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The Three Zones of Fear

This month at New Vision, we’ve dedicated a lot of time and resources to talk about the importance of facing your fears. God did not create us to be controlled by fear but to rely on Him to keep our fears at bay and live up to our full potential. That said, it is important that we are able to identify the warning signs of pushing ourselves too far or too fast. If you are currently challenging a fear in your own life or have been given the opportunity to help someone else face their own, there are three zones you should be aware of to ensure your efforts will create progress instead of regression. As you read, visualize a dart board with three rings. We will start in the center and work our way out. Take time to honestly consider which of these three zones you find yourself in today.

1) Comfort Zone

This zone is exactly what the title implies–comfortable. Without pushing ourselves, this is where we fall by default. Our heart-rate is low, our posture is relaxed, and our feet are likely propped up, completely at ease with the world. While this does not sound half-bad, it is important to note that very little growth happens when we are comfortable and unwilling to break a sweat. Is there a time and a season to step back and recharge, absolutely! But should we aim to stay in this zone for fear of really pushing ourselves to face what scares us? I’m afraid not. In the dartboard analogy, we will place the comfort zone in the center, or bulls-eye.

2) Grow Zone

Taking a step outside of the center circle, we enter the second ring, called the grow zone. The grow zone is where we feel most alive! When we step into a new situation that makes us nervous, our posture becomes poised to react, our heartbeat quickens, and our minds become clear and attentive. Yes, this zone may make our palms a little sweaty, and we may find ourselves uncomfortable or unfamiliar with our surroundings, but the benefits far outweigh these slight inconveniences. You see, as we step outside the comfort zone and challenge ourselves to face what scares us, we become more confident and courageous and our comfort zone or bull-seye begins to grow! In the moment the task you face may seem like a challenge, but in the long-game, you are expanding the boundaries of where you feel comfortable and confident. Whenever possible, strive to be in the grow zone and just watch how you live as your attitude begins to change!

3) Panic Zone

The third and final ring of the dart board is the panic zone. This zone is dangerous because once we push ourselves past the limits of the grow zone, we are no longer able to grow because fear has taken over. Our hearts are pounding out of our chest, the mental clarity we found in the grow zone becomes jumbled, and our minds are not able to cope with the experience around us. While it’s relatively easy to identify when we’ve pushed ourselves to the point of panic, it is vital that we learn to recognize the signs of panic in those we are helping. Once we reach this zone, the panic zone begins to grow and the comfort zone in the center of the dartboard becomes smaller. If we are in the panic zone, we are providing more strongholds for our fears to take control which force us to run back to our comfort zone until we are able to calm ourselves to try again.

 

We hope this analogy proves to be helpful next time you are in a new situation which makes you nervous. Here are some questions to guide you in self-reflection. Be honest with yourself and set safety barriers for to help channel you into the grow zone. Keep yourself from slipping back into the comfort zone and be cautious not to step too far into the panic zone.

  1. Which zone is your default zone?
  2. What area of your life do you need to step back into the grow zone?
  3. What signs does your body give you when you are about to slip into a place of panic?



5 Keys to Help Children Face Their Fears

We’ve already discussed in this series how as Christians, we are called to face our fears and take steps towards overcoming them through faith and perseverance. We’ve also shared how this is not an easy command which is why God provides over 365 daily reminders to “Be strong and courageous.” The fact is that facing our fears takes practice, and what better way to equip our children and our families to be bold and courageous warriors of God than to begin training them young. Of course, it takes a great deal of discernment to decide when a child is ready to take the first step towards overcoming a fear, and the method should always be age appropriate. However, no matter what ages your children are, here are five simple steps you can take today to create a culture of courage in your home:

  1. Pray

You may not always be around when fear creeps into your child’s heart–but God will! By teaching your children to pray when they are afraid, you are teaching them that ultimately God is the only one who can protect and shape their hearts into hearts of courage, and that He will always be there for  them, even when you are not.

2) Model

If we avoid facing our own fears, how can we expect our children to willingly face theirs? By acting as though nothing scares us, we are setting the wrong example. Model what it means to face your fears. Be transparent about what you are afraid of with them (age appropriately). Allow them to help you work through a fear of your own and don’t be afraid to let them see you struggle at times. This will reassure them that even their role models struggle with fear from time to time.

3) Look Deeper

Many fears are shallow, but some are much more complicated than face-value. Yes, your son may be afraid of the dark, but maybe the dark represents a deeper fear–fear of the unknown. Maybe your daughter is afraid of sitting in a room alone, but what if deep down she is afraid of being abandoned or left behind? You can’t heal what you can’t see so try to look beneath the surface ask questions identify the root of your child’s fear.

4) Push

As parents, our first instinct may be to protect and nurture our children from what scares them. However, without the ability to face their fears, they will struggle as they grow to be more independent. Hold their hands but fight the instinct to carry them through their fears or they won’t learn to walk through fear themselves. This may be the most difficult step!

5) Give Grace

This process will take time. Sometimes, if the fear is encroaching on your own life (ie. you have a child terrified to sleep in his own room so he still shares your pillow) it is easy to lose heart and patience. In moments of frustration, remember that God how patient God has been towards you as you faced fears of your own, and whenever necessary, pray for more grace towards your child.

 

We hope these five steps will help you nurture your children to be courageous and brave warriors of God! We want to hear from you, what steps have you taken to help your children face their fears? Share your tips in the comments below!

And if you want to receive more tips and messages like this straight to your inbox, submit your email below to be added to our mailing list. We will only send resources we believe will bless you, so take advantage of what New Vision has to offer today!



What the Bible Says About Fear

Did you know that “fear” is one of the most common themes discussed in the Bible? Believe it or not, God has a lot to say about how His people should be careful not to live in fear or give it control over their lives. Is fear a natural part of our human nature? Absolutely. Does that mean we should give it free reign over our lives? Absolutely not.

Of course that’s much easier said than done.

The Bible shares some variation of “fear not” over 365 times! That’s right–a reminder for each and every day of the year. God in His grace knew before we were even designed what would keep us lying awake at night. He knew what circumstances would make our palms sweat and our knees wobbly. When God tells His people to “fear not,” He isn’t condemning them or shaming them for being afraid. God is always kind not to minimize our problems or our fears. The things we fear can be very real and very big to us, but the kicker is this…

God is bigger.

Remember David and Goliath? David didn’t step up to battle because he thought he had any stamina, experience, or height over Goliath–he stepped boldly up to a giant because the God He serves, who loyally protects him, is so much bigger!

Many times when we are afraid of something, it’s because we feel outmatched or out of control. Something we all need to learn is how to be okay with taking the reins out of our hands and placing them into the willing and able hands of God. Take some time to reflect today by asking yourself these simple questions:

  1. What are you afraid of giving to God that is holding you in a life of fear?
  2. How has God been faithful to you when you gave Him your fears in the past?
  3. What Bible verse do you need to memorize for when fear starts to creep in?

If you would like to learn more about our services and see how New Vision can serve you or your family, contact us today. If you have a loved one who is struggling with fear or anxiety, share this message with them so they can feel empowered to regain control in a healthy way.



When Change is Unexpected

Sometimes change can be seen far down the horizon, and whether it’s welcome or not, we have time to brace ourselves for what lies ahead. Weddings, a baby’s due date, graduation, and the changing of the seasons are usually predictable and provide plenty of time to prepare.

But what about the changes that occur suddenly with little to no warning? What do we do when a routine screening tests positive for cancer? What happens when a meeting with your employer ends with a pink slip or transfer papers? How do we respond when a police officer knocks on our door with news that there has been an accident?

When the proverbial rug is snatched out from under us, we have to be careful in choosing our next steps. To handle change in a healthy way, we need to be aware of our own instincts, surround ourselves with healthy relationships, and know our own limitations.

Know Your Instincts

When change comes unexpectedly, our fight-or-flight responses kick in. Some of us are naturally wired to attack the situation with every ounce of energy they can muster. They become consumed by it, believing they have the power and ability to make it go away if they fight hard enough against it. Others will push the change out of their thoughts or even live in denial of what has happened to them. They go about their lives as normal, neglecting what needs to be done and the changes that need to be processed.

Whatever your instinct is, there is a verse in scripture that can help you accept change in a healthier way. Psalm 46:10 says, “Be still and know that I am God.” For those of us who are fighters, we need to remember we can’t face anything in our own power but we can with His! He is the creator and sustainer of all things, including your situation. So be still and let Him fight for you. For those of us who are runners, we have to remember that while this may be a surprise to us, it certainly isn’t a surprise to God. He promises to get us through any situation He has called us to, so stand boldly and let Him work His strength out in your life.

Find Your People

The Bible is very clear that none of us are called to face life alone. Time and time again, it describes the disciples going out two by two or meeting in each other’s homes to encourage and motivate one another. When change takes you by surprise, don’t underestimate the power of a coffee date with a friend, or a phone call to your sister. Just as you would hope your loved ones would call you if they needed help or encouragement, your friends would be honored to face this challenge with you.

If you don’t have a strong community of friends, pursue a membership in a local church. Make it a point in seasons of stability to surround yourself with healthy relationships with other believers so when change does come–and it will–you’ll have people ready to step in and lend a hand.

Know When to Seek Professional Help

While some changes can be managed with the help of a friend, you also need to be aware of your limitations. Some situations are far too complex to be handled alone or in the church. Sometimes professional counseling is the next step. We at New Vision Counseling and Consulting believe that by integrating God’s truths along with proven counseling techniques, we can help your mind, body, and soul as you cope with the changes ahead. We want to become part of your community as a source of encouragement, motivation, and understanding.

If you would like to learn more about our services and see how New Vision can serve you or your family, contact us today. If you have a loved one who is struggling through a season of change, share this message with them so they can feel empowered to regain control in a healthy way.




Is it Nostalgia or Fear of Change?

Ah, the good old days…when life was easier, we were younger, and the world was as it should be.

If you’re like most people, chances are you’ve surrounded yourself with items that bring back memories of a special time in your life. Maybe you’ve stayed in touch with friends and laugh over old photos on social media. Perhaps you kept certain items from those years, even if they are now outdated. You may even find yourself doing things a certain way simply because that’s how you’ve always done them.

There’s nothing wrong with feeling nostalgic of the past. In some seasons, it can even be healthy to look back and remember the ways God blessed you. But sometimes, what we may mistake as nostalgia is actually a deeply-rooted fear of change.

It is only natural to fear the unknown. We are creatures of habit and cling to what’s familiar. But if our eyes are constantly locked on the past and the way things used to be, we miss valuable opportunities to make new memories here in the present. Even worse, though, we take our eyes off of God and the incredible blessings He has in store for our future.

I had a client several years ago who shared the negative impact nostalgia had on her family. When she was in high school, her grandfather unexpectedly passed away. While she and her family grieved over this loss and painfully accepted the new way of life, her father became so fixated on the memories of his childhood with his dad, that for the next five years, her family wondered if any of the new memories they created were valuable to him at all. Her father was so fearful of what it would mean to live in a life without his dad, that he unintentionally forced his children to live without theirs.

In Jeremiah 29:11 God makes a promise. He says, “I know the plans I have for you…plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” You can’t afford to miss out on the amazing plans that are about to unfold, even if those plans come after a season of difficult and painful change. Remember, when God calls you to something, He will get you through it as well. So when you find yourself reminiscing, make sure you aren’t grasping for the past, but instead remembering God’s faithfulness so you can face this new season without fear.

Some questions to consider as you enter your weekend:

  1. What memories are holding you so tightly in the past that you’re distracted from the present?
  2. In what ways was God faithful to you in those seasons of blessing?
  3. Do you believe God wants to bless you in this new season He is calling you to as well?

Your Failures Don’t Disqualify You from God’s Best

3 steps to replacing the critical voices in your head

Have you ever found yourself in a situation where someone was unabashedly destroying you with their words. Tell me if any of this sounds familiar “You stupid idiot, why did you do that?” Or how about “Can’t you do anything right?” Or how about “You are not as pretty as, smart as, fast as, rich as, loved as…the list seems to never end.” If you have ever been talked to like this you know how awful it feels. How we can feel paralyzed and hopeless when someone who is close to us criticizes us like this. How can we value ourselves if someone who is supposed to be for us betrays us like this? Many of us have had a parent talk to us like this. Others, like me, have suffered feeling not good enough by the absence of a parent. But right now I am not talking about any of them. I am talking about you. What if this is the way your internal critic talks to you. Ouch!

The great news is today is your day to take back control. God did not wire us to tolerate critical and abusive words. He wired us to live and give love and that is where we are headed today. You have already done Step one and that’s identify the critical voices that are not serving you well.

Step two is to identify who they sound like from your present or past. If you are not sure then ask if it sounds like a male you know or a female you know. Sometimes you may need to pray and listen to identify the origins. When you get the answer write it down.

Step three is to look up in your Bible (or just ask Alexa) who God says you are. Ask how much He loves you and how He sees you. Does he think you are worthy of love, intelligent, good enough, and worth fighting for? If you are still not sure then Jesus dying to take your place is a good start.

Step Four is where the rubber meets the road and you activate God’s truth in your life. Select the top 5 scriptures and phrases you have found and immerse yourself in them. Do this a minimum of three focused times per day. This could look like morning, noon and night. In addition to reading and memorizing what is true, where a rubber band or set alerts on your phone to remind you to look at them throughout the day. And every time the negative voices begin spewing their venom choose to replace them with God’s truth. And watch your belief system slowly but surely begin to shift.

Shawn Maguire is a Licensed Professional Therapist who has served marriages, families and individuals for almost 25 years. He is the owner of New Vision Counseling, a place where therapists integrate. their faith with cutting edge counseling techniques to offer hope and healing in any circumstance of life. You can find out more about Shawn and his team at NewVisionCounseling.org or follow him on facebook and Instagram at NewVisionCounseling.

Your Comeback is Way Better than Your Set Back

Have you ever felt taken out by a person or a circumstance and felt like all hope was lost? Maybe that’s where you’re at today? This reminds me of a man in the Bible named Peter. Peter was the kind of guy who went all out for Jesus. He left his family and fishing career and was the guy who walked on water for at least a minute. Peter was rewarded by seeing miracles, being one of the 12 disciples and even an intimate part of Jesus’ most trusted inner circle of three. They ate together, traveled and ministered together and talked about issues like who would be the greatest. Peter’s dream of restoring Israel back to her former glory was happening and he was at the center of it all. He even told Jesus that even if everyone else deserted Him, he would not. For Peter, life was great.

And then Judas betrays Jesus and the life that he knows is jeopardized. But Peter is fierce and doesn’t go down without a fight. He brandishes his sword and defends his Jesus and the dream life he has been living. What happens next was the beginning of the end for Peter and the life he knew. Jesus tells Peter to put the sword away then heals the man Peter wounded. Soon after, the son of God who cast out demons and raised the dead was taken prisoner.

This was too much for Peter and he fled. He fled because everything he thought to be true had just been wrecked. Peter lingered at a distance and denied knowing Jesus three times as Jesus was being judged. He had lost his identity because his identity was in the dream of who he wanted Jesus to be and not who Jesus really was. And then Jesus was crucified and the finality of his loss was made certain. This was Peter’s darkest hour.

But then the resurrection and hope was restored! Jesus met up with Peter as the risen King. He then asked Peter 3 times “Do you love me?” The conversation reached the point where Peter was really hurt and said “You know I love you.” Jesus had to acknowledge the depth of shame and pain Peter felt in his failure and lost identity to prepare Peter to receive a new one. This would be Peter’s come back. Then Jesus said “go and feed my sheep”. This is the equivalent of Jesus saying your shame and failures do not disqualify you from your calling. I am validating you as a loved child of God who is qualified by what I have done. The focus has now shifted from Peter’s identity being in his beliefs and abilities to Jesus and who He says Peter is.

How have you experienced a set back or felt like a failure?
Pray and ask God to show you how he wants to take you from Set Back to Come Back?

Shawn Maguire is a Licensed Professional Counselor who has served marriages, families and individuals for almost 25 years. He is the owner of New Vision Counseling, a place where therapists integrate their faith with cutting edge counseling techniques to offer hope and healing in any circumstance of life. You can find out more about Shawn and his team at NewVisionCounseling.org or follow him on facebook and Instagram

4 Steps to Silence and Replace the Critical Voices in Your Life

Have you ever found yourself in a situation where someone was unabashedly destroying you with their words. Tell me if any of this sounds familiar “You stupid idiot, why did you do that?” Or how about “Can’t you do anything right?” Or how about “You are not as pretty as, smart as, fast as, rich as, loved as the list seems to never end.” If you have ever been talked to like this you know how awful it feels. How we can feel paralyzed and hopeless when someone who is close to us criticizes us like this. How can we value ourselves if someone who is supposed to be for us betrays us like this? Many of us have had a parent talk to us like this. Others, like me, have suffered feeling not good enough by the absence of a parent. But right now I am not talking about any of them. I am talking about you. What if this is the way your internal critic talks to you. Ouch!

The great news is today is your day to take back control. God did not wire us to tolerate critical and abusive words. He wired us to live and give love and that is where we are headed today. You have already done Step one and that’s identify the critical voices that are not serving you well.

Step two is to identify who they sound like from your present or past. If you are not sure then ask if it sounds like a male you know or a female you know. Sometimes you may need to pray and listen to identify the origins. When you get the answer write it down.

Step three is to look up in your Bible (or just ask Alexa) who God says you are. Ask how much He loves you and how He sees you. Does he think you are worthy of love, intelligent, good enough, and worth fighting for? If you are still not sure then Jesus dying to take your place is a good start.

Step Four is where the rubber meets the road and you activate God’s truth in your life. Select the top 5 scriptures and phrases you have found and immerse yourself in them. Do this a minimum of three focused times per day. This could look like morning, noon and night. In addition to reading and memorizing what is true, where a rubber band or set alerts on your phone to remind you to look at them throughout the day. And every time the negative voices begin spewing their venom choose to replace them with God’s truth. And watch your belief system slowly but surely begin to shift.

Shawn Maguire is a Licensed Professional Counselor who has served marriages, families and individuals for almost 25 years. He is the owner of New Vision Counseling, a place where therapists integrate. their faith with cutting edge counseling techniques to offer hope and healing in any circumstance of life. You can find out more about Shawn and his team at NewVisionCounseling.org or follow him on facebook and Instagram at NewVisionCounseling

How a Funeral can Help You Overcome Fear of Rejection

For most of my life I have been ruled by fear of rejection. I remember being paralyzed in elementary school when they were picking teams for kickball at recess. I wanted to be picked first, but kids picked their best friends first so I was left somewhere in the middle or end. Sometimes I wouldn’t even play. In junior high I was afraid to ask questions in many classes because I didn’t want to look dumb and be made fun of. As a result my grades were average because I didn’t ask for help. And I won’t even go into how many countless opportunities fear of rejection stole from me in college, my career and potential relationships. Lets just say the words painful and regret come to mind. Can you relate?

You may be wondering how this relates to a funeral? Great question and this story will explain how. I remember being at a loved ones funeral several years ago. I looked around and it was a big church with only about fifty people in attendance. I was hoping more people would come to my funeral. The pastor got up and shared some obscure story about the man that further validated my suspicion that the pastor didn’t really know the deceased. I couldn’t help but thinking this guy lived into his seventies and this is it! Only 50 people say you are important enough to take off work and be inconvenienced for an afternoon.

I remember reading a book that stated at most funerals 10 or less people actually shed more then a few tears and actually cry. And the number one factor determining whether or not 50 % of the people go to the gravesite is the weather. So this man lived his whole life and the weather can sway someone that easily? Sadly, I don’t think I went to his gravesite so I fell on the bottom half of the 50%. If he got another chance I wonder what he would do different. Do you think he would have let fear of rejection stop him? I mean, where were all the people he was afraid of? Where were all those he didn’t want to fail in front of or be rejected by? What about going for it in his career? Would he have chosen to go to school and do something other then manual labor all his life? Possibly?

At some point in the funeral I came to a conclusion. Do I want a church full of more then 50 people I have loved and who have loved me? Do I want more then 10 people to weep because of the impact I have had on their lives? Or do I want to continue living my life out of fear of not wanting to be embarrassed or out of my fear that compelled me to always please others? I thought, “I don’t care what they think of me anymore. “They” or the fear of being rejected by “Those people” has controlled me long enough! I think of a man named Oral Roberts who built a place called the “City of Faith” in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The city consisted of three skyscrapers built with the vision to bring all the healing power of God and medicine into one community to bring God’s best to all people. I bet when Oral arrived in Heaven God DIDN’T say; “Oral, I just wish you would have had a little more faith and and took a few more risks.” No, I bet He said “Well done; you believed me for everything and entered heaven having spent all his opportunities here on earth.”

I see the great men and women throughout history have one thing in common. They refused to allow the opinions of others, perceived or real, control them. And at their funerals families, communities and nations weep at their departure. I want to be such a person! How about you?

Shawn Maguire is a Licensed Professional Counselor who has over two decades of experience helping people heal from their past wounds and creating lives worth celebrating. He is the owner of New Vision Counseling where he works with a team of highly trained and compassionate therapists whose mission is to change the world by caring for one person at a time.

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