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Fear: What Are You Afraid Of?

Rev. Margaret Minnicks is an ordained Bible teacher. She writes many articles that are Bible lessons.

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Everybody is afraid of something. Some people are afraid of things others would think they shouldn't be afraid of, such as clowns, riding in an airplane, or driving through tunnels.

It is normal and good to experience fear to keep us from harm. For instance, it is a good thing to fear swimming with sharks. It is good to fear playing with a loaded gun. It is good to fear running in front of a moving car. Sometimes our fears protect us from obvious harm. Sometimes there are other reasons we fear something or someone.

Fear is a Response to a Terrifying Experience

There might be a legitimate reason for every fear. Some fears are brought on because of one terrifying experience. For instance, if a child almost drowns, he will have a fear of swimming even as an adult. After a person has survived a terrible car accident, he may have a fear of driving in the future.

Some people have a habit of rebuking others for their fears. They tell them that they should be afraid. They fail to realize that fear is a normal response to physical or emotional danger. All people do not fear the same things. What is a terrifying experience might not affect someone else at all.

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Top 10 Fears Among Teenagers

According to a Gallup Poll, the top ten fears among teenagers include the following:

  1. terrorist attacks
  2. spiders
  3. death
  4. failure
  5. war
  6. criminal violence
  7. gang violence
  8. being alone
  9. the future
  10. nuclear war

Top 10 Fears Among Adults

According to queries online, adults are most afraid of the following things:

  1. flying
  2. heights
  3. clowns
  4. intimacy
  5. death
  6. rejection
  7. people
  8. snakes
  9. failure
  10. driving

It is interesting that only two things appear on the list of things teenagers fear and on the list of things adults are afraid of. They are death and failure.

It is also interesting that both lists include things, people, events, and activities that are fears.

What the Bible Says About Fear

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According to 2 Timothy 1:7,

For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

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What is a Phobia?

The word phobia comes from a Greek word meaning "aversion," "fear" or "morbid fear."

Phobias exist when people have intense fears of particular things or situations. Usually, fears are greater than the actual danger or harm. However, that doesn't keep people with phobias from feeling as though the danger is magnified and very real. Experts estimate that about 5 percent of people in the United States have at least one phobia. They also conclude that women are slightly more likely than men to have phobias. Perhaps it is because women admit their fears more than men do.

Phobias can significantly impact everyday life and interfere with normal activities. When people have phobias, they will avoid situations related to their fears. For instance, if a person has a phobia of dogs, he might avoid going where he knows dogs will be. People with a phobia of elevators will use the stairs and avoid using an elevator. Those who are afraid of driving will take the bus, taxi, or other modes of transportation to avoid driving a car.

What should be understood about phobias is this:

All phobias are fears, but not all fears are phobias.

Common Phobias

While there are hundreds of phobias among people, there are some common phobias. They include the following:

  • claustrophobia (fear of enclosed places)
  • acrophobia (fear of heights)
  • arachnophobia (fear of spiders)
  • ophidiophobia (fear of snakes)
  • cynophobia (fear of dogs)
  • agoraphobia (fear of having a panic attack in public)
  • mysophobia (fear of germs)

How Phobias Can Be Overcome

Some phobias come into a person's life because of particular personality traits, certain genetic factors he has been born with, or a combination of some past life experiences.

People do not have to live with phobias all their lives. Phobias can be overcome when people slowly facing their fears one small step at a time. Someone who fears dogs may begin by looking at pictures of dogs in books, magazines and on television. Then he can build up enough courage to pet a dog before playing with a dog.

Professional help may be necessary for people who have strong phobias that cripple their lives. Breathing exercises and relaxation techniques can help in some cases.

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Comments

Margaret Minnicks (author) from Richmond, VA on March 27, 2018:

Denise, I agree with you that "Face Everything and Rise" is more positive and encouraging. More people should use that acronym more than "False Evidence Appearing Real"

Thanks so much for your feedback on my article.

Denise W Anderson from Bismarck, North Dakota on March 27, 2018:

I like that last acronym, "Face Everything and Rise." That is much more inspirational than the "False Evidence Appearing Real." For me, all of my fears have a real basis due to past traumas I have had. When I get into situations where they surface, they are very real to me, whether or not they are to others. Being able to say to myself, "Face Everything and Rise" will give me the courage to go forward in spite of my fear!

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