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The Fear of Misunderstanding

Updated: Dec 4, 2022

I did not realize the underlying fear I had when it came to communicating and particularly with asking questions. I recently noticed the habit of asking a question and then following it with an explanation of why I am asking.

Unconsciously, I had taken on the false responsibility of trying to help the receiver interpret my question or statement so that they don’t misunderstand.

The Lord graciously exposed this fear of being misunderstood and started pointing out moments where I would ask a question and immediately explain why I was asking. Typically within 5 mins of asking a question or communicating an opinion in a statement to a person, I naturally start to wonder what they might have made of the question and then I feel the need to fix it.

I had to be reminded that the right people in my life already understand my heart & intentions and are not concerned about getting me wrong. Thus, the same goes for you- the right people in your life are not doubting your motives or intentions, you are loved and fully known! Therefore, we don’t have to defend our motives and intentions.

The fact is that in the bid to help interpret or justify your reasoning in order not to be misunderstood- you are babying their thinking and-or micromanaging them ( consciously or unconsciously ) which does not lead anyone to the fullness and freedom they need.

Your declarations to confess:-

I am a clear communicator,

I am confident in my thought process and

I do not need to justify my thoughts or actions.

What is the truth?

It is not your Job to think for people or manage their interpretations or understanding. They have the right to clarify where or when they are not clear. Let them have the opportunity to do so. Control means trying to convince or manipulate an outcome - that is not who you are! No-one should feel deprived of the choice of differing outcomes at any time.

Overtime, I have learnt there are root causes behind every reasoning or pattern of behavior. For this fear of misunderstanding, here are some of the root causes I found.

1. The fear of man: whether unconscious or conscious fear of man:- it refers to the fear of the consequence of not pleasing 'man'. We need to beware of people-pleasing spirit. It can sometimes hide under peace making. One thing about the enemy is his craftiness with perverting gifts. Peacemakers love to avoid conflict but the extreme side of any gift is the perverted side of the gift.

2. The feeling of unworthiness- you may feel unworthy of the time it might cost the receiver to clarify anything that’s unclear.

3. The fear of anger - the fear of others becoming angry with you.

4. The fear of your own anger - this is actually a condition called Angrophobia. This could look like managing peoples interpretation so they won’t respond in a way that will trigger you. While I don’t confess or believe in magnifying phobias, I know that there is an aspect of it that’s true to this topic.

5. Perfectionism - while most people proudly refer to themselves as perfectionists, however it could be a door for spirit of control. Perfectionism can manifest as the perverted gift of excellence.

6. Fear of rejection and the avoidance of conflict - click here to read my last publication on the fear of rejection.

7. Fear of losing the relationship - this could be a good thing but it can easily become an unhealthy fear or false display of care.

8. Guilt complex:- when you always persistently feel that you did something wrong or believe that you have the tendency to be wrongly interpreted. Although, this is a lie that has a root, it could also be low self esteem or the lack of esteem.

9. Unprocessed and unhealed trauma from past relationships e.g where your motives were always questioned, misinterpreted or suspected…so you have in return learnt to question or judge your own intentions.

10. You have a fear of being critiqued or receiving feedback ( rationally or irrationally).

11. You feel the need to justify or explain your actions or motives. In particular this is highly unhealthy when motivated by fear.

12. False humility - is pridefulness in disguise for humility.

The road to freedom:

Here are practical steps to finding breakthrough over this fear:- finding deliverance from any fear requires some intentionality and willingness to learn, unlearn and relearn.

The very first step I took was to be aware of my pattern and start to trace everything back. The more I reflected, the more I realized that it was a very common practice for me to ‘question’ my questions to people, try to control or influence how people interpret them.

This then led to the next step which is to surrender. Being aware made it easy to consciously admit and then run to the Father. Specifically, I prayed “Lord I am sorry I have looked down on myself in this way. I surrender this fear of being misunderstood to you.” Please will you give me confidence in return. In Jesus name. (Here is an invitation for you to say this pray)

Let the Lord encounter you in your process. For me, this looked like communicating shorter messages, asking short direct questions even when it felt frightening, practicing asking a simple question without explaining the reasoning behind it. Although it was scary at first, I am finding that people are responding with direct & uncomplicated answers and rarely have need for me to justify my reasoning before they respond.

Action steps
  • Take authority by doing the opposite of the fear you are feeling: e.g. one way to counter a lie is by speaking or acting the truth. Consciously determine to counter any thoughts that bring the fear of being misunderstood and replace it what the Lord says about you. Replace every lie that comes to your head with God’s truth. There is power in using your positive words to break lies and declare truth.

  • Process with people you trust and admire: find a community of healthy and pure hearted people that you can help you - proverbs 27:17. You will never know how much you can unpack by being around healthy people intentionally.

  • Tracing out ‘the why’ and ‘the how’ is key to finding the root of a pattern. Depending on your personality or where you are at, this could be easier alone with the Lord or with trusted friends that care about your freedom as much as you! Start with being true to yourself, what makes you afraid of being misunderstood. I have shared a couple of possible causes above, check which of them relates to your own ‘why’.

  • Find a mentor, friend, or someone to process what you are learning or unlearning.

Evidently, this is not as simple as it sounds : You will have to first know and believe what the Lord says and thinks about you. If you are a christian and you are not sure what the Lord thinks of you: read the word, listen to edifying sermons or surround yourself with those that encourage and call you higher up (Proverbs 13:20, Proverbs 27:17).

Truly accept that you are worth people’s time, believe that your people know your motives, they like you for who you are & who God made you to be and as such, you do not need to strive to be understood or accepted.

If believing that you are loved is a struggle or feels unreal to you, please sit with the Holy Spirit and give Him permission to take you on a love encounter with Him, He knows all things. I believe firmly that we all have access to the Holy Spirit.

As a believer, I am growing to allow the voice of God to be the loudest in my thoughts. This has helped to cut off the weight of striving to please men. I think that the spirit of people-pleasing is like eating a poison disguised as chewable vitamins.

Scripture reference

I love that Isaiah 2:22 states - Of what importance is it for me to be afraid of mans impression? Another version says: Stop trusting in mere humans, who have but a breath in their nostrils. Why hold them in esteem? My interpretation of this verse is that I do not need to justify my intentions or motives to anyone because the One who matters the most knows and sees it all.

No man’s approval should be our qualifier for success and no one should be placed on a pedal stool. We are all on a journey and no one perfectly knows it all.

I am actively intentional about processing with the Holy Spirit, this allows me to declutter my mind and hear Him whisper truth over all lies I believe. I encourage you to take advantage of this too, it is FREE and safe. Keep practicing how to listen to Him until you fully know His voice. Start with comparing the voices you are hearing with the word of God. It carries all the truth and confirmation you will need.

Romans 12:2 - “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” This scripture says it all- let God transform you, as no one knows a thing better than the originator.

Writer’s note:

If you are reading this and relate with my process or parts, I pray for you that you will see the Lord's arm of restoration over your life. More than anything, I pray you will find peace that surpasses understanding.

I pray for you for courage to believe in the beauty of your being, there is no one like you and ever going to be anyone like you. Don’t deprive the world of knowing the real person that you are because of the fear of being misunderstood. You are special and PRICELESS and WORTHY of Love.

Believe me, you are a special package and it is a privilege for a tonne of people to have you in their life. What an Honor to even have you come on here and read all the way through.

Freedom finder, I want you to know how much the Lord is rooting for your breakthrough. I cannot describe the intensity of both spiritual and physical obstacles I battled with during the process of writing, but I could feel the Lord strongly reinforcing me through it all because someone needed this freedom from the fear of misunderstanding. The enemy is attacking any form of resources that bring freedom to the children of God. The enemy’s delight is to lead you to distractions that take the focus away from your assignment.

Let me know how this is impacting you in the comment section. Thank you for reading and please subscribe to stay in touch.

STAY Tuned for the next content coming soon!!.

End Notes -

This content is fully written by me through an inspiration from the HolySpirit, personal process, history and relationship with the Lord.

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