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Ep. 511 How to Deal with Phobias from a Biblical Perspective

Ep. 511 How to Deal with Phobias from a Biblical Perspective

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Shows Main Idea – A phobia is an intense and irrational fear of a specific object, situation, or activity that poses little to no actual danger. This fear can be so overwhelming that it provokes severe anxiety and interferes with normal life functions. Phobias are a type of anxiety and can be categorized into specific phobias. In this episode, I’m answering someone’s question about how to overcome a phobia.

Show Notes

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Phobia Worldview

  • There isn’t a definitive count of how many phobias exist because new phobias can be identified as society changes and as new objects or situations become more prominent. Generally, hundreds of phobias have been classified.
    • These range from common fears—like arachnophobia (fear of spiders), acrophobia (fear of heights), and claustrophobia (fear of confined spaces)—to more unusual or specific ones, such as nomophobia (fear of being without a mobile phone) or turophobia (fear of cheese).
  • The list of recognized phobias can expand as more unique fears are identified and categorized.
  • As the culture moves farther from God, there will be more phobias, similar to an ever-increasing list of genders.
  • The first call to action is to run the word phobia through a biblical hermeneutic, which will reclassify the problem as fear, anxiety, or worry.
    • For example, depending on the impact of one’s fear on one’s soul, you might include double-mindedness as part of the solution.
  • Renaming the phobia to fear does not imply the fear is unreal.
    • Sometimes, people will jump to the conclusion that their problem is not real when the Christian recategorizes it with biblical nomenclature.
    • The Christian is not minimizing the problem at all but reframing it accurately so the struggler can find transformative solutions rather than the typical medicating the problem, which is a common false solution with the culture’s misguided labels and protocols.

Phobia Solutions

Treating phobias typically involves one-to-one soul care approaches, and the choice of approach can depend on the severity of the fear and individual preferences. Here are some common processes to overcome irrational fears:

  • Counseling: This is the most widely used restorative process for phobias. It involves identifying and changing the negative thought patterns that reinforce the phobia.
  • Biblical Meditation: Methods such as mindfulness—per Peter’s instruction—can help manage the anxiety symptoms associated with phobias. “Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:13). The Psalms are excellent for the person who struggles with fear.
  • Prayer: Daily prayer time, coupled with meditation on God’s Word, is essential. Meeting with someone to pray together adds a measure of accountability.
  • Facing the Fear: Techniques like facing the fear, where the person is gradually exposed to the object of their fear in a controlled manner, can be particularly effective. They start with the least frightening vulnerability and slowly build up to more challenging fears. This helps individuals build confidence and reduce fear responses over time.
  • Small Group: Sharing experiences and coping strategies with others facing similar fears can be very helpful. The key with these groups is not to be problem-centered—where people are commiserating in an empathetic way—but they are God-centered, never allowing a person to wallow in their fears without biblical accountability and solutions.

Call to Action

The number one key to overcoming fears, which we are calling phobias in this episode, is taking your thoughts captive. If you struggle with irrational fear, I would like for you to commit to this long-term homework project. I have 52 verses or passages for your reflection. All of them have something to do with mindfulness. Doing this project well could take a year, but it is a time well worth investing in if you’re struggling with fear. Here is your assignment:

  1. Commit to doing one verse or passage a week.
  2. Memorize the verse or passage.
  3. Write out the verse or passage.
  4. Write a brief interpretation of the author’s intent. What does the author mean? What is he saying? What is the interpretation of this verse or passage?
  5. Write a brief application of this verse or passage, keeping mindfulness in view, as you apply it to your life.
Philippians 4:6-7 Romans 12:2 Colossians 3:2
Colossians 3:23 Proverbs 4:23 Isaiah 26:3
2 Timothy 1:7 John 14:27 Psalm 23:1-6
Nehemiah 9:17 1 Corinthians 2:16 Psalm 19:14
Galatians 5:22 Matthew 6:34 Luke 12:35
Matthew 22:37 1 Peter 1:13 Mark 13:35
Matthew 23:12-39 Psalm 46:10 Psalm 8:4
1 Kings 2:4 Matthew 25:13 Matthew 24:42
Philippians 4:13 Romans 8:7 2 Thessalonians 2:3-9
Philippians 2:5 Matthew 18:15-17 Psalm 39:1
1 Corinthians 2:2 Romans 10:13 John 16:33
Mark 14:37 Mark 14:34 Proverbs 16:7
Matthew 26:38 Matthew 10:33 Matthew 7:22
Genesis 20:3 Genesis 31:49 Romans 14:5
Romans 1:20; Mark 13:34 Matthew 26:40
Psalm 37:4 Hebrews 10:9 Galatians 3:10-12
Exodus 18:17-27 Hebrews 7:18 Jeremiah 23:14
Leviticus 20:1-27

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