We all know fear. Our being afraid has a long history. In fact, we learn of and experience fear from the beginning. Literally.
Afraid? The Beginning of Fear
In Genesis 3:10, the word afraid comes trembling and tumbling out of Adam’s mouth as he responds to God’s call to him by saying, “I was afraid because I was naked.”
Can you relate? It’s not that you and I typically find ourselves afraid because we suddenly discover we’re naked—or is it? In a sense, if we dig deep, we usually find the essence of our fear comes from thinking and then believing that if we make a certain choice or allow ourselves to be less than in control (vulnerable) we will experience loss in some form.
Not generally a loss of clothing. But a loss in terms of hurt, humiliation, rejection, and pain. When we’re afraid we worry that we will find ourselves exposed (naked) as a result of the thing set before us.
When I think about it, I can’t recall a fear I’ve had in my lifetime for which this doesn’t hold true. Can you? So, here are four questions to ask yourself when you’re afraid to be, do, or say what God is calling you toward.
4 Questions To Ask When You’re Afraid
What am I afraid of?
You’ve heard it before … you have to name your enemy before you can conquer it.
“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”
Sun Tzu, The Art of War
Before David fought and killed Goliath he asked this question. “Who is this pagan Philistine anyway, that he is allowed to defy the armies of the living God?”
One of my biggest fears is being in a room full of people I do not know and not being invited into the conversation. My fear is rejection. But God is clearly calling me to overcome by having my husband run for an elected position in our local government.
Needless to say, we go to frequent gatherings of people who I don’t know and who often glom together because they are already friends.
But naming my fear (which comes from the enemy), I can take steps to fight and overcome. Which leads me to question number two.
When you are afraid, ask yourself “What scares me?” Naming your fear brings clarity and courage to move forward.
What strengths and resources do I have to fight and win this battle?
David knew himself well enough to know what strengths and resources would bring victory—a sling and a stone and the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. (1 Samuel 17:45)
Now, back to my room full of strangers scenario … I now do what Lisa Turkeurst taught in her book, Uninvited. She shifts the focus from herself to serving others.
Lisa remembers she has the fullness of the Spirit walking into a room with her. So, she looks for those who may need a good word rather than looking to receive one. Which disarms – or pushes beyond – the fear of rejection immediately.
In essence, Lisa decided to start looking to serve others not herself. Or to put it another way, to shine for the Lord in loving service to others rather than gratifying her own neediness and pride.
Here’s the thing, the battle isn’t about you or me. It’s about glorifying God. David knew his battle was for God’s glory. As he approached Goliath he said:
Today the LORD will conquer you …
and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel …
This is the Lord’s battle, and he will give you to us!
1 Samuel 17:46-47
When you’re afraid, what strengths and resources do you have to fight your battle? Who is your battle about defending? You or the Lord’s glory?
What’s the worst thing that can happen?
What’s the worst thing that would happen if I walked into a room and no one spoke to me? Perhaps I’d choose to feel rejected … which would cause me emotional pain … but I did choose it, after all.
The experience wouldn’t kill me—well, maybe my pride but not me! And knowing Jesus, he would use it to draw me nearer.
So really, there’s no downside to facing my fear. Isn’t that the case for every fear you can think of? Will any of your fears, without your choosing it to be so, keep you further from the Lord?
Not even death can do such a thing.
When you’re afraid of doing something God is calling you toward ask yourself, What’s the worst thing that can happen if I do this?
What’s the next best step?
Now that you have some clarity about what your fear is and the worst thing that could possibly happen if you face it, you need to determine what you will do with this information. There are a couple of options:
- Go forward in spite of your fear.
- Do nothing and stay stuck.
In Genesis chapter fifteen, the LORD and Abram have a discussion. God tells Abram “Do not be afraid, Abram, for I will protect you, and your reward will be great.”
Does it get any better than that? We get to go forward in whatever God calls us to, not alone, but with the Creator of the Universe—the LORD. He is with us and protects us!
If God is for us, who can be against us?
Or how about this?
I will personally go with you … and give you success.
God promised to go with Abram to protect and bless him. And God promises to do the same for you.
The truth is, you have nothing to fear as you step forward onto God’s path and his purpose for your life. He will protect you and you will be rewarded.
What next step is God asking you to take as you move forward in his purpose for your life?
Answer the questions offered above and then, one more: Are you willing to face your fear and receive your reward?
I invite you to share your comments about what you’ve read! And if you’re ready to move forward to know and live your God-designed purpose and need help getting unstuck, overcoming doubt, fear, and confusion I’d love to chat with you. Click here to contact me to gain more insight and schedule your personal and complimentary conversation.