“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” ~Deuteronomy 31:6 (NIV)
My first recollection of fear was when I was in sixth grade. That was the year that Phys Ed class meant learning to swim. During the first class, we were asked to jump into six feet of water so the teacher could determine what level of swimming skill each of us had. I didn’t know how to swim and was terrified to jump in water that was over my head.
This experience was also the first recollection I have of seeking God for courage. I did not jump in the water that first week of class and I remember praying and asking God for courage in the days that followed.
The following week, I jumped in. Yes, I hesitated and I was still afraid but I did it anyway. God laid it on my heart, during prayer that preceding week, that nothing bad was going to happen to me. My teacher was in the water, waiting to catch me and pull me to the side of the pool.
So often in life, we are faced with situations where we feel that we are in over our head and it is a natural response to become fearful. It may be a medical diagnosis, a financial crisis, or a relationship that’s falling apart. We are afraid of what is to come.
Oftentimes, though, it isn’t a life altering issue that causes us fear. That is the fear I am speaking of today. We are afraid that people won’t like us, afraid that we won’t be accepted, or afraid of being alone. None of these things put us in imminent danger, yet we swell up with fear when faced with these thoughts.
There is a difference between danger and the fear of which I am speaking. We all need to be cognizant of real danger…crossing a busy street, being alone in a bad neighborhood, being chased by a bear! God created us to sense danger as a measure of protection, fight or flight…the adrenaline rush that quickly moves us to action.
I am speaking of the fear that keeps us from being who God calls us to be. Perhaps you want to share the Gospel with others but you fear ridicule. Maybe you feel led to go on a missions trip to help the poor but you are afraid you aren’t “qualified.” It could be as simple as wanting to raise your hands in worship during church service but you fear people around you will not understand your Spirit-led actions.
Fear of this nature is a liar. It is a tactic used by the enemy to stifle you and keep you from fulfilling your God-given destiny, the most important of which is to worship Him.
The Bible speaks of being afraid and having courage throughout both the Old and New Testaments. Clearly, God understands our fear or He would not have told us so many times to “be not afraid” or to “take courage.”
What is it that God is calling you to do?
Take a deep breath, exhale and jump in! Just as my PE teacher was waiting to catch me, our Heavenly Father is anxiously waiting for us to jump in to the life His Son died to give us. God is not going to let you go under.
Be blessed and be a blessing to someone this week!