What’s Your Fear Monster’s Name?
Inside me is a monster; a Fear Monster! Most of the time he slumbers peacefully and goes unnoticed. The monster can hibernate for days, weeks, even months, and then suddenly be awakened! The moment the monster stirs, things begin to spin, I lose perspective, and chaos ensues.
This past weekend, the monster was roused and immediately got to work creating his special brand of confusion. It set me reeling. Focusing seemed impossible. My cherished goals lay limp. What normally would have motivated me didn’t even interest me.
I know I am not alone! You’ve probably encountered the monster without even knowing it! He likes to remain in hiding while dictating just about everything you do! Fear is his first name, but his last name – that’s different for everyone.
My monster’s name: Fear of Not Mattering.
If you’ve been stuck, not making the progress you know you are capable of, or experiencing conflict in your most important relationships, your Fear Monster is probably up to no good in your life! Do you find yourself feeling the need to strive just to measure up or feel like you are enough? Are you worn out or drifting…all signs that your Fear Monster is at work.
Here’s how to show him who is boss:
1. Name Your Fear Monster
Your Fear Monster might go by another name like…
When you know your monster’s name, and recognize when he’s up to no good, his hold over you dwindles. However, when you ignore his presence, he’s free to wreak havoc in your life, your relationships, and your effectiveness at work.
Your Fear Monster is your enemy when it comes to your dreams and goals. He is never for you. He’s actively working to undermine you personally and professionally. Your Fear Monster will do everything he can to keep you from THRIVING!
In order to wrestle your Fear Monster back into his cage, you must first know his name. Then you must tell yourself the truth about who God created you to BE. When you intentionally lean in to who God created you to BE, the monster is once again lulled to sleep, allowing you to operate fearlessly, not to mention enjoy the peace and joy you long for!
2. Pay Attention to What Stirs Your Fear Monster
Reflect on the crazy moments you’ve experienced in the past. What’s the common feeling in each of those situations? What negative belief about your-self bubbles up? My overwhelming feeling is that I don’t matter: a sense of not being valuable or having significance.
You may be dealing with another monster, such as the fear of being rejected, weak, incompetent, left out, stupid, invisible, unlovable, a failure, or worthless.
In reality, your Fear Monster is the lens you view life through. It causes you to interpret situations and interactions with others as if it was evidence that your Fear Monster is right.
And when your Fear Monster is at work, it will trigger the Fear Monsters of those around you. It’s easy to see this play out in your significant relationships. When my husband does something that makes me feel like I don’t matter, I respond in a way that makes him feel like he is incompetent. Soon we are engaged in a never ending battle that has absolutely nothing to do with what were initially talking about.
Maybe you’ve noticed the pattern in your own relationships. Over and over again you get caught up in an argument, yet have no idea what the real issue is. That’s your Fear Monster’s clashing with each other!
3. Notice Your Response to Your Fear Monster
Once your monster is awake and at work, it causes you to respond in ways that make your greatest fear a reality. The very thing you want to avoid, like not mattering for me, becomes a reality!
In my case, I might shut down, pull away, speak with intensity, or say something hurtful to protect myself. These responses only push the other person further away and ensure that I will not experience the sense of mattering I desire. It’s self-sabotage at its best.
When you bump up against your Fear Monster, what’s your response?
4. Take Responsibility and Lean Into Who God Created YOU to BE
This step is not easy! The temptation will be to wallow in fear, blame others, and play the victim. Instead, choose to take responsibility.
If left unmanaged, the monster will tempt you to console yourself with unhealthy habits like isolating, drinking to numb the feelings, eating too much, consuming unhealthy foods, etc. These behaviors will ultimately lead you to the very place you feared the most!
The natural inclination is to try to be more of the opposite of your fear. That would prompt me to seek out ways to matter – a pursuit that would only confirm to me that I don’t matter because my efforts will enviably fall flat.
Remember, no one can make you feel anything unless you give them permission. Send your Fear Monster packing, because once the monster has worked his magic and you are wallowing in your fear, it overshadows everything an distorting reality.
Instead, choose to focus on what God sees in you. There is a particular characteristic that He intended to showcase through you; one that reflects Him. You can easily spot that trait in others, yet your Fear Monster blinds you from seeing it in you. It’s the quality you find most appealing in others such as…
God created me to BE loving. To be honest, on my own, I do not love well. It’s only when I allow God to be alive and at work in my life that I can fully love the way He created me to. I need His help!
When loving is my way of life, I will experience the mattering I long for. The same will be true for you. When your life matches up with person God created you to BE, your deep needs will be satisfied. Then your Fear Monster will be more likely to stay in hibernation so that you are free THRIVE in your life. Oh you might notice Him show up from time to time, but you will see him for the lie he is!
Dwell on who God is and who He created you to BE. Post that truth all around you. Turn it into a mantra. Memorize an appropriate scripture. No more surrendering to your Fear Monster!
What’s your Fear Monster’s name? How would things be different if you embraced who God created YOU to BE?
Originally posted 8/2014, this post as been updated and revised just for you!
Want to face your Fear Monster? Learn how here.
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