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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Getting beyond our fears

by Nelson Roth
My wife, Pam, and I will be celebrating 45 years of marriage this February.  Over that time, there have been several middle of the night events when strange noises have frightened us.  We’ve become a pretty good team over the years and are able to work through these times without losing much sleep.  One incident; however, stands out.  It was when a loud ‘thud’ brought us both up out of a sound sleep.  Imagining the worse, we were so scared we couldn’t move or speak.  Well, long story short, as it turned out the ‘thud’ was harmless icicles falling off the main roof onto the porch roof.  The noise was so startling in the moment; but it turned out so insignificant.  At the time, our minds thought the worse and the fear that came over us was paralyzing.  We learned from this event, a number of years ago, that fear keeps us from action.  

If you are following our articles about the stages of The Nehemiah Response Model™ for transitioning – to get from where you are to a preferred future – we’re currently writing about the end of the Incubation Stage.  It comes just before moving forward into the Implementation Stage.  The important response at this point is faith.  In the Incubation Stage, after a plan has come together for something in your life or in your organization – you are at a critical point because fear can keep you from taking action and implementing your plan.  Here’s where a dose of faith comes in.  Faith is the next important response!

In the story of Nehemiah, we find him moving ahead when fear could have paralyzed him.  In chapter 2, verse 2 Nehemiah said, “I was very much afraid;” however, because of his confidence in God and the plan that had been revealed to him, he made a faith response!

Are you facing challenges to moving forward because of fear?  What is fear doing to you?  If you were not afraid, what would you do?

Our fears can be very real and challenging.  Here are three steps to take to help overcome fear:
  1. Realize that fear is the enemy of your faith.  The two cannot co-exist.  In Luke 8:25, the disciples were afraid because of the storm and Jesus who was in the boat with them said to them, “Where is your faith?”  II Timothy 1:7 reads, “For God hath not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”
  2. Identify the object of your fear, things like the fear of failure or the fear of what others might be thinking.  Fear has an object.  What are you afraid of and why?  In Matthew 14:29, “Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus.”  Then the next verse says, “But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out.”
  3. Focus on the truth about the situation and know that faith has an object as well.  Place your faith in God who can help you get beyond your fears.  When Jesus taught the disciples to have enough faith to move mountains in Mark 11:22 he says, “Have faith in God.”  I John 4:18 “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear.”
"The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?" (Psalm 27:1)   What have been the effects of fear on your faith?  Like the icicles – it’s interesting that the things we often fear are so insignificant.

  • If you had faith and overcame fear, what would things look like?
  • What are some possible next steps to getting there?
  • Who can come alongside you to help?
  • What do you sense God is wanting you to do?
Feel free to leave a comment below.
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