Fear not, for I am with you. Do not be dismayed. I am your God.
I will strengthen you; I will help you; I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.
Fear, anxiety, worry, it’s all the same. Your chest tightens and you hold your breath without knowing. Then, the visions in your head play like the world’s fastest vacation slideshow and the movie always ends in humiliation, tragedy or loss. You try not to think about it but every time the movie in your mind plays, the end is never smiles and confetti.
“I’ll never be…”
In fear, our natural instinct is fight or flight. You can try to run from your fear or you can fight it. You can find ways to avoid what you are afraid of, like Jonah and end up in the belly of big fish. Or, you can fight your fear like Saul did when he feared that David would be greater. That didn’t end well either. Either way, fear controls us. Fear blinds us to the truth. Fear scares us into taking matters into our own hands.
According to research, one of the most common fears is the fear of speaking in public.
Speaking from experience (pun intended), I find this to be true. Standing behind a podium in front of a few or many strangers (even friends) makes me light headed and my heart rate rocket. It gives me great joy to share the story of how God has worked in my life, but the seconds just before I stand up and move to the podium, I think I will faint. I am afraid I will make a fool of myself, or the audience will reject me or worse, they will be appalled by my story. This fear is so real for me that I shy away from such opportunities. I run. Fear keeps me from telling the great things God has done in my life. Fear stops me stops me in my tracks and keeps me from sharing God’s great work.
The fear of public speaking is a form of wrong fear. Wrong fear is believing a lie. These fears are not visible. These fears are born in our mind and designed by the enemy. “I can’t do anything right.” “I am not lovable because of my past.” “I am not valuable.” When we listen to the lies and believe the lies we become the lies. Our fear is it might be true.
There is a remedy for our fears…
Trusting God. In the face of fear run to the One who created you. If fear holds you captive, remember who can deliver you from captivity. We are told not to fear and remember that He is with us, giving us all we need: strength and His victorious helping hand. When you fear what people are saying, trust God who knows everything about you. At the moment you feel the first twinge of anxiety, know that God has every moment of your life in His hands. Trust Him.
Today, what are you afraid will happen? What fears stop you in your tracks? Fear is not from God (2 Timothy 1:7). In scripture, we are commanded “do not fear,“ do not be afraid,” or “fear not” one hundred times. Yet, we are afraid. What if we looked to God in our fear? Would we have thoughts of impending disaster? What if we trusted God with the outcome? Would we praise Him instead of trembling? Fear is an emotion; trust is an act of will. Trust God.
Father God, thank you for being our strength and helping us to be victorious over the fears that keep us from moving forward, from doing your will. Give us clear vision to see that our fear is a liar, that what you say about us is truth.
Psalm 34:8-9–Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him! Oh, fear the Lord, you his saints, for those who fear him have no lack!
Psalm 56:11–in God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can man do to me?
Proverbs 9:10–The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.
Name the one fear that keeps you from moving forward. Is it fear of rejection? Failure? What is the root of this fear? What steps can you take today to trust God with that fear? Pray, tell God about your fears. Also, memorize scripture. Knowing what God says about fear is important to understand how He will help us in our fears. Talk to a trusted friend. Sharing our fears with others helps to remind us that we are not alone.