October 11, 2013
Faith and Love Conquer Fear
One thing many people struggle with on a daily basis is fear. I am not talking about rational fear that tells you not to walk down a dark alley (listen to that kind of fear to keep you alive and safe). I am talking about the kind of fear that stops you from doing something in accordance to God’s plan because you are afraid of failing, being rejected, or some irrational fear like “if I do this (insert what you are afraid to do here), then I will die,” or “If I do this, I fear I will end up on the streets.” Most of the things you fear will happen when you take a certain step towards a dream of yours will never actually happen if you go ahead and take that step you are afraid to take. However, when you let fear stop you from taking the step you know deep down you should take, then that is when true failure happens and you stay stuck where you are.
Take that bold step you have been scared to take! For example, if you dream of being an actor then find auditions and go to them. If you are a writer, write on a daily basis and read the kind of articles and stories published for format and to get a feel for the kind of audience you want and then you will learn what will get your writing published. Study the medium in which you want your writing to be published – whether it be newspapers, magazines, books, and learn the format required for submission of articles or stories and then go for it! Write an article or story and submit it to the newspaper or magazine you want to publish it and if the first ones you submit to don’t respond or publish your writing then try again with a different newspaper or magazine (and same with books- if the first publishing house does not accept your manuscript then try a different place and look around for the right publishing company who would publish the kind of books you intend to write so you have a few different choices). If you enjoy cooking and make delicious food, then go for that chef job at the restaurant you dreamed working at (or start off at a restaurant in need of a cook that is not too far from where you live and has a good menu of food) and save up to own your own restaurant. Or if you already have enough money to open up your own restaurant and still have a nest egg to live on until your restaurant is successful then do the research required to successfully open and run a restaurant and do it! And this is for any business too really – if you have a dream of owning your own business then save up the money, do the research on what needs to be done to be successful and go for it.
Taking steps towards a dream job is not the only places where people experience irrational fear. There is irrational fear in relationships and everyday decisions in pretty much all areas of life. And if fear is ruling in one area of your life, chances are it is ruling every area of your life. You may be in love with someone but you were hurt in the past and are afraid to let the person you’re in love with know how you feel so instead of telling the person how you feel, you avoid them and go with someone else whom you feel safe with. That is unhealthy and you, the person you feel safe with, and the person you are in love with all end up getting hurt unnecessarily – which is the thing you were trying to avoid by not being with the person you are in love with. It makes absolutely no sense! Lean on your faith in God that things will work out how they are meant to and tell the person you are actually in love with how you feel and be only with them and no one else (in a romantic relationship). There are people who don’t speak up for themselves or those who cannot stand up for themselves as often as they should (if they do at all, some don’t ever) because they don’t want to cause any additional problems and make the person who is oppressing them or someone else angrier or give any fuel to add to their fire. There are times you need to stand up for yourself or others and times to remain silent. Pray to God about it when the situation arises to find out if you are meant to stay silent and let God handle it or if you should say something, and let God’s words guide you on what to say. Some people are so consumed by fear, they are afraid to leave their house (or place of residence).
Know this, wherever you go and whatever you are doing, God is with you. If there is something you should be doing or need to do but are afraid to do it, no matter what area of your life it is (including going to the doctor for blood testing if you have been feeling ill beyond a simple cold or the flu), pray to God about it and ask him to guide your steps and equip you with all you need to take the action you are afraid to do but is necessary for you to do (including the strength and courage and peace of mind and heart) and listen to and watch for his guidance. Some people are afraid that it is too late for their dreams to come to pass because it has been so long. But there are waiting periods everyone must go through, just like the farmer who must wait for their crops to grow completely before they can harvest and sell (or eat) them. During the waiting periods, continue to take the steps you can to work toward the dream coming to pass (like writing every day if you are a writer), help others, and continue to find other ways to serve God until your time has come to see your dreams come to pass. Remain in faith and be faithful and you will be rewarded.
Faith is an excellent way to conquer fear and another way to conquer fear is with love. Going back to the example of the person who is in love with someone but afraid to tell them, once they have overcome their fear and tell the person they are in love with how they feel openly and honestly, they will see that letting their love for the other person conquer their fear will have its rewards when they discover that they are loved back unconditionally. Even if by some small chance the other person does not feel the same way, if they are a good person (or even better, a good person who is a child of God), then they will find a way to let you down easy and be nice and kind and you can move on. However, more often than not, when you are truly in love with someone, the same person you are in love with is also in love with you. When someone is not nice to you and you are afraid to stand up for yourself, let love and forgiveness direct your steps and speak firmly but gently to the person. Proverbs 15:1 says, “A Gentle answer deflects anger.” John, one of Jesus’ disciples who wrote the Gospel of John and 1 John, 2 John and 3 John said in 1 John 4:18 says, “Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love.”
The connection between having faith and love that can conquer fear is to know God and to know God’s true character. When you know how forgiving, merciful, loving, kind, and patient our God is and how deeply he cares about us then you will be able to deepen your faith in him because you know he loves you and that his power can turn your situation around in the blink of an eye (although God rarely works that way – usually victory comes one small step at a time and the small steps lead to the huge step in victory). Get to know God more deeply and learn to apply his commands and way of life to your life daily and let your faith in him and love for him grow strong and deep and unshakable. Have faith that through God, everything is possible, including your dreams coming to pass, and always choose love even when someone is being mean or disrespectful or both. Take action steps in faith towards your dreams and let love for others quell your fear of what they can do to you. Proverbs 29:25 says, “Fearing people is a dangerous trap, but trusting the Lord means safety.” The only one people should fear is the Lord, as is mentioned in Proverbs 14:27 – “Fear of the Lord is a life-giving fountain; it offers escape from the snares of death.” The type of fear mentioned in Proverbs 14:27 is reverence of the Lord (respect and love for God). Know that only God has the power to destroy man completely. If man does it, you still have eternity with Jesus to look forward to. Only God can take that away from you if your sin is so great that it is unforgivable because you refuse to repent. But when you repent of your sins and keep in step with God’s ways and let the Holy Spirit guide you, then you have nothing and no one to fear.
What steps should you be taking today? Is there food you should be cooking or baking? A story you should be writing? Are you in love with someone but afraid to tell them for fear of getting hurt and being rejected? Is someone oppressing you or someone you know and a little voice is telling you that this is an instance where you should stand up for what is right? Take the necessary actions you need to be taking and start today by praying to God about it. For those who are afraid to tell the person you are in love with how you feel – tell them before it is too late. Tomorrow is never guaranteed and you will forever regret never telling them how you felt when you had the chance to. For the chef or baker, cook away or bake those cookies, cakes, or brownies! For the writer, write that story and watch and listen for God’s guidance on where to publish your story. Today you are being encouraged to stop letting fear rule your life and to lean on God in faith and let love and your faith conquer fear and all other strategies the enemy uses to hold you back from God’s best and watch as your lives transform for the better! Each step you take in faith and with love brings you one step closer to your victory.