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Working Through Fear

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“Peter, suddenly bold, said, ‘Master, if it’s really you, call me to come to you on the water.'”

Matthew 14:28

I’ve had to wrestle with a lot of fear lately.  I’ve had to fight to keep getting to a place of surrender, all the while feeling a bit of guilt, like somehow if I were more spiritual, I wouldn’t feel fear to begin with.  I would simply trust God and feel at peace.  But God, as He so often does, gently reminded me last week that the truth is a bit different than that.

It started when I was asked to speak to a group of business professionals.  As a business owner, I have a real heart for helping other business leaders, so I eagerly agreed without even knowing the topic yet.  As fate would have it, I found out the very next day I would be speaking on–surprise!–overcoming fear.  Clearly God is not without a sense of humor, or expert timing! Dutifully, I hunkered down and started reading and exploring this concept of fear.  I was reminded by Laurie Beth Jones in her book, Jesus: CEO, that I’m not alone.  Jesus, the author and perfecter of my faith, wrestled deeply with fear.  I saw Him in the garden of Gethsemane, on his knees crying out to God to take away the penalty of the cross, to find another option for removing our sins so we could be reconciled to God.  So intense was this fear, knowing He would bear the weight and punishment of our sins, that He prayed so earnestly his sweat began to turn to drops of his own blood, his facial capillaries bursting from the stress.  That’s pretty intense!  But Jesus made the choice to face his fear head on and to move forward despite it.  And all of our lives are forever changed because of that decision. THE EFFECTS OF FEAR Fear can be paralyzing.  It can become my excuse to stay put and stay stuck, to no longer listen to the urgings God is whispering in my ear.  For a full year I had a quote in my car by John Shedd that says, “A ship in harbor is safe–but that is not what ships are built for.”  I knew God was calling me to leave the harbor, but the harbor has such a false sense of security to it.  I know the harbor; I understand what happens there.  I have a false sense of control–false because a boat can still get destroyed in a harbor. That sense of control is an illusion.  Still, the open sea can seem infinitely more scary, full of many more unknowns.  Yet I’m not called to live a safe life.  I’m called to live a bold, Jesus-driven life full of faith and new paths of adventure.  So, I held onto that quote to remind me to move away from what felt safe and toward Jesus’ voice calling me elsewhere, to take that leap into the unknown. When I take a leap of faith with God, whether it’s surrendering the outcome of something or moving in a new direction I feel called to but don’t quite understand, I want to feel like this:

And sometimes I do!  I am at peace, I’ve witnessed the ways God has blessed such leaps in the past, and I jump off the cliff with faith and confidence.  I feel the wind whipping through my hair; my grin grows wider.  I feel incredibly empowered and I soar. But more often than not, I feel like this: