For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love, and self-discipline. (2 Timothy 1:7 NIV)
I’ve always had big dreams. I got a job when I was twelve, saved almost every penny I made, and moved to New York City when I was seventeen. I was ready to conquer the world! I had faith that could move mountains. What I didn’t realize was that my faith was tainted with fear. A lot of it.
Looking back, fear was making my decisions. It affected the jobs I took, the guys I dated, the dreams I didn’t pursue…
Fear never stays in one place. It shows up in every area of our life—whether we realize it or not. It causes us to accept unacceptable behaviors, mindsets, and lifestyles. It leads us to make decisions that we would not make with a clear mind.
Fear is suffocating. It keeps us stuck—locked in addictions, unhealthy relationships, and faulty mindsets. Fear says, “This is just the way it will always be. You can’t live without this. Why bother? You will never get this job. No one will believe you. No one will ever love you.” Fear is a liar, and its goal is to paralyze you. Faith’s purpose is to free you. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:13 NKJV)
According to the Department of Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, only 91.4% of the things we fear/worry about ever come true.1 However, fear can make us physically sick, cause anxiety, stress, and wreak havoc on our heart, mind, and soul. Countless studies, including one by the American Medical Association, found that stress is a factor in 75% of all illnesses and diseases that people suffer from today.2 So, where does stress come from? Fear!
A practical tool to overcoming fears is understanding where they are coming from. Are they stemming from a childhood memory? Past experiences? Health conditions? Current situations? Actions?
I’ve had fears based on all of the above (as I’m guessing most of you have). I had to “deal to heal.” I had to trust God. I had to change my behavior. For example, I feared “getting caught.” Getting caught drinking, doing something I shouldn’t at work, telling a half-truth—better known as a lie. This fear was caused by my actions.
If your fears are based on things you know (or at least suspect!) you are doing wrong, go to God and ask Him to lead you through the process to change those things.
If your fears are out of your control, ask God to give you the faith you need to believe for better things. Refuse to watch programs and listen to people who feed into your fear. Stir up your faith by listening to stories about people being healed from diseases, being saved from accidents, and being set free from addictions. Listen to positive music. Spend time with people who build you up! And remember, faith comes from hearing the Word of God. (See Romans 10:17)
God knows what fear will do to us, that’s why the Bible says, Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7 NLT)
Having mountain-moving faith is not something most of us were born with. But we can all develop it.
Having faith isn’t a guarantee that our situation will end up as we wish. But worrying about it is guaranteed to make it worse. Faith gives it a chance. Faith changes the atmosphere. It changes you. Fear puts negative energy into you and your situation. Faith fuels your heart, mind, body, and soul with positive energy.
Faith and fear both carry energy. Both of them Change Your Story.
Which one will you choose?
1.Lucas S. Lafreniere and Michelle G. Newman, “ Exposing Worry’s Deceit,” (Elsevier, 2020), Volume 51, Issue 3
- Dr. Caroline Leaf, “Switch on Your Brain” (Baker Books; Reprint Edition, 2015), p.37
*Reprinted from Women World Leaders: Voice of Truth Magazine Volume 6, Nov./Dec., 2021 © 2021 by Kirstin Leigh. By permission of the publishers.