4 Ways To Stop Fear From Making You Your Own God

“Be not dismayed . . .” (Isa. 41:10)


How do you respond when fear becomes your master?


How do you respond when fear so masters your life and your leadership that it becomes your god, when it so replaces Elohim, the Master of the universe and history that you lose all trust in Him and trust yourself instead? In those moments your thinking is distorted, your mind is confused, your life is distressed, and your motives are misdirected. You have become your own god because fear has replaced God in your life. You are dismayed, powerless, and hopeless.


Here are four steps to take when you have replaced trust in God with trust in yourself and fear becomes your god. These steps bring freedom from fear through renewed trust in God.


1. Confess sin


When you turn from trusting God to relying on yourself, fear becomes the inevitable result, and self replaces God. Relying on self is the essence of sin, so the first step to take is to confess your sin. Be specific about what you have done. Why have you chosen not to trust God, even in the most insurmountable situation? How have you concluded that God is sure to fail you? How has He failed you previously? Has He truly failed you, or have you often taken His place in the way you manage your life, so it’s actually your false god that has failed you? How have you robbed yourself of His power, His provisions, and His faithfulness previously? Confess your sin to Him and realize you can never have solutions to life’s overwhelming moments. Give up being your god. Did you create the universe? Did you put the sun in place? Did you produce the earth and the oceans? How can you possibly resolve the struggle you’re facing? Give up your effort to overcome your fears and trust Him. Confess your sin.


2. Declare dependence


Declare your dependence on God. Tell Him you are no longer taking His place, you are not longer striving to be in control. Tell Him you are desperately dependent on Him and radically relying on His power. Acknowledge what your know, that you cannot overcome your fear, whether it is because of issues you are facing or struggles with your health or deep pain caused by others who hurt you. Only He can overcome these struggles, although you may have to face the hurt you have created in others. Perhaps you will have to confess the pain you have brought to others and tell the Lord that only He can enable you to face this and turn from the self-interest that produces such behavior. You know you cannot overcome your responses, so call on Him to enable you to live and love His way.


3. Clarify action


Now that you know you cannot overcome your self-reliance on your own, clarify what you must do through Him to overcome your struggles. What actions must you take? Prayer and Bible study, of course, and a journal that records your progress. Consult with those who know you, and your patterns and how you have undermined your own leadership. Seek constructive approaches from them that will restore the trust of others in you as a leader. Interact with your team about your leadership and listen as they tell you what keeps them from following you, as they truly want to. Establish a pattern of confession, prayer, and cleansing in your team and lead them to do the same with you so your team becomes a source of mutual forgiveness and dependence on the Lord. You will be amazed at His outpouring of power through you and them together as you mutually turn from the fear of each other to the fear of Him. The fear of Him is not the thought that He is going to harm you but that your worship of Him together will lift all of you to new levels of purity, power, and impact that you never thought you would see.


4. Implement your decision


Once you make these decisions and put this plan together, implement it immediately. Call a special team meeting the first day you can. Confess your sin to those you have harmed, help them to understand the new leader you are becoming, call on them to support you to be the person and the leader you long to be, assure them that you will take the same stand with them, and put together a new plan to accomplish God’s call in each of your lives. You will be amazed at the grace of God in you and through you, and at the commitment they will make to you, as you are open to them. You will also be overwhelmed at God’s renewed faithfulness to each of you.


Fear shatters your confidence, robs you of your vision, and destroys your future. It makes you your own god, your own power, your own wisdom, and the source of a distorted identity. Elohim, the great God who created the universe and has a place in it for you as one of His leaders, will deliver you from despair to dependence. What could be greater than to know He is for you and will never quit on you? How can you quit on Him? Send Him the following prayer.


Dear God,


I quit being you.







Bill Lawrence is the President of Leader Formation International, Senior Professor Emeritus of Pastoral Ministries and Adjunct Professor of DMin Studies at Dallas Theological Seminary where he served full-time for twenty-four years (1981-2005). During this time he also was the Executive Director of the Center for Christian Leadership for twelve years.