What are some of your common fears?
One of mine? Heights! Or maybe is it really getting hurt? I don’t know, maybe both. It seems to get weirder as I get older and the consequences of what that fear come to life could actually mean. I sit down on tall edges I have to make my way down instead of just jumping, I move my body to the center of the car when we’re driving precariously close to the edge of a mountain (as if that makes any difference at all).
Fears come in all shapes and sizes and although there are many things we could fear in this life, the fears we want to talk about today are the ones that hold us back from things God might be calling us to do. It could be anything from restoring a relationship, to writing that book, to starting that business, what is holding you back?
Just like me, we think leaning into the middle of the car will help us be safe, but it’s just an illusion, it makes us feel better in the moment but it’s not helping at all. We do have life experience that has hurt us and we, as human beings, generally want to avoid anything that could cause us pain or make us feel uncomfortable. We like safe and predictable. We might be bored, stuck, and even frustrated as we see others jump towards their thing but we aren’t so sure we are willing to give up “safe” for the risk.
The Lord knows how hard it is to be courageous. When Joshua takes over for Moses and God puts him in charge of leading the Israelites into the promise land He tells him over and over again to be strong and courageous, to not be frightened. If Joshua simply spent too much time comparing himself to Moses or recounting how the people responded the last time he came back and told them they should take the land, well he wouldn’t have gotten very far.
In a Ted Talk by Tim Ferris talks about an exercise he does every month called “Fear Setting”. Like goal setting, you take some time to make some lists, but instead of writing out your goals you really dig underneath what your thought processes are in your fears. He shares a quote that says, “We suffer more in imagination than reality” and I don’t know about you, but I have found this to be very true.
We can use this fear setting in any area of our lives where we generally make excuses as to why we aren’t doing something. For the sake of examples, I will go ahead and share the actual topic I used when I first heard about this as we go through each section.
Download THIS free worksheet I made for you that you can print out and fill in or simply write in a journal or notebook these questions…
1) What if I…..
This is where you fill in what you are afraid to do? It could be anything you’ve not been willing to face. For me, mine was….
What if I try and lose the weight AGAIN?
Now, in three columns place the titles
Worst possible thing that could happen?
What could I do to prevent these?
If it happens how could I fix it?
So my first column looked like this
Worst possible thing that could happen….
Lose all the weight and gain it back (AGAIN)
Hate the food
people reject me
It’s too hard
I gain weight
I become proud
Now in response to all those I wrote the next column
What could I do to prevent each of these from happening?
Don’t view it as temporary
Learn to cook and find more recipes
Switch up workout routines
Get different people and let the ones who reject me go
Keep going, don’t give up
Make small goals and changes
Start right now
Take it to God, ask for His help, stay dependent
If these things happen how could I repair them or ask for help?
Start again, you’re not a failure if you keep trying
Give myself permission to eat my way of eating
Change it up, join a dance class, hire a trainer
If they reject me for being my best and most healthy self that resides in them and they were never my friend or don’t really have true love for me
Try again, find a community of support, post your progress, redo what worked last time
Find a different way, modify
track your food, do the research, experiment until you find solutions
When you have gone through this exercise and named your fear and even what you wonder might happen and then how you could respond to those outcomes, somehow it becomes a little less scary. You take something that is vague and frightening that exists in your subconscious and transfer it to the physical and make yourself look at it and tackle it.
Let’s not try and excuse ourselves from what it is God is calling us to by saying things that sound super spiritual to ourselves like we’re trying to remain humble or waiting on God. While both those things are good and important, there also comes a time to get out there and start moving toward the thing that God is calling you to. That might not mean stepping on a stage, but it might mean talking to that neighbor, pursuing reconciliation, or daring to believe that the dream you see in your heart, might actually be from God. We don’t love and serve our dreams, but what if they really are God and we are so scared we might be wrong and people will point that out to us, that we never try? We will be in blatant disobedience to God Almighty.
In 2 Timothy 1:7 it says, “For God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power and love and of a sound mind.”
A commentary called Ellicots Commentary for English Readers says this about this “spirit of fear”. It reads, “Or better, perhaps, the spirit of cowardice. It is a grave reminder to Christians of every age and degree that all cowardice, all dread of danger, all shrinking from doing one’s duty for fear of man’s displeasure, proceeds not from the Spirit of God.”
Here is the thing, the fears that we usually face as to why we are not stepping out usually have something to do with “man’s displeasure” with us. Why on earth are we putting up with living under this when God has not given us this? When we live under this idea, or that people will criticize or reject us, we are essentially saying, “I care what they think over what God has said”.
So what if you fail? What then? What if you get it wrong and spend time building something or working towards something that wasn’t “the thing”. When our hearts are surrendered to God (and we know when they are or not) we know that He will work all those things for His glory. The big thing is to remember this isn’t about us looking good, being fabulous, famous or being right about our own call, this is all about a faith that say, “I”m not sure but He is worthy of trying.”
Go and build.
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