When was the last time you overcame fear by doing the thing you want to avoid?
Fearless people. I admire them. We all have our wirings, while some people are risk takers and do things afraid, they have no problem figuring it out as they go. I am not that person. For all the overthinkers and feelers in the house. Our story is different.
The unending rolodex of scriptures dealing with fear and anxiety can keep us full with necessary soul food. Let’s look at what Paul says about anxiety in Phillipians.
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.Philippians 4:6-7
Prayer precedes peace.
Prayer prepares us for our assignment with peace as our umpire. It is possible to be at peace with God but scared to death at the same time. This is when God calls us to move ahead and do it afraid. This is real faith in action.
Here’s a quick story. See if you can relate to doing something afraid:
It was a drop the mic moment.
Not because something awesome was said, quite the opposite. As I stepped up to the podium nerves that were already working overtime decided to ramp up a little more.
My shaky hands fumbled the microphone straight onto the floor.
With an inward gasp and nervous chuckle I bent over picking it up. Dying inside, I said, “How’s everybody doing?”
With a quick scanning of the room I saw faces of those who wanted to save me, faces of those giggling, faces of gasp and then of course, my face attempting to look just fine with zero embarrassment.
I began to tell myself, “God would not bring me to this without carrying me through it.”
I felt my nerves subside as God’s peace calmed my heart and helped me form my words. This message was for them, not about me.
He prepared their heart and I refused to step back again into a familiar pattern when fear kicked in.
It’s convenient and easy for me to hide instead of hone the message. A familiar struggle I battle. No where in scripture does God ask if we are afraid. He simply reminds us to use our faith and remember who we are in him.
Gideon knew this battle well too. He hid from the midianites because of fear. We aren’t alone in our struggle with fear.
The National Institute of Mental Health reports that public speaking is the most common phobia ahead of death, spiders, or heights. Public speaking affects 73% of the population.
Facing The Anxiety
All of us can face anxiety in different areas of our lives. Maybe yours isn’t around public speaking but you would rather take a 15 hour car drive than fly by plane.
Maybe it’s having someone over for dinner and you break out in a sweat thinking about your cooking skills that seem lacking. So you drop $60 taking someone to dinner that you couldn’t afford to do but it kept you away from the anxiety of having people over.
How about going back to school? The sheer terror of failing keeps you in limbo about it, so it’s easier to procrastinate.
When we give into fear in areas of our lives it seems like we are making progress by eliminating things that are hard or scary.
It gives us a false sense of peace because that thing isn’t looming over our head.
Everytime we say no to something we need to say yes to, we take a step back.
Aagh yes, our comfort zone. It’s cozy and snuggly insulating us from every difficult thing we are prompted to do or try.
Let’s look at how Moses did this. “Now therefore go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall say.” Exodus 4:12
Knowing what God was asking him to do was overwhelming, revealing his insecurities. We can all relate to Moses.
When the plan involves facing fear or doing hard things we start doing the moonwalk backwards avoiding uncomfortable things or God’s nudge to obey.
Just like us, Moses had a solution! He wanted to provide Aaron as the mouthpiece to avoid his fear and insecurities about speaking well.
Doing hard things is brutal if we don’t keep our eyes and voices lifted towards the Father. God is calling all of us to do something.
God Calls Us To Do Hard Things
God calls us to do hard things, but it’s possible when we are God reliant and not self reliant. Focusing on His abilities through us establishes confidence.
When the plan involves avoiding fear or doing hard things we start doing the moonwalk backwards avoiding uncomfortable things or God’s nudge to obey.
Maybe, you are a natural leader and others follow you because you have influence. The pressure of leading and being responsible for others following freaks you out.
Instead of stepping into something you naturally do, you take two giant steps back. Fear wins again.
A friend suggests a new outfit or haircut that is trendy and cute, and because you fear being seen or noticed, You say, “I could never wear that and you step back again holding onto insecurity.”
A new opportunity for a job comes to you but it requires you to move to a new area. A city you have never been to. You don’t know a single person, which is unnerving, so you slide back into the familiar cubicle that keeps you feeling secure.
We can all identify the times in our lives when we would rather stay on the fringe and stay closer to the back of the room. I like the back of the room so I can get out quick. The irony is how often God leads me to move in closer.
From church to movie theaters, to work meetings we love to fill up the back first, so much that preachers start roping off the back rows.
I’ve been known to get comfortable. Our ruts become bumper guards, they don’t challenge our faith. It requires the same of us day after day. Nothing more than the same ole, same ole. It doesn’t stretch us. Move us out of the back row. In fact, we can float along with great ease.
Our entire lives from our birth we crave comfort and familiarity and it seems God starts removing the hammock of comfort.
Our tendency to back up when things get tough or vulnerable makes us cranky when we don’t discern what God is doing in us. Our flesh loves ease, but our spirit man needs to stretch.
The tendency to want to be in the back keeps us hesitant in getting involved. It seems to keep everyone’s eyes off of us but our eyes on what everyone else is doing. Constantly observing but never doing. This can be the breeding ground for judging others rather than serving others with love.
Everything God does in our lives requires us to stretch. He teaches us to steward our time, talent and treasure. The stretching comes to all of these areas. To live generously by growing up into a strong mature believer.
Can you think of areas in your life you may be wanting to coast along and just stay in a position of ease?
Has God asked you to do some hard things? Are you trusting more in what you can do or what God can do through your eyes being on him?
Scriptures to meditate on :
Colossians 3:23-24- And whatever you do , do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from The Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve The Lord ChristColossians 3:23-24
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid; nor dismayed, for The Lord your God is with you wherever you go?Joshua 1:9