Imaginary Fear or Is It Real Fear?

Fear is powerful. But, it can be imaginary fear. Control people often can't see the difference. If you are a control person, please learn to ask, "Is my fear real or imaginary?"

Why is it so important?  Because you can change your controlling behavior, which will help improve your relationships.

Really? Can control people change?

Yes! You can stop trying to get everyone to live the way you want. And, when you do that, you lighten your burden and remove the load you put on those around you. But it only happens when you start practicing freedom for yourself and others.

Unfortunately, even if you know God allows freedom, you most often need more evidence to change your thinking. So, an excellent place to start is to think about imaginary fear and real fear. How can you know the real from the imaginary? That is a tricky question for most people, but very tough for control people.

So, how can you know if fear is imaginary?

Imaginary Fear or Is It Real Fear?

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. – 2 Timothy 1:7

How Can You Know?

The answer comes from considering time – as in the past, present, and future. Control people see current behaviors and forecast a future result of the behavior, and that future result is always bad!

Here is something to memorize.

Imaginary fear refuses to use MAY for unknown outcomes!

When you have the urge to control, you use WILL instead of MAY; in other words, it WILL happen! That drives even more energy to prove the “FACT” that bad things WILL happen.

This does not mean that we don’t believe in boundaries and controls. You will see how control, freedom, consequences, and self-governance are outstanding combinations that fit God’s ways. We call it the Freedom V!

Fear Drives You to Control

In my son's early life, his unorganized, unkempt room irritated me. That unclean room became a huge issue when I mixed truth with speculation. I projected dire future results that would multiply upon him if he didn't become responsible and clean his room. "If he is not responsible for small things, he will not be responsible for big things."

Imaginary fear demanded my thinking to see a messy room translate into poor work ethics and difficulty keeping a job. Worse, I believed he wouldn't be able to support a family, and he will… (fill in the rest of the story with heartbreak and tragedy.)

But reality says I CAN'T know the future (apart from what God has revealed), so freedom for me would never come until I understood the difference between real and imaginary fear.

The imaginary fear drives other fears. You're afraid of them experiencing the consequence and needing to initiate the consequence. That creates a significant emotional conflict. Neither is a great option for you, which drives you to control. “I don’t want to see them go through that, so I must prevent it from happening!” Or, “I don’t want to be the ‘bad guy’ to put the consequence on them, so I must prevent it from happening!”


When you fear what might happen, that creates a structure that demands control! You may know the FEAR acronym. Our adaptation of it is…

Future Events Appearing Real

For you and me, it is time to realize that when fear is in the FUTURE, it is imaginary because the future has not happened.

"But the probability of it happening is real!" Sure, there are always probabilities and possibilities, but even if it has a 99% chance of happening, you still don't know if it will. Therefore, it is imaginary.

The critical element is – what is the real threat? What am I afraid of right now? It is often not the situation or other person’s behavior but your fear of what might happen!

So, learn to ask, "Is this fear real or imaginary?" Stop letting imaginary fear drive your life!

It's time to stop believing you know the future!

PURSUING THEIR BEST - Freedom in Relationships

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