Fears are a natural part of life, an honest and real emotion. Our hearts race. We tremble. We feel a nauseous sinking sensation in our stomach. We’re terrified. Frozen. We’re not going to be brave this time.
We’ve all experienced fear. Often it’s a healthy reaction to a dangerous situation. Other times, it’s rooted in past or recent trauma or chronic worry. Conquering a fear can offer countless opportunities and accomplishments we’ve previously avoided. Sometimes fear of loss or harm motivates a courageous act we wouldn’t otherwise consider.
Each of us must face our fears if we want to move ahead in life. Maybe it’s leaving home for the first time, moving, flying, heights, elevators, a job interview, starting a new job, public speaking, failing, or __________. My fear is dogs—especially barking dogs. I live in a rural area where most people own dogs. Heading out for a morning walk, I pray the armor of God (Eph. 6:10-18), and in a particular area, I recite the twenty-third Psalm. I refuse to let fear stop me from enjoying my hike. With God’s help, I overcome fear and proclaim 1 Chronicles 28:10: “Be brave, determined! And do it!” (msg).
My grandkids now have a cute little dog appropriately named Barkley. Gradually . . . bravely . . . I’m getting to know this little shaggy mutt and we’re becoming friends. Something those who know me thought could never happen. Actually, I didn’t either.
We usually try to avoid the object of our fear; but I can’t avoid all dogs.
If you’re afraid of heights, you might try to avoid high places, but that’s not practical either.
Sometimes, we’re afraid of failure so we don’t even try. I didn’t start writing until I was fifty years old. I’d never taken a writing class or had any aspirations of becoming an author, but I had started a Woman to Woman Mentoring Ministry at my church and other churches were asking how to start one at their church. I knew God wanted me to share this ministry, but I would have to write about it. I had never sat at a computer to compose, and I didn’t think it was even possible. All through seminary, I wrote my papers in longhand and my husband typed them into the computer. I was computer illiterate and had no desire to learn.
But with much prayer and prompting from God, I overcame my fears and doubts and sat down one day to type my thoughts into the computer. To my surprise, the ideas flowed as my fingers flew over the keyboard.
Then new doubts taunted that I was too old to start writing. But God reminded me that I was only getting older by the minute so I'd better start now. That was twenty books and twenty years ago. I’m so glad I didn’t let those initial misgivings stop me from the writing and speaking adventure God had planned for me if I would only trust and rely on Him.
God didn’t create fear, anxiety, doubt, or worry. He wants us to call on Him when we experience those mind hijackers: “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! . . . The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:4–7). Paul wrote these uplifting words while sitting in a Roman jail, not knowing if acquittal or beheading was in his future.
Overcoming some fears may require the assistance of counselors, therapists, or doctors. Admitting you need help and acquiring it is courageous. A friend recently shared wise words from Mary Anne Radmacher on a wall hanging in her home: “Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says I’ll try again tomorrow.”
In times of trial, we may find ourselves, by God’s grace, able to overcome our fears in an instant, or our journey could prove to be a long process. The triumph is always worth the struggle, as the Lord helps us remain brave and steadfast in the face of uncertainty. Let any fear or apprehension send you straight to prayer and reliance on God.
For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. 2 Timothy 1:7 (NLT)
What fear has been stopping you from something you want to accomplish?
*Any excerpts from Everyday Brave used with permission from Leafwood Publishers
Janet Thompson is an international speaker, freelance editor, and award-winning author of 20 books. Her passion is to mentor other women in sharing their life experiences and God’s faithfulness. Her new release is Everyday Brave: Living Courageously As a Woman of Faith available at Amazon, Christianbook.com, Barnes and Noble, and signed at author’s website.
She is also the author of Mentoring for All Seasons: Sharing Life Experiences and God’s Faithfulness; Forsaken God? Remembering the Goodness of God Our Culture Has Forgotten; The Team That Jesus Built; Dear God, Why Can’t I Have a Baby?; Dear God They Say It’s Cancer; Dear God, He’s Home!; Praying for Your Prodigal Daughter; Face-to-Face Bible study Series; and Woman to Woman Mentoring: How to Start, Grow, & Maintain a Mentoring Ministry Resources.
Janet is the founder of Woman to Woman Mentoring and About His Work Ministries.
Visit Janet and sign up for her weekly blog and free online newsletter at womantowomanmentoring.com.
About Everyday Brave: In Everyday Brave, Janet explores the extraordinary bravery of fifty ordinary women in the Bible. Twenty-eight women of today also give testimonies of realizing their strength and courage through God’s love. As Janet shares the stories of these women, she reminds us that the real heart and substance of bravery comes from unconditionally placing our hope in the only One who can give us the courage to stay the course.
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