One Way to Overcome Fear—Every Time
You don’t have to be paralyzed by fear. Here’s what to do to cultivate the confidence to press on despite your feelings.
Fear. Perhaps there’s no emotion more common to the human experience. Google it and you’ll find a list of thousands of phobias ranging from “fear of rejection” to “fear of leaves.” We’ve all felt it. And unfortunately, it’s a stronghold that many battle every day.
Fear defined is “a feeling of anxiety concerning the outcome of something.” It’s often propagated through questions that tumble through our minds: “Will I get hurt by this person?” “Will God really provide this month?” “What if I fail in this venture?” Left unchecked, fear is debilitating and has the power to hold you back and keep you from the blessings and opportunities of God.
Fear is not a lack of faith, but rather, fear is simply misplaced faith.
For some, the answer to fear is to “have more faith.” These people make it seem as if faith is something that can be simply conjured up at a moment’s notice. Even if that were possible, the Bible assures God has already given a measure of faith to each one of us (see Romans 12:3). And it doesn’t take much of it to make a difference. Jesus encouraged that even faith as small as a mustard seed can move mountains (see Matthew 17:20).
Fear is not a lack of faith, but rather, fear is simply misplaced faith. When you and I give in to fear, we actually take the measure of faith that we’ve been given and place it on the negative. Simply put: fear is faith or the confident expectation that something bad is going to happen.
What to Do When You Feel Fear
The cure for fear is rather simple: redirect your attention to the goodness of God in your life.
Fear need not paralyze you. In fact, the cure is rather simple: redirect your attention to the goodness of God in your life. This is what David did just before he took down Goliath. He reflected upon how God delivered him from the lion and the bear. And it built his confidence that the Lord would rescue him again (see 1 Samuel 17:37).
This is also how the Lord instructed Israel to overcome the fear they felt before entering the Promised Land. “Don’t be afraid,” God instructed. “Just remember what the Lord your God did … the miraculous signs and wonders … The Lord your God will use this same power against all the people you fear” (Deuteronomy 7:18, NLT).
God Will Do It Again!
I’ve found reflecting upon God’s goodness particularly effective at curbing the fears I often face before taking new steps in ministry. In one particular instance, I battled tremendous butterflies regarding an opportunity that required me to move nine hours up the road. It meant relocating to a less desirable location and leaving great friendships for no friendships.
The confidence I found was derived from looking back into my history with God.
The real problem, however, was that the move involved joining a ministry that had plummeted to rock bottom due to poor leadership decisions over the years. The situation was so dire, in fact, that I wasn’t sure the ministry would even exist the next year. When I finally mustered up the courage to make the announcement to family and friends, nobody was happy. And many attempted to talk me out of it.
Certainly, the move looked foolish on paper. Still, I knew God was leading me to take the post. So rather than shrink back in fear, I pressed forward. The confidence I found to do so was derived from looking back into my history with God, reflecting on the countless times when He got me through difficult situations. As a result, I knew God would do it again. And He certainly did—in a big way.
Review Your History
Be assured that God will bring you through again. He’ll part those waters again.
Take a moment to review your history and I know you’ll see the same. The fact that you’re here reading this means that God brought you through circumstances you never thought you’d survive. Remember that class and those exams? When you weren’t sure how the rent would get paid? When you didn’t know if you’d ever feel better? If you would ever be forgiven? Be assured that God will bring you through again. He’ll part those waters again. He’ll deliver again. He’ll heal again. He’ll provide again. Hear this: God will do it again!
In whatever situation you find yourself today, God says the same to you: “Fear not! Remember those moments when I got you through. Just remember my goodness and trust me to move your mountain again.” Yes, the cure for fear really is that simple! Reflecting upon the goodness of God in your past is the key to confidence in your future.