God did not give us a spirit that makes us afraid but a spirit of power and love and self-control.
2 Timothy 1:7
Friend to Friend
We all battle fear. Fear constantly tries to elbow faith aside, hoping to derail God’s plan and purpose in our lives. Fear keeps many of us from dreaming God-sized dreams, persuading us to settle for safety and comfort instead of riding the waves of possibilities. When faith yanks our hideous fears out of the darkness and into the light, we can see them for what they really are – powerless.
Faith is a three-letter word.
Faith says “yes” to peace and “no” to fear.
It may be one tiny step or one puny choice.
It may be a whispered prayer or a desperate cry.
But God always honors the choice to walk straight ahead through fear. Fear trains us to anticipate the worst while faith teaches us to expect the best – even when that “best” looks a lot different than we thought it would.
I have always hated wearing glasses. They get lost, slide down my nose, are always dirty, constantly have to be adjusted, and are a major nuisance. During a routine eye exam, I informed the doctor that I needed contacts instead of glasses. He did not look hopeful.
“Mary, you have a couple of problems that might make contacts difficult for you to wear.” Since I didn’t hear the word “impossible,” I still wanted those contacts.
The doctor continued, “You not only have astigmatism, but your vision needs to be corrected for both distance and close vision.” I am a little slow, I guess. So … why would contacts be a problem?
Seeing the confusion on my face, he explained that I would have to wear a contact in my left eye that allowed me to see up close and a different strength contact in the right eye for distance.
“We would essentially be tricking the brain and going against the way it was created,” he said. “Your brain will be confused for several months. You will step off curbs that are not there, or reach for something only to knock it over. At first, you will only be able to read for short periods because your eyes will be at war over which one gets to do the job. When your brain is finally retrained, the confusion will fade, and your vision will improve greatly.” I assured the doctor that both my brain and I were up for the task.
I got my contacts. The first few months were just as frustrating as the doctor said they would be. But the confusion did fade … and I was eventually thrilled with my improved vision and retrained brain.
The apostle Paul understood that training the mind is not only a physical possibility, but also a vital spiritual principle when fear attacks.
We fight with weapons that are different from those the world uses. Our weapons have power from God that can destroy the enemy’s strong places. We destroy people’s arguments and every proud thing that raises itself against the knowledge of God. We capture every thought and make it give up and obey Christ (2 Corinthians 10:4-5, ICB).
In their darkest hour, waves crashing around them, trapped on a small fishing boat, the disciples were terrified. In fact, their fear blinded them to the reality of Jesus coming to them in the midst of that storm. I love the simple but powerful response of Jesus to their fearful cries when He said, “Have courage! It is I. Do not be afraid.”
The message was stunning in its simplicity. When He is with us, we do not have to be afraid. We usually get that part. But what Jesus also said was that His very presence brought courage into the mix – an audacious choice to discount the fearful circumstances simply because He was there.
Jesus did not rebuke His disciples in their fear.
He didn’t turn away from them because their faith was weak.
I probably would have. After all, they had seen Jesus perform miracles.
Water turned into wine.
Thousands fed with five loaves of bread and two small fish.
Men, women, and children healed.
And still they were afraid. Still they doubted. I can relate, can’t you?
Jesus “quickly” assured them of His comforting presence and His available power. Evidently, Peter was the only one who really believed Jesus. How do I know? True faith generates action. Peter was the only one willing to get out of the boat and walk through his fear. I am fairly certain Peter was just as terrified as the other disciples – but Peter chose to take Jesus at His word. When he took that first step, Peter’s fear was swallowed up in faith.
What kind of storm are you facing? Don’t wait until you understand the storm. Don’t rely on your own strength. Choose right now to believe and see what God does.
Father, please forgive me when I give in to fear and worry instead of stepping out in faith and believing You. Help me learn how to capture my thoughts and train them to focus on You. I want to become a woman who trusts You – no matter what. My faith is small, but I now choose to place it in You.
In Jesus’ Name,
Now It’s Your Turn
What trial are you facing today?
What step do you need to take to face that trial with faith instead of fear?
What is keeping you from taking that step?
Let it go … step through your fear, and trust God.
More from the Girlfriends
Mary’s E-Book, 10-Day Trust Adventure, is now available! What does it mean to trust God? What would your life look like if you were walking by faith and trusting God with your whole heart? The 10-Day Trust Adventure addresses every decision you make in every area of your life – including your past and future, your family and friendships, your finances and work – and how to make those decisions as you step out in faith and really trust God. Check it out! And be sure to connect with Mary on Facebook or through email.