Years ago, there was a popular reality game show called Fear Factor where participants would compete against each other by doing downright scary, gross and sometimes dangerous stunts for a grand prize. Contestants often had to face their fear of everything from heights to snakes to complete the stunts and win the big money.
Luckily many of us aren’t having to literally crawl through a pit full of snakes in order to successfully do what God’s calling us to do, but our fears are just as real, and just as intimidating. If left unchecked, those fears can stop us in our tracks.
What’s your Fear Factor?
Cindy hung up the phone and squealed in delight, unable to contain her excitement. Her boss had just offered her the opportunity of her career: leading their department’s annual major project. As project lead she would have final say on everything from the design and conception to roll-out. She would have to work directly with the company’s leadership, and various teams from different departments in the company, and she would also be the company representative for the external clients served by the project. It would bring her exposure on a company and public level. Her performance would be seen by many, judged by many. Her excitement quickly faded replaced by a sick feeling in the pit of her stomach.
Could she really do this? Did she have what it took to manage all the moving parts of the project and lead all those different people effectively? What would they say or think about her performance . . . and about her, personally? What if the project failed? Would she get the blame? Could see handle the magnitude of the project with the other work and personal responsibilities already on her plate? And what if she succeeded? Would she end up alienating the friends she worked with? She was trading her security for the unknown. Suddenly, Cindy wished that she hadn’t been so quick to say yes, and had asked for time to consider instead.
Face Your Fear with Faith!
A common acronym for Fear is False Evidence Appearing Real. Fear always presents itself logically, and sometimes, so subtly, that we don’t recognize the road blocks in our mind keeping us from acting on our opportunities is really just Fear. But God says that He did not give us a spirit of timidity or fear, but a spirit of power, love, sound judgement, and personal discipline and abilities that result in a calm, well-balanced mind and self-control (2 Timothy 1:7).
We have a choice. We can focus on all the fear factors that arise when we think about stepping out, or we can focus on our faith instead, believing what God says and trusting that He will be with us every step of the way.
Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. ~ Psalm 23:4
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” ~ Joshua 1:9
The next time you’re tempted to shrink back from a good opportunity, procrastinate on getting it done, or talk yourself out of doing it based on your ability, believe instead that God has gone before you and cleared the obstacles out of your path. Believe that He is taking hold of your hand and saying to you, “Do not fear; I will help you.” ~ Isaiah 41:13
Face your fear head on, feed your faith instead and say Yes!
Which of Cindy’s fear stops you from saying yes to your opportunities? Is it:
- Fear of what others will say or think? Faith it instead:
Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. ~ Deuteronomy 31:6
- Fear of failure? Faith it instead:
“Do not be afraid; you will not be put to shame. Do not fear disgrace; you will not be humiliated.” ~ Isaiah 54:4
- Fear of being overextended? Faith it instead:
“My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is perfected in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly in my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest on me.” ~ 2 Corinthians 12:9
- Fear of success alienating family and friends? Faith it instead:
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. ~ John 14:27
- Fear of trading security for the unknown? Faith it instead:
“For I know the plans I have for you” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
Do it on Faith instead!