Let’s Talk

Fear, Control, and Letting Go

– by Dr. Helen McIntosh 

Q. Can you talk more about fear and control?

A.  Let’s talk! Picture a circle with the words fear, control and letting go and directional arrows going in the same direction. Here’s the flow: when fear hits, it usually then produces any control issues we have. Control is a normal and natural (though not advisable) response to fear as we attempt to manage or limit outcomes of which we are fearful or uncertain. When we see the fear and the control, our Father longs for us to come to Him and lay these at His feet. He can transform us. Fear is the absence of love and trust (1 John 4: 18) and so God is the answer. There is no place for fear to camp out if we are abiding in Him. If we have no fear, then usually control doesn’t show up. If fear and/or control keep cropping up, you can consider asking God what’s “under” the issues (see my column “Looking Underneath Depression”). We don’t want to just keep ignoring or pushing down fear and control without addressing them for more understanding. There is always a reason beneath our behaviors. Maybe more than one reason. For example, is your control about what will happen or what will not happen circumstantially? Or, are you trying to control the people in your life in some respect? We learn repeatedly that we really and truly can’t control circumstances or people, but sadly we keep trying and wishing!

Q. How does the principle of “letting go” fit into this?

AGod delights in bringing truth to the surface and setting us free (John 8:31-32). We can’t get free without truth’s discovery and the confession that we need help and understanding. That is called letting go—placing our fear(s) and control at His feet. This takes total trust instead of fear. But the test comes once we have let go. Sometimes letting go produces fears again because we are not in charge. The fears move to control and then we progress to letting go, but then letting go exposes fear and we start another round. Be set free and stop the flow by just staying in letting go! We get to choose whether or not we are flowing through the circle. We get to choose whether or not we want to live with fear and control. God is asking us to experience letting go. Tell Him if even letting go is scary for you, and wait for His answer. He will disclose anything that is blocking the letting go flow. Are your arms open?


For Deeper Reflection

1 John 4:18 “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love . . . .”

John 8:31-32 The truth sets us free.

Matthew 10:26-31 Knowing we are of infinite value helps us not to fear.