Posted by: Arden Compton | February 19, 2014

Fear; the Subtle Sabtuer

What role does fear play in addiction, or any undesirable activity?
Fear leads us to focus on what we don’t want. The more we focus on something, the more likely it is to happen.

Here is a simple example from the sport of tennis. There have been times when I have played tennis, and as I swing at the ball, my fear of hitting the ball into the net leads me to think, “Don’t hit the net.” Almost every time I would think that I would hit the ball into the net. I would often let out a groan of frustration because I just did what I didn’t want to do, or mean to do. Why? Where was my focus when I said ‘don’t hit the net’? At that moment was I focusing on where I wanted the ball to go? No, I was focusing on the net.

Let’s review how the mind works. I will keep this simple. In the conscious mind are the things we are aware of. In the subconscious mind are things we aren’t aware of. What directs our actions, conscious or subconscious? Both play a role, and most people think it is the conscious mind that directs our actions. I have heard a metaphor that compares the conscious mind to an ant, and the subconscious mind to an elephant. Guess which one is stronger? If they disagree, who would win? Of course the elephant. If I decide to do something simple, let just say I tap a finger on the table. I make a conscious decision to tap my finger on the table, but do I consciously know how to do that?. What part of my brain did I use, what did the nervous system do, how many muscles were used? I am not aware of any of that information, I have no idea how to tap my finger on the table. My subconscious mind orchestrated it for me. So, going back to the tennis game. When I think “don’t hit the net” my focus at that point is on the net. I’m not focusing on where the ball should go. Since my focus is on the net, my subconscious begins orchestrating things to move the ball in that direction. The subconscious doesn’t judge or qualify in any way. It doesn’t care that hitting the ball into the net is not a good move. In a way it acts like a computer. If you type in a web address, the computer doesn’t care if it is good website or not. It simply follows the instructions you give it. That what the subconscious does. When we focus on something, we are sending instructions to subconscious mind, and it works on bringing about what we are focusing on.

So, how does this tie into addiction? Something almost universal in someone trying to overcome an addiction is fear. Fear of a relapse, fear of weakness, fear of pornography, fear of giving in, fear of always having this problem. The list could go on. The more a person fears these things, the more they are focusing on them, and the subconscious mind gets to work orchestrating it into our lives. And then we let out a groan of frustration because we just did what we didn’t want to do!
Fear leads us to forecast what we don’t want at all. We need to change our forecast and look forward with an eye of faith and have hope! We don’t want to ignore problems, but forecast a future where you are doing well and have a happy life. God wants you to have a happy life. “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of clove, and of a sound mind.” (2 Timothy 1:7). If God doesn’t give the spirit of fear, then who does? Hello? It obviously comes from the dark side. You can’t use Satan’s primary tool to stay safe. Often people have the illusion that if they fear something, then the fear will remind them how bad it is, and they will avoid it and stay safe. In a a way that makes sense… only it doesn’t work! Instead of keeping us safe, fear sabotages us. It leads us to what we don’t want. Correct information and wisdom keep us safe, not fear. Imagine you are working in a kitchen and the stove is very hot. You know that if put your hand on the hot stove, it will burn you very badly. But you don’t need to be trembling with fear working in the kitchen. You have correct information and the wisdom needed to work safely just inches away from the hot stove. There is no need to panic or fear in any way, because you know what to do.

So let go of your fears. Christ said in the New Testament again and again to “fear not” and other variations on that idea. As we turn our fears over to Christ, then we connect to the Spirit of Truth, and there is peace of mind, hope, and confidence. Fear weakens us, causes us to doubt. Nothing good comes from fear.

So, don’t fear relapsing in addiction. Don’t fear that you aren’t strong enough. Don’t fear that you will always have this. Be aware of these concerns, but don’t fear them. Don’t fear Satan, or adversity. Even though there are many things in this world to be concerned about, because of the infinite atonement of Jesus Christ there is nothing to fear!


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