5 Strategies for Overcoming your Fear of Abandonment and Rejection
It’s no secret. If you have walked even a short distance with me, you are aware of my historical battle with fear, in general. It rises as a single shoot and before I know it, the destructive suffocating weed has spread and I find myself having to fight back, again. Fear is a powerful hindrance to loving God and man freely. It is to have no authority in the life of a Christian. Love, given through Christ, overcomes all fear.
There is no fear in love [dread does not exist], but full-grown (complete, perfect) love turns fear out of doors and expels every trace of terror! 1 John 4:18
However, keeping our minds and hearts wound up with “what if’s” and “remember when’s”–scaring us to death, continues to be a successful paralyzing and stunting strategy for the enemy. We need some tried and true strategies to fight back and overcome–to turn fear out of doors, and to expel every trace of terror!
Today I want to address the fear of abandonment and rejection by “man”.
This fear develops from experience, be it firsthand or vicarious. Living through it ourselves or observing the devastation of loss in relationship by those closest to us, has made one thing certain: the fear of being abandoned or rejected by those you want to love you is warranted. People abandon other people. Individuals break commitments they promised to keep, and do the very things they said they would not do. Any rational being would agree, the fear of rejection and abandonment is not so irrational.
To protect ourselves, we hold back. We wear ourselves out performing. We control our environment as best we can. Some would even admit to fall-back plans hidden deep within. You have wrestled through the worst-case scenarios; and you know what you would do if your fears became your reality.
We absolutely believe God has our back. He has been nothing but faithful to us. But what about…fallible man? When it comes to another human being—how do we turn fear out of doors and expel every trace of terror–without dreading the worst possible scenario?
How do you overcome–loving beyond your fear?
To this we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power, so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Thessalonians 1:11-12
1. Pray always for “Them”
Whomever you are afraid will trample your heart to smithereens–that’s your “them.” Pray specifically. Here, Paul and his partners pray that God would make them “worthy of his calling.” If you are married, your marriage is part of your life’s calling, and “theirs.” Beyond doubt, God’s calling to married individuals is to fidelity and complete devotion–to death parts you. It is your calling. You are to pray that both of you live worthy of it.
This is where trusting God and loving “them” without fear intertwine. If God, indeed, has your back, and has placed you with a “them,” then God plans for your covenant relationship to succeed. He plans for both of your hearts to remain intact. He fully intends to equip “them” to love you; and you to love “them” without fear. Pray that your “them” would be worthy of their calling. Pray it often. Pray it in their hearing.
2. Pray boldly for “Them”
We do not come to the throne of God Almighty with prayers of the namby-pamby variety. Here we have permission to ask that God “fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith.” Marriage is deemed by God as “good,” (Gen. 2:18). For what “good” within this framework do you want to ask? What particular “work of faith,” (that which deals with leaning the whole personality on God in absolute trust and confidence) (AMP) is heavy upon your heart? By His power He will fulfill it? He does not stop at one work. Not some. No. “Every resolve for good and every work of faith.” Maybe we simply haven’t asked boldly enough! What is it you need His power to conquer? Overcome on your knees.
3. Keep a record of progress
We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers, as is right, because your faith is growing abundantly, and the love of every one of you for one another is increasing. 2 Thessalonians 1:3
Paul begins his letter telling the Thessalonians he is bound to thank God for their growing faith and increasing love for each other. He received a very good report about them in these areas. What if we did the same? We should focus on the faithfulness, the kindness, the relying on the whole personality of God, the friendship, the selflessness—observed and experienced with our “thems.” Satan wants you to forget and only think of the hurts and disappointments. Don’t give in. Write it down if you have to. But thank God for the progress you see and experience. Pray it in front of your “them.” Let them know you see their good progress, their love for you, and it is helping to turn your fear out of doors and destroy it.
4. Starve the fear
We feel it coming…the scary thoughts. It often is something mundane and simple that kindles the blaze. Why do we feed?
Maybe it’s habit.
Maybe we don’t have an alternative in place.
Maybe it happens before we recognize it for what it is: a tactic to destroy everything good God has set up in our lives.
Starve it. Don’t give it any nourishment. Think about and trust in God’s power to make “them” worthy of their calling and “fulfill every resolve for good.”
5. Feed your faith
I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. Philippians 3:12
Press on. Keep praying, specifically and boldly. Continue to grow in your trust that God has your back and part of that faithfulness includes the relationship in which He placed you. Ask God to grow your faith until fear of being abandoned and discarded by man has no hold on you.
In this way, you will possess His power to love beyond your fear.