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Oh, God! Quick: Fight, Flight, or Freeze???


Your heart races. Stress stings your pores. Beads of sweat sneak through your skin.


You don’t know what to make of it, but it has set you on edge. Threatened. Afraid. Fearful. Uncertain. Confused. You can:


  • Fight,
  • Flight, or
  • Freeze.


These are your body’s instinctive reactions to fear. We all have them.


Jesus’ followers felt fear—on many occasions, it was warranted. On one occasion, three disciples accompanied Jesus up a mountain. There, Jesus revealed himself—and I mean transformed himself—in such radiant light that the disciples didn’t know what to make of it. They were afraid. They heard the voice of God clearly, and they were shaken to the core.



While he (Jesus) was still speaking, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and behold, a voice out of the cloud said, “This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased; listen to Him!” When the disciples heard this, they fell face down to the ground and were terrified. (Matthew 17:5-6)



The disciples panicked. But don’t miss this:



Jesus came to them and touched them and said, “Get up, and do not be afraid.” (Matthew 17:7)



Jesus came to his disciples. He drew near to them. Although the disciples went up the mountain with Jesus, they were still a short distance from Him. When He saw their fear, He came to them. He brought them to himself.


Even more, He touched them. Not just any touch, but a touch of comfort and strength. And His voice—not angry, annoyed, belittling, or critical—but calm.


He encouraged them: Get up. Come nearer to me. Get close. I know you’re afraid, but listen to me: There’s no need to fight. No need to flee. And no need to freeze. I’m here to encourage you—not to frighten you. I’m here to show you who I really am—and who I can be in your life, if you would only listen to me.



Look what happened next.


And lifting up their eyes, they saw no one except Jesus Himself alone. (Matthew 17:8)



The presence of Jesus, His touch, and His voice were the only things that reassured them enough to raise their heads again. And when they felt safe enough with Him, they looked and saw no one but Jesus himself. Jesus—Jehovah, their salvation—saved them from their fears. Jesus alone. No one else.



They were so close to Jesus that all they saw was… Jesus!



Fears were gone. The instinct to fight, flight, or freeze vanished. They were safe with Him—as they always were.


Dear one, we panic, especially when God wants to show us who He really is in our lives. God loves us. And when He urges us to listen to Him—through His word, prayer, counselors, or others—it’s only natural for our pulse to sprint off with a bang.


  • We want to fight what God says.
  • We want to flee in the opposite direction.
  • We stiffen every muscle and freeze.


But be encouraged: God wants the best for us—and the best is in Him and through Him. He sees our fearful conditions, has compassion on us, and comes to us. No belittling, no criticizing—just Jesus. Tender. Loving. Calm. Close.


Sense His presence. Cuddle up to Him. Lift your eyes and see Him—only Him.


Fight, flight, or freeze? With Jesus, no need.


How to handle fear


Come alongside…. What is God trying to show you? Are you afraid? Are you fighting, fleeing, or freezing up? How can you change your response to Him? Do you have an example of this from your own life? Share it with us by leaving a comment below. Remember, you can comment anonymously, if you so desire.



Resources for Dealing with Fear



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Daphne Tarango is a participant in affiliate programs with Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, DaySpring, Church Source, Hazelden, Christian Strong (via Conversant and ShareASale). These advertising services are designed to provide a means for sites like to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to said merchants. Some images and articles may contain links to products on merchant sites. Should you choose to make purchases through those links, please understand that I will receive a small commission. Please do not feel like you need to use these links to make any purchases. The links are only for your convenience. Thank you.