My parents never seemed to go anywhere, seemingly content with the quiet life they lead at home. Or so I thought. As it turns out my mother would love to have travelled to Canada to see her cousin or to Australia to visit family there. She dreamed of being able to travel to many beautiful places in the world just to be able to breathe it all in. But year by year goes by and still they don’t travel beyond the borders of their home country.
The reason was quite simple: fear. They seem scared of lots of things –spending too much money, the cat left behind at home, going somewhere they don’t speak the language and not being able to communicate, getting sick abroad, etc. Now, sadly, they wont travel anywhere. My father can no longer walk and is confined to a wheelchair due to Brain Cancer and my mother is at home caring for him, unable to go out for too long just in case he needs something. My mother is content, but I know she feels some hidden regrets that they didn’t do more.
Far too many of our own dreams die because of fear. Too many of us let fear stop us from pursuing something the Lord may be leading us to do. I have started to look at my life and at those around me to understand what it is that I’m afraid of…
A friend told me once that FEAR is an acronym for False Evidence Appearing Real. In other words, there’s no real threat of immediate danger or loss of someone or something dear to us – perhaps there’s nothing to fear at all. Yet fear continually holds us back from becoming more than we are.
Although Easter is now past, I am reminded of the story of the Lord rising on the third day from Matthew 28: 5-6:
“But the angel answered and said to the women, ‘Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for he is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.’”
After seeing the angel, the women “went out quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to bring His disciples word”. However, on the way to bring the disciples, they meet Jesus Himself who also tells them:
“Do not be afraid.” Matthew 28: 10
The Lord was crucified and rose again from the tomb asking us to “Rejoice” and “not be afraid”. Perhaps He does not want us to be trapped inside of ourselves because of our own fear. This is something I am actively trying to work on. When I experience the feelings of fear, I stop and ask myself what is stopping me. Here’s a process I found that works for me:
Face my fear
Face the fear and pray on it. What is it that I’m scared of? It’s really important to be super honest with yourself, the Lord, and other people.
James 5:16 tells us to “…Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed.”
A trouble shared is a trouble halved, is something my mother used to say and sharing with someone what you are scared of, can help you to get the support you need to move forward.
Find the Root of the Problem and Pray
Prayer is the key thing here. Asking the Lord to help you. No problem is too big or too small for the Lord to take on. But I have realised over and over in life that if you don’t ask, you don’t get… So inviting the Lord in to help us, accepting that we cannot do it on our own, is the next step to getting to the root of the problem.
Focus on the Positive
Rather than focusing on the issues or problems that increase your fear, change the focus to a more positive attitude to see the possibilities and opportunities that may be present in what you want to achieve.
Sometimes there’s a gift that you can give to others in facing your fear. Instead of focusing on the fear, what’s the light at the end of the tunnel?
Asking for strength and courage to face the issue is a small step forward. Taking small steps along the way will move you forward to face the fear.
Fear is something we face most days of our life. However, turn to the Lord to give you the courage to overcome fears no matter how big or small and then give it the time and faith to allow you to take action. I always remember that the Lord is with me every minute of every day, in particular when I’m fearful or weak. “Rome wasn’t built in a day” was another of my mother’s pearls of wisdom. No instant gratification here… this process can take time.
In Isaiah 41: 10, the Lord promises: “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”
Whenever I get a sense that the Lord is calling me to do something I feel fearful of, I try to say ‘Yes’ even though my fear is telling me ‘no’…
God is bigger than your Fear
I often worry about the things I’m afraid of, causing more anxiety and fear. However, I try more and more to trust in the Lord and know that in trusting God anything is possible.
In accepting His will and understanding that He can handle anything I throw at him, fear lessens and anxiety recedes. As Psalm 27:1 says, “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?”
With this in mind I walk taller and move forward knowing that He is with me always no matter what fear I will face.