3 Things to Remember in Facing Your Fears
One of my favorite scenes in Indiana Jones occurs at the end of the Last Crusade. Indiana Jones comes to the edge of a cliff with no way forward. He glances to the side, but there is no way around. He rereads the clue that tells him that only a leap will prove his worth. He knows he has to keep going, but he sees no discernable path before him. He mutters the words, “A leap of faith” and, in fear, grabs his heart. But then he sets his face in quiet determination, picks up his foot, and steps out. Instead of falling to his death, he finds a hidden pathway that leads him across the great abyss.
When I think about this scene, I’m always amazed at how Indiana Jones reacts to his fear. Each of us has experienced this same fear. That feeling in the pit of your stomach when it seems like a million butterflies are trying to break free. Your heart pounds as you are met with a desire to run away accompanied by a paralyzing numbness that speads through your bones.
All women fear something.
But, as followers of Jesus, who have devoted our entire lives to His leading, Christian women experience a plethora of fears that, if not faced, will paralyze our ministries. As I’ve listened to coworkers, classmates, church members, and friends, I hear a resounding chorus:
“I think God is calling me to go back to school, but that idea scares me.”
“I think God is calling me to start this ministry for him, but I’m afraid I’ll fail.”
“I think I should start sharing my faith, but I’m terrified that I might not know how to answer a question someone asks me.”
“I think God is calling me out on the mission field, but I’m scared I might be wrong.”
“I think I’ve found the man I want to spend the rest of my life with, but I’m afraid of getting married.”
We all face fears. The question is, how do we, as Christian women, respond to those fears?
Remember that God walks with us
Joshua was a man who faced his fears. He was chosen by God to be the replacement of Moses, one of the greatest leaders Israel had ever seen. Joshua had walked with Moses. He had followed this revered leader and now he had big shoes to fill.
And honestly, he had every reason to be afraid. See, he had experienced the good times, when Moses was respected and followed, but had also seen the rebellious hearts of the people whom he was now called to lead. Not only did he face challenges with his own people, he also was about to lead them into war with their neighbors. Yet, in spite of these uncertainties and fears, God continually told Joshua that he did not need to be afraid. Instead, he said, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified. Do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9).
So what does this mean for us today? We can move forward, taking that leap of faith, because we know that wherever that leap may take us, the Lord will be with us. We are not alone when we face our fears.
Remember that when we are weak, then He is strong
Sometimes, we fear something because we do not think we will be strong enough to endure it. We are afraid to start that next degree because we don’t know if we have what it takes to complete it. We are afraid of those marriage vows because we might end up divorced like so many others. We are afraid of sharing our faith because what we could get ridiculed or asked a question we don’t know how to answer.
When we face those fears, we do so with a power that is beyond our comprehension. 2 Corinthians 12:9 says, “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”
When we stand in the shadow of our fears, we turn our eyes to the tower of our strength and find that our help comes from the Lord.
We are weak. Left to our own strength, we most likely would drive our husbands crazy, drop out of school, and shy away from sharing the gospel. But, we can face our fears because we have Christ’s strength in the midst of our weakness.
It’s ok to admit that we are not strong enough to do the task before us. But that realization cannot paralyze us. Instead, we admit our weakness and cling to the Giver of our strength.
Remember that God is good and the Reward is worth it
Jesus tells a parable of a treasure in a field (Matt 13:44). A man finds this treasure. He puts it back and rushes off to sell everything he owns. He didn’t have Amazon, Ebay, and Friendswap to help him sell everything. No, it probably took time for him to sell everything. And the entire time that he is selling his possessions, that treasure is waiting in the field.
What if the man had stopped and said, “I know this treasure thing would be great, but I’m scared that if I do this, my family will laugh at me or the treasure won’t even be there. At least now I know I can be safe and secure. I have a roof over my head and I’m comfortable?”
What if the man turned around and went back to his normal life? What if his fear stopped him from gaining the greatest treasure he had ever seen?
In the parable, however, the man saw the great treasure and rushed off to sell everything he owned because he knew the treasure was worth the risk.
Let’s face it. Following God takes a little bit of risk and a whole lot of trust.
God calls us to do something and our fears well up inside of us. Following God is risky. We don’t know the outcome. We feel safe and secure where we are, but we know that if we don’t obey his calling, we leave a treasure in a field for someone else to find.
When we are afraid, we can trust that God is good and that the treasure at the end is worth the sacrifice of stepping out in faith and doing what He has called us to do.
So the next time you face your fears, take the leap of faith, knowing that God will be with you as you jump. Step out of your comfort zone, remembering that He is your strength. Let your feet follow Him through uncertainty, believing that His call is worth the risk. And even though you face your fears, you will find the quiet peaceful assurance that comes with following Him.