deserved to be there but Jesus the son of God did not, and in full realisation of this he said, “Lord, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”
In that instant, his sin was washed away forever.
What satisfaction there is in knowing that God will cleanse your spirit when you ask for forgiveness with the intention of never repeating the same mistakes.
He can’t remember
There was a pastor in Texas who carried the burden of a secret sin he had committed many years before. He had repented but still had no sense of God’s forgiveness.
In his church was a woman who claimed to have visions in which she spoke with Christ and he with her. The priest, however, was sceptical. To test her he said, “The next time you speak with Christ, I want you to ask him what sin your pastor committed while he was in seminary.” The woman agreed.
A few days later the priest asked, “Well, did Christ visit you in your dreams?”
“Yes he did”, she replied.
“And did you ask him what sin I committed in seminary?”
“Well, what did he say?”
“He said, ‘I don’t remember.’”
Most of our un-happiness comes from our own thinking, behaviour and habits. Today I would like to share 5 of the most destructive habits that can create un-happiness in your life.
After each habit I will go over some ways that can help you overcome some of the habits and live a better life.
If you are surrounded with people that have little or no faith this will start to affect you in the long-term. Who we socialize with, what we read, watch and listen to, has a massive effect on how we feel and think.
It becomes a lot harder to be happier if you let yourself be influenced by negative voices. Voices that tell you that life will always be the way it is, that its better you learn to be happy where you are. Voices that watch life from a negative limited perspective.
How to overcome this habit:
Replace those negative voices with more positive ones. Surround yourself with new people to see the difference it can make. All your old friends will be exactly where you leave them if you ever want to return. This alone can be like a whole new world opening up.
Spend time with positive people, listen to inspiring music and read motivational books, watch movies and TV-shows that make you laugh and think about life in a new way.
What I found very helpful was starting out small. For example, listen to an inspiring audiobook on YouTube while eating breakfast in the morning, rather than listening to the news that is filled with negativity.
Getting Stuck in the Past and Future
Spending much of your time in the past, reliving old painful memories, conflicts, missed opportunities can hurt a lot. Spending your time in the future and imagining how things could go wrong at work, in your relationships and with your health can lead to a lot of un-happiness. Life is about living in the present.
How to overcome this habit:
It is pretty much impossible not to think about the past or the future. And it is of course important to plan for tomorrow and next year and to try to learn from your past, but to dwell on those things rarely helps.
What I found to be very helpful is to focus on what I can do today. I do out a timetable each day of all the things that I need to do. Constantly working towards my bigger longterm goals. If I do find myself thinking of the past or future too much I recite a short prayer to centre my thoughts.
Worry and doubt all stem from dwelling on the past or thinking about the future.
What I find very helpful is going for a walk in nature, or changing my surroundings by visiting a friend or relative. Being at home is the worst place to be if there is something troubling you.
Comparing Yourself To Others
One very common and destructive habit is to compare yourself to other people. People compare cars, houses, jobs, relationships, social popularity and so on. The list can be endless. All this does is create a lot of negative feelings.
How to overcome this habit:
Compare yourself to yourself. Instead of comparing yourself to other people create the habit of comparing yourself to yourself.
See how much you have grown, what you have achieved and what progress you have made towards your goals. Doing this has the benefit of creating gratitude, appreciation and kindness towards yourself as you observe what you have achieved, the obstacles you have overcome and the good stuff you have done.
When we judge ourselves we tend to judge others also. Luke 6:37 “do not judge, and you will not be judged.” Try to only focus on the positives in yourself and those around you. When we judge it’s usually because we have unrealistic expectations of others and ourselves.
By letting this all go and just accepting who you are faults and all, you will be instantly happier and have better relationships with others.
Focusing on the Negative Details in Life
Most people focus on the dark clouds rather than the silver lining. When you look at the negative aspects of a situation that is a sure way to make yourself unhappy. You can even drag down the mood for everyone around you.
How to overcome this habit:
Overcoming this habit can be difficult. Something that has worked for me is to look for the good in the situation, it can be hard to see but it is always there. If things didn’t work out for you, maybe its not the right time, or a better opportunity is around the corner.
What can easily happen if your not careful is you can be so buried in self-pity that you miss out on the reason that you had the setback. For example, you attend an interview and don’t get the job. You take the rejection personally, thinking you haven’t got what it takes and don’t even look for another job when the perfect one is waiting for you.
Life at times can be complicated but more often than not we can be the ones that make it so. This ultimately creates stress and unhappiness. The world is becoming more complex but that doesn’t stop us from making some new habits to make it easier.
How to overcome this habit:
Splitting your focus and having your attention all over the place is certain to lead to unhappiness. Concentrate on one thing at a time. Have a to-do-list of 4-5 important things that need completed throughout the day.
Work on the first until it is complete then move on to the next. This simple strategy saves time, and will triple your productivity. Plus, at the end of the day you will feel happy.
Another thing that can overcomplicate life is having too much stuff. A solution can be to ask yourself: have I used this in the past year? If not then give it away. This can create so much space within your home. A cluttered living space reflects a cluttered mind.
Relationships can be the most complicated thing in life. What has helped me greatly in this department is communication. Reading minds is impossible. Minimise unnecessary conflicts, misunderstandings and negativity.
When stressed, worried or lost in a problem, breathe with your belly for two minutes and just focus on the air going in and out. This will calm your body and mind.
Then you can start focusing on doing what is most important for you again.
Thanks for reading. Have a good week.
Rev J Martin
Do you find yourself, avoiding new situations because they make you uncomfortable?
It’s normal to feel uncertain before you face a new challenge, but stepping outside our comfort zone is the only time we grow.
Why would you want to do something uncomfortable?
We go out of our way to get away from stress and doing anything that makes us feel uncomfortable, but there is a difference between the discomfort of trying something new and stressful feelings.
At one time you were afraid to drive. Now you enjoy it. You may not have liked eating vegetables when you were younger, but now you couldn’t live without them. You were once afraid of applying for that first big job, but now that you have a career you enjoy, you wouldn’t trade the experience for anything. We all do things that at one time we were afraid to do.
Good things in life come to those who take risks, those who step outside their comfort zones in the knowing that with God anything is possible.
Then he touched their eyes and said, “According to your faith let it be done to you.”
Faith is stepping out into the unknown with the knowing that all will be ok. Successful people in all walks of life, take risks. They feel fear, but they do not let it push them back. Their faith in succeeding drive’s them forward
If you avoid new experiences, you are missing out on the best that life has to offer. The longer that you wait, procrastinate, or cower in fear, the more “comfortable” you get with how things are, and that’s not a very good place to be.
Before we go any further, ask yourself if you are happy?
Are you happy in your current state or do you ever dream of doing something else, something more?
Do you think about reaching out to other people, starting a new hobby, eating healthier, or even going for a new job?
If the answer is yes, then you have already decided this is something you want to do. Now it’s just a matter of making up your mind to overcome your fears.
Once people get settled into a routine, it can be difficult to break. Most people are running on a sort of “autopilot,” it takes them from point A to point B with little to no thought, but this is not what God created you for.
When we are young – we are fearless. Young children will pull an iron off the iron-board on top of themselves because they want to know where the lead is coming from.
We are told repeatedly growing up, don’t do this, don’t do that, so we stop exploring life. It gets to a point where we are afraid to try anything new; we get into a routine; we enter the comfort zone.
It takes no thought to stay in a comfort zone, for this reason, many people take up permanent residency.
Getting out of a comfort zone starts with deciding to take action.
Decide that it’s time to do something new. Decide to do something you have been afraid to do in the past. Take up a new hobby. Visit a new place — Decide to break the routine.
“But I’m Scared!”
You are not alone, many people are afraid to take that first step and take action. The idea of making a significant change may even lead to feelings of deep anxiety and self-doubt.
The first step to overcoming the fear of the unknown is to learn to take baby steps. If you fear to look for a new job. Start with writing out a C.V. /Resume. If you would love to lose weight but can’t find the time to go to a gym. Park 10 minutes from work – over a week that is nearly two hours of walking.
Some Helpful Advice
Two things that will help you get started are a list of goals (including those that make you uncomfortable or scare you) and a reliable buddy system.
Write the list of targets that you want to accomplish first. Things that you have always wanted to do but have been afraid to attempt.
Next, enlist the aid of a friend to help you accomplish those goals. Naturally, it’s easy to give up when you are the only one trying. A friend can provide that emotional support you need.
To conquer your fears once and for all and start living the life you dream of; take decisive action. Make up your mind that you can do anything, that you will be successful in whatever you decide to do.
What’s the worst that can happen?
Typically it won’t be as bad as you think. Doing things that make you feel uncomfortable or scared, eventually get easier to do. You may even wonder why you were so afraid in the first place.
Realise your true potential by stretching yourself. God created you to achieve great things. Don’t let fear hold you back.
Enjoy your week.
Rev J Martin