“God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7
Let’s face it, we live in a world that is consumed with fear. For one minute, turn on the news or scroll through your social media platforms and you will find story after story that is centered around fear. From terrorist attacks, the Zika virus, cancer-causing foods, riot attacks, political worries; the list goes on and on. And if we’re not careful, we’ll find ourselves consumed with the fears of the world; so consumed that we will paralyze ourselves from ever living out the calling that God has given us.
Can I be real with you? If we ever want to experience the life that God has entrusted to us, we have to choose daily to do away with the fears that the enemy would love to strangle us with. As leaders, influencers and women of faith, we have been called to #BeDifferent and to #BeWorthFollowing and as long as we allow fear to creep up into our lives, we will miss out on the opportunities that God is trying to present to us on a daily basis.
Back in 2011, I decided to step away from my fulltime job in order to stay home with my little boy and pursue the calling that God had on my life. One of the first things I did was sign-up for a business training that was taking place in Chicago. And even though I was excited to attend, I’ll admit, my mind and fears almost didn’t allow me to go.
You see, the night before there were news reports stating that there would be some bad storms rolling into Chicago the following day, the day I was flying in. And while I’m not completely fearful of flying, I do tend to get a little anxious when I’m about to head up into the sky. And sometimes, storms scare me. There, I said it.
Honestly, there were thoughts of just canceling my trip. My mind starting playing games on me. The more I watched the news, the more the enemy was messing with my mind and causing me to become fearful. But deep down inside, I knew that I couldn’t allow my fears and anxious thoughts keep me from going where I believe God wanted me to go. I knew that I if I cancelled the trip, I would regret it forever. So, in that moment, I decided to trust God and I decided to be fearless. And what a great trip it was!
You see, all of us experience fear at different points in our lives. Even to this day, when I’m getting ready for a trip, my mind tries to play tricks on me again. Whether I’m flying or driving, the enemy tries to do whatever he can to distract me and keep me from moving forward. I’ve had to reach a point in my life where I say, “God, I will not allow my fear of flying to keep me from experiencing all that you have for me.”
But what I’ve learned through my experiences is that what we do with that fear is what determines whether or not we will allow ourselves to experience the good things that God has for us. Fear is what ultimately holds many women leaders and influencers back from experiencing the success that is waiting for them.
Let me ask you, what causes you to be fearful? What are some of your fears that are keeping you from experiencing the best life that God has for you?
For a moment, let’s look at Matthew 14:22-32. Here we read about Jesus walking on water and then Jesus invited Peter to walk on water. As you read through this passage, I want you to consider a few things:
- Why didn’t the disciples recognize that it was Jesus walking on the water? Was it because they were overcome with fear? Fear from the storm, which then led them to have blurry vision around everything else? Where in our lives do we fail to recognize that Jesus is right in front of us? Maybe Jesus is trying to show us something, but our vision is blurry because the only thing we are focusing on is the fear we are experiencing. Why do we do this to ourselves?
- When Jesus realizes that the disciples are scared, He says, “Take Courage, it is I.” How many times does Jesus try to tell us this but yet, we can’t hear Him because our mind is so focused on our fears?
- Peter then says to Jesus, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to you on the water.” Jesus then says, “come.” Once Peter was out on the water, he began taking his eyes off of Christ and instead, allowed himself to focus on his circumstances, his fears (the storm, winds, waves), and he began to sink. Can you relate? Do you feel as though you are sinking in an area of life right now? In your business? In your ministry? Could it be that you’ve started focusing on the things around you, which have brought about fear, instead of focusing on Jesus?
- Lastly, when Peter realized that he was sinking, he cried out to Jesus who then grabbed him and said, “You have so little faith, why did you doubt me?”
Just like Peter, there have been far too many times in my life where I have experienced fear and because of that, have allowed that fear to keep me from experiencing God’s best in my life. Just like Peter, we tend to experience fear in our lives when we feel and know that we have no control over certain events, or even when we begin something new or step out in faith.
I can REALLY relate to this story. Not only can I become anxious when it comes to storms if I allow myself to, but I can become fearful of things like flying, something that I really don’t have any control over. I almost didn’t go to San Diego, California for a conference one year, due to my anxiety around flying and earthquakes. And wouldn’t you know it, my last night there, there was an earthquake and I felt my hotel building sway from left to right. Yep, I think God was trying to teach me something there. But when I think about and look back on that trip, goodness, I would have missed SO many good things, had I not allowed myself to go due to fear.
Let me encourage you, when Christ calls you out of the boat, be willing to step out. Don’t allow your fears to keep you from experiencing all the good things that He wants to pour out upon you. And don’t allow your mind to play games on you.
Be fearless in pursuing what God has called you to. When you allow your fear and insecurities to keep you from becoming all that God created you to be, the world is at a loss. The world misses out on your gifts and talents that are so desperately needed.
What fears are holding you back today?
- Fear of failure?
- Fear of what others will think?
- Fear of criticism?
- Fear of not being good enough?
- Fear of not being smart enough?
- Fear of success?
- Fear of others knowing about your past?
- Fear of responsibility?
- Fear of accountability?
- Fear of not saying the right thing?
- Fear of rejection?
Friend, we do not need to fear because we have the King of kings on our side; God has not given us a spirit of fear. And if we long to #BeWorthFollowing, to #BeDifferent and to be used by God, we have to make the decision today to not allow fear to hold us back any more.
“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” ~Isaiah 41:10
Dare to BE who God has called you to be! Dare to #BeWorthFollowing!