Perhaps fear has gotten a bad rap. I know fear has had some bad days and there are some things that fear does that are not good. Fear can be crippling, it can cause people to react in ways that are bizarre or even dangerous. Fear has been known to keep a lot of people from reaching their full potential. A president once notably said “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” (FDR)
But perhaps there is something to fear that we are missing. Amy Bucher said, “People’s natural instinct when confronted with a scary situation is to avoid it. On reflection, most of us realize the downside to running away from fear: Avoidance just intensifies the feelings of anxiety and makes it hard to focus on anything else.”
Researchers say that a certain amount of fear can prove helpful in exceptional performance. “Fear signals there’s something of consequence on the line, a reason to exert effort which often produces greater results.” (AB)
Whenever we are forced out of our comfort zone or challenged to a new level there will instinctively be fear that comes along. It is in this moment that our level of discipline, faith or determination will direct our response. Fear either paralyzes or motivates, it either creates a state of frozen intimidation or drives us to whole-hearted action. This is not a fear problem but rather a me problem.
I have recently been pondering this thought as I have been challenged at a whole new level or personal, spiritual and leadership growth. After all what great things have ever been accomplished in this world that weren’t first an intimidating fearful idea to a person? Show me something great, and I’ll show you something scary. Show me a person of great influence or accomplishment and I’ll show you a person who knows what it is to be afraid.
When we consider that we are all called to be on mission for God and his Kingdom there are a few considerations that underlie our involvement.
God’s work is always God-sized. God is up to something exceptional in this world. God’s work is always done in a unique and exceptional ways and God’s work is only accomplished through God’s supernatural power. What is remarkable about this is that God has chosen to accomplish his work with human hands. When we understand this the only appropriate response is to reverently fear and tremble before God.
As I thought more about this it dawned upon me that just about every great leader, whether in the Bible and down through history, somewhere early on in their endeavors stood with fear and trembling before the Lord. David ran from Saul and the throne that God had anointed him for, in fear. Paul, was humbled at the calling of God and considered himself the worst of sinners, least among Apostles. Mary had to be told by the Angel to “fear not” when God’s plan for her life was revealed. Even Jesus trembled in the garden before the greatest act ever performed in human history and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”
It seems to me that before God does something great his first order of business is to scare someone really good.
Although fear is often the entrance into the calling of God on our lives and is often the first emotion when we are tackling something new, fear is never to be our final destination. Fear that comes from hearing God’s voice and being called of God ultimately leads to great strength and courage. The same presence that caused Moses to fear at the burning bush was later his source of strength and courage as he stood face to face with Pharaoh. The song writer of the famous hymn put it this way….’Twas grace that taught my heart to fear, And grace my fears relieved.
So today perhaps you read this article and are surrounded by fear. Take heart choose to respond in faith and courage. Remember you are in good company and it may just mean something great is about to happen! Don’t let fear scare you!