Fear. It can stop us in our tracks, it can send us into hiding, or it can present an opportunity to achieve the impossible.
Take ancient Israel for example, the Israel that Moses led out of Egypt to the edge of the Red Sea. This nation of newly freed, former slaves of Egypt, were faced with a dilemma: the Red Sea ahead, and Pharaoh and the Egyptian army closing in behind (you know, a rock and an hard place). Exodus 14 tells us they were terrified and cried out to the Lord. Listen to what they said:
They said to Moses, “Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us to the desert to die? What have you done to us by bringing us out of Egypt? Didn’t we say to you in Egypt, ‘Leave us alone; let us serve the Egyptians’? It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the desert!”
I thought of this the other day when contemplating my current job search. “Why did I ever leave my old job? I would have been better off staying there than leaving and now facing a difficult job search.” Maybe you’re facing a similar situation, whether it be related to career, relationships, health or something else.
Guess what happens next? After promising deliverance, God basically tells the Israelites to quit crying to Him about it and get a move on! It’s kind of like the swift-kick-in-the-rear my mom used to give me when I was being particularly ornery or stubborn. God calls the Israelites “stiff-necked.” Pretty much the same thing.
Don’t just stand there, do something!
So, when I caught myself thinking how good I had it back then, I recalled to mind why I left, and looked to the steps I needed to take forward, confident that the Lord will provide.
Contrast the Israelites with another famous Biblical character, David. This youngest of 7 brothers and a shepherd (who is selected by the Lord to be king, but is all but forgotten or overlooked by his father when the prophet Samuel is sent to find him), is sent by his father to visit his brothers with provisions where they are encamped for battle against Goliath and the Philistines (1 Samuel 17).
David hears Goliath taunting the Israelites and the Lord, and is shocked that no one will go and fight him. So he offers to do it himself! Wasn’t he afraid? Of course he likely experienced fear, but his confidence came from a past record of facing and overcoming fear, having killed lions and bears with his bare hands and his sling while protecting his herds. Of course, David’s faith in the Lord was a factor as well, as he saw his past victories as not being his, but of the Lord.
So remember, you have faced fear before, and you will face it again. Whether it is the same old fear (that you are holding on to) or a new fear (that will inevitably come) depends largely on whether you let it stop you in your tracks, or you let it go and tackle it head on, moving forward.
Finally, when you have faced a fear and moved forward, take a moment to register in your mind what just happened and how you feel on the other side of fear. Recall this moment the next time you face fear, and it might just provide you the swift kick you need to get moving and let it go.