According to the website ‘fearofstuff.com,’ the Top 10 Things Men Fear Most are as follows:
10. Going to the doctor
9. Being wrong
8. Public speaking
6. Being an inadequate lover
5. Poor health
4. The risk of financial loss
3. Not being a good husband or father
2. Appearing to need help
Do you agree with this list? It is a fair representation of countless other similar lists from countless sources. Do you resonate with the listed fears? Certainly some of the listed fears are “common to man.” What is it that creates strong emotion regarding these issues? My 11 year old son read the list, and said “Dad, I am not afraid of these things.” I have a hunch most 11 year old boys do not fear these concerns. Be that as it may, most grown men do fear several of the items listed.
Recently, Dr. Roger Hall Founder & President of Compass Consultation presented research at YBL Forum in Cincinnati. Dr. Hall reminded us that fear is vital to our survival; it is a transient emotion. This powerful emotion is the most useful of our 5 negative emotions, and it is the most difficult to eliminate. It is accurate to state that fear is life preserving. Problems arise when we become afraid of the wrong things – things that do not create danger. This behavior leads to imagining and rehersing fear. The distinct type of fear that develops is worry or anticipatory fear. Worry can touch and negatively impact all parts of our lives. One acute (& potentially chronic) area of our lives that can be impacted is our sleep cycle. [Click here http://www.calmclinic.com/anxiety/symptoms/sleep-problems for a brief explanation of anxiety’s effect on sleep.] Likewise, worry can interrupt one’s ability to reason and think clearly.
One strategy to combat the effect of worry & anxiety in our live is exercising disciplined thinking. The scriptures are filled with truths regarding fear and anxiety. A good start to disciplined thought is to replace fearful thoughts with the word of God. II Corinthians 10:5 reminds us to “take every thought captive to obey Christ.” Romans 12:2 reminds us to “be transformed by the renewal of your mind…” When worry and anxiety begin to creep into our thoughts, we need to recall the words of scripture. It may help to have a trusted friend, mentor, or advisor who can help you to re-focus. There is a vivid image presented in scripture that relates to fishermen. When they cast nets in 1st century Palestine, it required all of their might to grasp the “top circular end” of their nets, then to heave it out to the sea.
This is the picture of I Peter 5:7 – “casting all your fears on Him because he cares for you.” When you cast these fears and anxieties on him, you should use all of your might to throw them off! The apostle Paul, who wrote much of the New Testament, urges us to not be “anxious about anything,” rather we should turn these & all worries over to God.
Do you recognize areas of you life that worry has crept-in? Perhaps you experience the impact of anxiety, but have not identified the source. Do you wake up at night with a racing heart? Do you simply have trouble sleeping? Are their co-workers, clients, or customers that you dread the thought of encountering? Turn to the Bible as a rich source of useful wisdom. Consult a friend or mentor for encouragement to grow in disciplined thought.