Fear. At some point or another, we’ve all experienced it. That knot in your stomach when you have to give a big presentation at work. The panic that sets in when you feel a lump or have sudden pains in your body. The anxiety about what tomorrow may bring.

Video by Joyce Meyer Ministries

Fear can be healthy when it protects us from legitimate danger. But often our fears far outweigh the actual threat or prevent us from moving forward in life.

In this post, I want to share 7 common irrational fears that many people face. Recognizing these phobias and fears is the first step to overcoming them through faith in God.

1. Fear of Not Pleasing God 

Many believers secretly harbor a fear of not being good enough for God. You may constantly feel like you need to do more to earn God’s approval. This phobia stems from thinking God’s love depends on our performance rather than His grace.

The technical term for fear of God is theophobia. But this is different than the reverence for God that the Bible encourages. Those crippled by theophobia are trapped in a cycle of trying to be perfect to merit God’s love. Of course, it’s impossible to ever measure up on our own.

The solution is to accept that God loves you unconditionally because of what Jesus did on the cross. Our standing with God does not change based on our works (Galatians 2:16 NLT).

Yet we know that a person is made right with God by faith in Jesus Christ, not by obeying the law. And we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we might be made right with God because of our faith in Christ, not because we have obeyed the law. For no one will ever be made right with God by obeying the law.


We can rest in being the Father’s beloved children (Luke 3:22 NKJV).

And the Holy Spirit descended in bodily form like a dove upon Him, and a voice came from heaven which said, “You are My beloved Son; in You I am well pleased.”


He is pleased with us because of Christ’s sacrifice, not our feeble efforts.

2. Fear of Not Getting What You Want 

Many people struggle with the fear of not getting their desires met, whether it’s a relationship, career, family, or opportunity they desperately want. Psychology calls this fear of failure atychiphobia.

This phobia manifests itself in trying to control outcomes and manipulate people. We excessively worry about our plans not working out. The root issue is that our happiness depends on circumstances going our way rather than finding contentment in God.

The solution is to surrender our plans to God’s sovereign will. As Jesus said, we must “lose” our life to gain it (Luke 9:24 NKJV).

“For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it.”


We can pray boldly, but trust God to answer however He chooses. When we find joy in God’s presence, we’ll be satisfied, whether He grants our request or not.

3. Fear of Bad News and Trouble 

Many of us dread what calamities tomorrow may bring. This fear of getting bad news or anticipating trouble may show up as anxiety about potential health issues, accidents, or tragedies. You assume the worst-case scenario in uncertain situations.

But Jesus tells us not to worry about tomorrow and to trust God with each day’s concerns (Matthew 6:34 NKJV).

“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”


We can live with “holy expectancy” that God will work everything out for our good in His timing (Romans 8:28 NKJV).

“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”


Even in trials, He promises to be with us and strengthen us to persevere (Isaiah 41:10 NKJV).

“Fear not, for I am with you;
Be not dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you,
Yes, I will help you,
I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”


Rather than obsess over hypothetical problems, we can focus on God’s faithfulness in the past. He assures us that He will never leave or forsake us (Deuteronomy 31:6 NKJV).

“Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.”


Our Lord is bigger than any adverse circumstances we may face.

4. Fear of Failure 

Many people are paralyzed by the fear of failure and rejection if they make mistakes. Failure activates feelings of shame and the fear of letting others down. Psychology classifies both the fear of failure and rejection as types of atychiphobia.

However, our worth is not determined by our performance or other’s opinions. God declares we are dearly loved children in whom He delights (Luke 3:22 NKJV).

And the Holy Spirit descended in bodily form like a dove upon Him, and a voice came from heaven which said, “You are My beloved Son; in You I am well pleased.”


When we mess up, He doesn’t love us any less. His amazing grace empowers us to get back up and try again without condemnation (Romans 8:1 NKJV).

“There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who[a] do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.”


Understanding our beloved identity in Christ frees us up to take risks without anxiety about what others will think. We can shrug off failure, knowing God uses our weaknesses to reveal His strength (2 Corinthians 12:9 NKJV).

And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.


The only true failure is allowing fear to hold us back from God’s plan.

5. Fear That Things Will Never Change (Fear of Permanence)

One tactic the enemy uses is making us believe a problem or bad habit will last forever. People struggling with addiction often fear they will never break free. Folks in difficult marriages lose hope that their spouse will ever change.

But we serve a God of miracles who can make a way when there seems to be no way! He promises to complete the good work He began in us (Philippians 1:6 NKJV).

“Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.”


We should never give up praying for loved ones and challenging situations (Luke 18:1 NIV).

“Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.”


Remember, with God, nothing is permanently broken or hopeless. Sarah thought she was too old to have a child before God supernaturally intervened (Genesis 21:1-2 NIV).

1 Now the Lord was gracious to Sarah as he had said, and the Lord did for Sarah what he had promised. 2 Sarah became pregnant and bore a son to Abraham in his old age, at the very time God had promised him.


He wants us to believe He can still do the impossible today.

6. Fear of Imperfection

Many people crave constant approval from others. They are hypersensitive to being ignored or excluded, fearing it means they are unlovable. Psychology classifies an extreme fear of imperfection as atelophobia.

This phobia may stem from being rejected in the past. People with atelophobia may become people-pleasers, compromising their values to avoid disapproval. Tragically, their worst fear eventually happens when people get tired of their neediness.

True confidence comes from knowing we are fully loved by God. The Bible says He chose and adopted us even before the world began (Ephesians 1:4-5 NKJV).

4 Just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, 5 having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will.”


When you embrace your identity as a beloved child of God, you’ll worry less about what others think. Let His unconditional acceptance be enough.

7. Fear of the Unknown

The future is uncertain, and that terrifies many of us. Whether it’s questions about tomorrow or the looming void after death, the fear of the unknown has a tight grip. 

When facing the unknown, we can find peace by remembering that God holds the future. He promises to go before us and prepare the way (Isaiah 45:2 NKJV).

“I will go before you
And make the crooked places straight;
I will break in pieces the gates of bronze
And cut the bars of iron.”


We never journey into the unfamiliar alone.

Rather than being paralyzed by hypotheticals, we can live one day at a time. As Jesus said in Matthew 6:34 NIV,

“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”


God will give us strength for whatever comes next.

Key Takeaways: Overcome Fear Through Faith

Recognizing common phobias and fears is the first step to overcoming them. Here are some key takeaways:

  • Fear often exaggerates the actual threat. Take time to identify if your anxiety aligns with reality.
  • Bring fearful thoughts out into the light of God’s Word. God’s truth exposes lies and irrational fears.
  • Remember God’s past faithfulness. What He’s brought you through before, He can do again.
  • Trust God’s character and promises. He is always good, always loving, and always with you.
  • Take courageous action before you “feel” brave. Faith overrules fear.
  • Seek counseling if anxiety is paralyzing. Get the help you need to live free.
  • Look for a supportive community. We all need encouragement to move past fear.
  • Fill your mind with Scripture. God’s Word renews our perspective.
  • Pray continuously. Cast all your cares on the Lord, who cares for you.


The solution to any fear is believing that God is bigger. He lovingly yet boldly challenges us to “fear not” because He holds the whole world in His hands. We can step out in courage when our lives are anchored in Him.

Overcoming phobias or irrational fears requires identifying distorted thoughts and beliefs fueling them. The first step is acknowledging the anxiety and seeking help through prayer, counseling, medication, or self-help strategies. With professional treatment and God’s strength, you can conquer your fears!

Frequently Asked Questions About Phobias and Fears

Q. What are the most common phobias?

A. According to the American Psychiatric Association, the most prevalent specific phobias are:

  • Fear of animals (zoophobia).
  • Fear of insects (entomophobia).
  • Fear of heights (acrophobia).
  • Fear of blood (hemophobia).
  • Fear of needles (trypanophobia).

Q. What are the most common social phobias?

A. The most common social phobias include:

  • Fear of public speaking (glossophobia).
  • Fear of strangers (xenophobia).
  • Fear of being alone (eremophobia).
  • Fear of embarrassment (ereutophobia).

Q. How do you treat a phobia?

A. Some of the most effective treatment options for phobias include:

  • Exposure therapy: Gradually facing a feared object or situation in a safe, controlled way.
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT): Identifying and challenging irrational fearful thoughts.
  • Anti-anxiety medication: The doctor may prescribe medication to reduce anxiety symptoms.
  • Relaxation techniques: Deep breathing, meditation, and mindfulness to calm anxiety response.
  • Hypnotherapy: Can help address the subconscious roots of specific phobias.

Q. What causes irrational fears?

A. Irrational fears and phobias typically have roots in:

  • Traumatic experiences.
  • Observed modeled behavior (i.e. parents).
  • Biological predisposition to anxiety.
  • Distorted thought patterns.

Q. How common are phobias?

A. Specific isolated phobias affect approximately 7-9% of the population. When including social phobias, the lifetime prevalence is over 12% of people. Women are twice as likely to be affected as men.

Q. Can you suddenly develop a phobia?

A. Yes, in some cases phobias seem to appear out of the blue following a triggering event. Or smaller fears can snowball into full-blown phobias over time.

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