Have you ever felt that horrendous fear that says, “You can’t do it,” as it squeezes your heart, crippling your strength? “Give up,” it whispers in the shadows of your mind. “You are nothing. How can you of all people have a purpose? It’s better you just cower into a small life of insignificance.”
Perhaps you felt it as shyness when walking into a room of strangers; it clogged your throat, stopping you from speaking. Maybe you feel it when you think about that passion burning in your heart—the book you think you’re not talented enough to write, the hobby you’re too nervous to try, the words of encouragement you think you’ll annoy people with. These are just a few examples; the point is, it’s not uncommon. I have felt it. I’m sure you have, too, in your own ways.
How do we overcome it? How do we face our doubts and say, “You will not stop me”? How do we push forward and break through the barricade of fear?
My answer: by faith. Let me explain with three powerful instances where we see this.
Queen of Persia
The book of Esther tells an interesting story of a Jewish girl who was chosen to be the queen of Persia by finding favour in the eyes of the king.
During her time as queen, the king’s chief advisor plotted to have Jews slaughtered because of his hatred. He lied to the king, convincing him that the Jews were rebels and harmful to Persia. But when Mordecai, Esther’s cousin who had raised her in the absence of her parents, found out the truth of the plot, he sent word to Queen Esther. He wanted her to appeal to the king and tell him about the wicked advisor’s deceitful scheme.
Esther’s first response was that she couldn’t do it. Entering the king’s presence without consent could get you killed, even if you were his queen, and she had to do more than enter his presence; she had to accuse his trusted advisor of treachery!
She had good reason to be afraid of taking action. But then Mordecai replied, telling her she might be her line’s only hope. He said maybe, just maybe, she was placed in her position for such a time as that.
His message convinced her. She agreed to approach the king on behalf of her people. “And if I die,” she said. “I die.”
She spoke to the king, and he undid the advisor’s plot. Moreover, the advisor was slain, the Jewish people were decreed to defend themselves, and Mordecai was raised to a place of honor. Imagine how different the story would’ve been if Esther let fear stop her.
Was she fearless? No! But she had faith that she was rising into her destiny. And if she was wrong, she realised, it was still worth the risk. Even though this book of Scripture is unique because it doesn’t mention God, I strongly believe Esther’s faith was in Him, and He was her strength.
Esther’s story shows us that we should reach past fear. Then destiny is embraced, and change is born.
The warrior-poet, shepherd-king
You probably know the story of a shepherd boy who slew a giant. David moved on to other great deeds. He won wars, faced impossible odds, and became a legendary king. It’s easy to be enamoured with the image of David being a fearless warrior-king when you read accounts of him and his mighty men.
But David was also a writer and musician, and when you read his poetic psalms, you often see a different picture. David knew fear. He knew anguish and doubt. He knew mortal weakness.
Yet he reached past all that. He drew close to God. He found strength and courage in the true, eternal King of fathomless power.
David shows us that God, not our own strength, is what we need to overcome the terrors we face.
A shy miracle
Luke 8 tells of a woman who was healed by touching Jesus’ robe. She was desperate, for the physicians she’d spent years and a fortune on hadn’t been able to help her. She needed a miracle. So, she walked up to Jesus and accepted His healing power by touching Him without even asking.
Sounds impressive, right? Such confidence, walking up to the Lord like that. Such boldness . . . surely?
Perhaps not. I believe the story echoes her self-doubt and fear in two strong ways. First, it appears she’s cautious not to be noticed. She could have gone up to Him, spoken, grabbed His attention. She didn’t, almost as if she was shy. Second, when Jesus stopped and asked who touched Him, she didn’t immediately reply. The disciples first argued that they’re in a bustling crowd; many people brush against them. But when Jesus insisted a miracle had taken place, the woman realised she could hide no more, and she spoke up.
By her faith, she was healed.
I used to think faith was doubtless boldness. But here we see it’s something different—something, I believe, stronger, yet so simple that we all can apply it. Perhaps she believed, or even just hoped, that Jesus was greater than her doubts. Regardless, she pushed forward despite fear; she reached out to the Holy One.
The woman healed by touching the Lord’s robe shows us that He is bigger than the restrictions we might conjure in our minds. He wants to heal us, help us. All we need to do is reach out.
Not just a whimsical dream
So, to clarify and summarise the previous points: overcome your doubts and push onward into greatness by (1) reaching past your fears, not letting them suffocate you, (2) not relying on your own bravery and ability, which fail and disappoint, and (3) taking your Father’s hand, touching the robe of healing, strength, peace, and more. See, His hand is stretched out to you, child of God, because He loves you! You can take it. Even if you doubt. Even if you’re afraid. Power and destiny are there for you, for they are your Father’s, and He lives in you.
Now, this seems nice and all, but how do you live it? How do you apply these principles to daily life? I believe it’s simple. Here’s what I have found in my life:
First, draw closer to God. Ignore those silly voices saying you aren’t good enough for Him; they’re wrong. You have been made worthy by His blood and grace. You are loved. He wants you. He calls you by name. You can’t work your way into His presence; you can only accept it. Accept Him. Talk to Him. Let Him talk back. See His beauty in the wonderful world around you. Feel His invigorating breath on your heart. Ask and allow Him to become personal in your life, then everything will change. Your life will explode into one of pure amazement, and all the worries and doubts you had will seem incredibly smaller.
And remember, it doesn’t matter how you feel; you can approach your Father and ask for His hand. His presence is independent of your emotions. If you’re scared, ask Him for courage. If you’re alone, ask Him to keep you company (He’s always there. Always!). If you’re sad, ask Him to show you joy. He hears it all, and He cares! Pray, and feel His warmth flood you.
Second, when fear comes with its lies about you, remind yourself who you are. Speak the words aloud if you must. You are a child of the living God. You were loved by the Eternal King before your life began. You can walk in His favour by simply accepting it. You can shine in the deepest darkness, and it will tremble as His Spirit burns in you. Tell this to yourself. When you face that shyness telling you not to approach someone, that doubt telling you not to stand up for what is right, that fear of the giant you must face, remind yourself. Remembering who you are, oh masterpiece of the Starforger, straightens your back and resolves your heart with courage more than you might deem possible.
Last but not least, just do it. If God is placing a calling on your heart, why not give it a try? Start with baby steps if you must; “test the waters.” But what’s important is that you try. And be careful not to delay and reason too much, as you may miss some wonderful opportunities to shine. Trust in God and His wisdom, yes, and be careful not to act out of your own pride; but when you do feel Him tugging your heart with gentle whispers, obey. Don’t be scared of “hearing Him wrong,” because you probably will make mistakes (you’re human!), but He’s bigger than them. I believe that’s part of learning to walk with Him, and He’ll be happy that you’re trying. Apply this to small things, too: speaking to people, complimenting, smiling, encouraging, giving—these are all simple but powerful deeds that you can do!
Arise into destiny
Awesome, so, you’re pushing fear aside and taking God’s hand. What now?
Well, I believe you should ask Him that. He has something in store for you, something amazing. A burning passion maybe, or a creative calling; whatever it is, it’s for you. Let Him pull you forward. Then follow the path He sets you on; don’t look back, nor left nor right. Look only ahead at Him as he leads you, ordering your steps. It’s so exciting!
Release the temporal darkness; it is defeated. Stand up, beautiful one. Let the King’s fire ignite in your veins. Shine. Love. Live!