I originally wrote this post for the Women’s Non-Profit Alliance. The original cross-posting can be viewed here. (While you’re there, you should look into this amazing organization, which helps women start and grow nonprofit ministries through coaching, training, and support services!)
Fear can be crippling. It stops us in our tracks, overwhelmed with questions of what might be. Have you ever stopped to consider just how powerful fear can be? Fear has the power to prevent you from obeying the will of God, if you listen to it. Are you letting your fears get in the way of your calling?
Fear is like a fog,
obscuring our view and filling us
with poisonous thoughts of untold dangers.
Fear is not to be trifled with. It is real. It is terrifying. But it is temporary.
In fact, fear can be very healthy. It’s no coincidence that fear is attributed as a proper response to God more than 300 times in Scripture. Standing before God should make us fearful. And I don’t just mean simple reverence or admiration. Fear—real heart-stopping, gut-wrenching fear—is the response we humans have when faced with something inconceivable, un-containable, and insurmountable. It’s the response that begs us from the core of our being to STOP what we are doing and re-frame our perspective. Standing before God should make us need to pause, to take a beat and reconsider everything about who we are and where we belong in this universe. Encountering God should make us fearful.
Yet, from Moses at the burning bush to Mary carrying the Christ-child, consistently in Scripture God (and His messengers) repeat one baffling phrase: “Do not be afraid.” Fear should make us pause; but the comforting words of God should make us want to keep going. Let fear stop you in your tracks, but only for a moment. When God says “do not be afraid,” listen carefully.
Contrary to popular opinion, the opposite of fear is not courage. The opposite of fear is faith. We drive forward through the fog because we have faith that the road will be there to support us, even if we can’t see it. We follow obediently when God calls us because, despite our fears, we have faith that He will not lead us to destruction. Perhaps we need to stop trying to confront our fears—batting away at the fog as though we could defeat it, destroy it, or bottle it up. Instead, what if we focused on the comforting voice of the Almighty God, who says, “Do not be afraid, follow Me.”
What leap of faith is God asking you to take right now? Are you hesitating longer than you should?