Hi everyone, Rob here. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about courage. This also means that I’ve been thinking about fear. This is the heart of things for me. The life of faith; of living for Jesus and his kingdom; means dying to fear and embracing courage. We need to ask ourselves the question, “what are we afraid of?” Correction. We need to ask God “what am I afraid of?” God knows the secrets of our hearts better than we do. It is also an act of faith, and therefore courage, to ask God to expose and bring to light the hidden fears that keep us from living a life of bravery and faith.
So I’ve been asking God that question. I was hoping to hear that I’d died to all fear and I was now an unshakeable force of light for the kingdom of God! But I knew that wasn’t true. Yes, I have been dying to fear, especially the fear of having nothing to offer that pervaded my thinking for many years. However, God exposed and brought to light my fear of being overwhelmed and in too deep by life/people/work. In other words I am still cautious, still self-protective and still faithless at times. That wasn’t the whole story though. God got specific. It was when the threat of being overwhelmed loomed that the fear surfaced. When I was tired, when unexpected demands came upon me, when others around me were stressed, when deadlines loomed – that was when I got fearful, panicky and wanted to hide from the world. God was exposing my failure to trust him and his goodness during those times. The good news? He was now inviting me to hand over my fear, to learn to trust him and to trust that in him, I have what it takes.
I’m in the early stages of this latest process but I’ve already learned a few things.
1. Fear hates to be named and exposed. This is why asking God the question, “what am I afraid of?” is so important. The fear is coming from the enemy and his tactics have to be exposed in order to be defeated. Once the fear is named it becomes smaller and a way forward is revealed.
2. Everyone has fear. You are not alone. Fear defines far too many of us but it doesn’t need to. Break out from the pack and confront it.
3. You don’t need to take the journey alone. There are many out there who can help you on the journey; pastors, counsellors, spiritual directors, authors, amazing friends and family members and so on. But they can’t help you if you keep the fear to yourself. If you allow it to be exposed it’s amazing how much strength God will give you. Yes, doing that is scary, but it’s a far scarier prospect to allow fear to define you for the rest of your life.
4. Dying to the fear is only half the battle. Courage needs to be embraced as well and courage comes from trusting in God’s goodness and love for you, and trusting that in him you are enough and have what it takes.
5. It takes a lifetime but the journey is worth it!
So, remember God’s words in Joshua 1:9: “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
Here’s a few books that have helped me on the journey:
Daring Greatly and The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown
Wild at Heart, Desire and Waking the Dead by John Eldredge
The Me I Want to Be by John Ortberg