“This is my command – be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9
When I was younger, I remember being afraid of everything! My mom would ask me to get something out of the basement and I would sprint up the stairs thinking someone was chasing me. In order for me to fall asleep at night I needed to have the TV on in my room because I was afraid of the noises that my house made. When I would go for a run outside by myself I was paranoid of cars that slowed down beside me because I was afraid of being kidnapped. To this day I can’t watch scary movies, go on roller coasters, walk alone at night or fall asleep in silence. It’s amazing how our mind conjures up thoughts that aren’t real.
I know I know, these fears seem pretty lame being that I am an adult. But I don’t want to discount the fact that there are real fears people face every day. For example: snakes, heights, ghosts, disease, drowning, flying, spiders, loss, tornadoes, crowds, commitment, loneliness, public speaking – this list could go on and on. A couple years ago when I was teaching, I had a student approach me about one of her fears. She had just been at a funeral for her grandmother who passed away and was very broken up about it. This had been the first person she had lost who was really close to her. She asked me, “Ms. Seidl, what happens when you die?” Wow, certainly a question I was not prepared to answer at that moment. She proceeded to say that she was afraid of dying – that she had thought about what it might be like to go to bed and not wake up the next day. It saddened me to hear that she had this fear at such a young age. But it is a reality we will all face at some point. While I don’t plan on elaborating about our conversation, I will point out that most of the time our fears manifest because of a negative experience.
Think about the fears that you have – why do they exist? My fear of roller coasters came about because when I was in grade school my cousin literally dragged me on a ride that I did not want to go on. I got sick, I cried and I never went on another roller coaster again. My fear of scary movies also came about because I was forced to watch the ‘Chucky’ movies when I was 7 years old and had nightmares of all my dolls attacking me. Now anytime I am forced to watch a scary movie, I do so with a blanket over my head and my ears plugged (no joke) – I would prefer to sleep at night without re-living the movie in my dreams.
Recently I had some other fears. As I mentioned in my previous post, my medical diagnosis sprouted a whole new list of mental blocks. Some of you may relate and some of you may not. My prayer is that by explaining the thought process I went through in this specific situation you can overcome similar obstacles that are holding you back. Last year I was running really hard with my LIFE business. We had great momentum and incredible growth. With that came a lot of responsibility. Many of the people who joined my community were looking to me as their leader to help guide them and move them in the right direction. Then the moment came where I couldn’t help them like I wanted to. Physically, mentally, emotionally I was not there for them and eventually some of those people chose a different path. But it wasn’t just a couple… Witnessing this made me even more discouraged as I blamed myself for their leaving. This result eventually paralyzed me to inaction. I was so afraid of moving forward because I didn’t want to commit to someone that I may not be able to help. While my intention was legitimate, my methods were ineffective. Instead of focusing on what I knew I could do, I focused on what I thought I couldn’t do. That’s what fear does. It changes our perspective and our belief in what we know we can accomplish – it wimpifies us (as Chris Brady states). Oh sure, I continued to do the easy things – but when it came to setting and running for goals and chasing after my purpose – I was a wimp. Because I let this fear manifest in my mind for so long, I lost a lot of time that could have been used to help change another life by leading them to our information and our community.
Sometimes our solution is to justify our fears. For example – I would tell myself, “I am sick so I can’t…” or “it’s okay to take a break for a little while…” While these may seem like viable reasons, it doesn’t mean it’s okay for me to use them. All justification does is trains us to lie to ourselves. Have there been many days I physically couldn’t build my business? Absolutely – but there were just as many days where I could – and I didn’t.
The reason I share this recent experience is because I finally overcame this current fear and I want my experience to help someone else even quicker than it took me realize. It’s hard to write about an experience you haven’t quite learned from yet. So what changed? I once heard someone say that the mind is the enemies playground. If your mind is fixed on the wrong things then Satan will surely encourage you to continue with those thoughts. But when your mind is fixed on God, He will guard your heart and your thoughts (Hebrews 3:1). We can pray, we can go to church, we can talk about God and we can sing his praises but until we allow Him to invade our heart and give Him complete control over everything in our lives – even our fears, we will always be in a tug of war with our thoughts.
I encourage you to leave your fears at the foot of the cross. When in doubt, when afraid, when confused, when discouraged – fix your thoughts on God and you will know with complete certainty that there is no fear in Christ.