Do you ever feel fear? We all do at one time or another.
And that feeling is never going to go away permanently. The Bible says to “fear not,” but this doesn’t mean you should never feel scared. It means when you do feel fear, keep going forward and do what you are supposed to do. Or as I like to say, do it afraid.
Learning to Confront Fear
It was a great revelation to me when I realized that I couldn’t control the feeling of fear but I could keep it from controlling me. In those difficult moments in life when there are no answers, or when unexpected change occurs—whatever the situation, I’ve learned to not live by my feelings and instead face the fear head-on. Even when I’m “shaking in my boots.”
There are times when you have to stand your ground and speak God’s Word to get the courage you need. For example, Romans 8:31 (NKJV) says, “If God is for us, who can be against us?” And Psalm 27:1 reminds me that if God is on my side, whom shall I fear?
It’s Not Easy, but It’s Worth It
Sometimes you must suffer through something to defeat your fear of it. For example, in the early part of my ministry I had to suffer the loss of my reputation. Back then, many people thought women shouldn’t teach and preach, but it’s what God called me to do. And when I stepped out in obedience to God to do it, it wasn’t easy.
I was asked to leave my church. I lost friends. And some people just didn’t understand.
So I had to confront those early fears of what others thought of me and a fear of being different. Thank God, He helped me press through—because if I had chosen to run from those situations, I wouldn’t be here today.
The Israelites are also a good example of people who had to face their fears. In the Old Testament, God brought them out of a terrible life of slavery to take them to the promised land, but they were then confronted with a different situation that was terrifying. They ended up facing the Red Sea in front of them and Pharaoh’s army behind them. When the Israelites saw their dilemma, they actually thought it would be better to go back to their lives of slavery instead of confronting the unknown ahead of them. They preferred going back to their former lives even though it was miserable. All because of fear.
Just picture their situation: the Red Sea in front of them and the Egyptian army behind them. What are they going to do?
Moses told the Israelites in Exodus 14:13 (AMPC), “Fear not; stand still (firm, confident, undismayed) and see the salvation of the Lord which He will work for you today. For the Egyptians you have seen today you shall never see again.”
Become Bold and Courageous
The word fear means “to run or to take flight.” So when we give in to fear, we always run away from something that we should be confronting. God wanted the Israelites to go forward into the unknown. He wanted them to be so fed up with bondage they would be willing to trust Him and do what He told them to do—no matter what the situation looked like—instead of going back to slavery. God wanted them to be bold and courageous. And He wants you to be bold and courageous too.
Notice how the Lord said “stand still.” That’s interesting, because when the emotion of fear has hold of us and our minds are thinking one crazy thing after another, we really just want to run away; but the first thing we need to do is get still. Get out of the emotion, out of our own head, and check with our heart and ask, “What is God saying in this situation?”
Maybe you are in this position right now, and you feel like you are between a rock and a hard place. It’s like you are between the Egyptian army and the Red Sea, and all of your emotions are going haywire. You may feel tempted to call your friends and ask them what you should do. Don’t do that. Start by going to God first and waiting on Him.
I encourage you today to stand still, get wisdom and direction from God and His Word, and then do what you believe God is telling you to do. Ask Him for courage. Then you will see the Lord make a way for you to push past your fear and reach the promised land He has ready for you.
Joyce Meyer is a New York Times best-selling author and founder of Joyce Meyer Ministries, Inc. She has authored 100 books, including Battlefield of the Mind and Overload: How to Unplug, Unwind and Unleash Yourself from the Pressure of Stress (Hachette). She hosts the Enjoying Everyday Life radio and TV programs, which air on hundreds of stations worldwide. For more information, visit joycemeyer.org.