For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.2 Timothy 1:7 NLT
Let’s just start right out of the gate with the truth. God did not give us that spirit of timidity. Yeah, I said us. As usual, I am here to address something that God is working on in my life as well as sharing a word that I hope will encourage you to stand up and stop allowing the fear of failure or any other anxiety-ridden thought to prevent you from living in your God-ordained purpose.
As I sat here, growing weary of fighting off the overwhelming wave of anxiety that was gripping me for what must be the 10th time in the last week, I was redirected to what often helps me through these moment the most, writing. Letting the words flow, I was reminded of the conversations I had over the weekend with other believers in various stages of their walk with God. There was a very clear consensus among those who shared. Fear and timidity (often manifested as anxiety/panic attacks, shyness and the like) has been a constant struggle. This uphill battle of the mind and physiological sensations threatens to put us in the mindset of believing that we’re in this thing alone. That there is no one else who can truly understand what we experience everyday.
The thing is, this spirit of fear and timidity, as Paul puts it, is something that we have the ability to combat. But it involves a few important things:
- Faith: As my pastor mentioned in his sermon this Sunday, faith puts a leash on fear. In the presence of faith, fear may still exist, but it won’t be able to overtake you.
- Trust: God instructs believers not to be afraid in so many instances throughout the Bible. In many of those situations, He also demonstrates His ability to care for us as we continue to face what contributes to our fear (think of when Peter was called out onto the water by Jesus then admonished for his faltering faith and asked why he doubted, while simultaneously being held up the Lord’s hand). When we exhibit faith in God, we are showing that we trust Him.
- Fellowship & Accountability: When we come together and confess what is on our hearts to one another, there is healing and communal support. The Bible reveals this in two ways:
- First, we know that, where two or three are gathered in His name, His presence is there as well (Matthew 18:20).
- Second, when we confess what is burdening our hearts, there is an opportunity for healing and for confronting the lie (James 5:16). Sin is identified as something that separates us from God. When we allow fear and timidity to keep our mouths shut, we are essentially saying (with our actions) that we believe the lie (that we are alone in this and that there is no hope for things to change or get better) and do not trust God in this area.
God wants us to trust Him so that He can empower us to do more than we could ever achieve in our own strength, knowledge, and understanding. When we make an active choice to trust Him, even with anxiety ripping away at our insides, we are saying that our flesh (physical body, what we feel) is subject to the power and authority of God. It has been my experience that, when I step out in faith and say or do the thing that has been choking me with fear, fear tends to lose some (if not all) of its power. The enemy does not want for us to be free from the bondage of fear and timidity. Instead, he would prefer for us to try and battle that thing on our own. That is a trap. A falsehood. It is simply not biblical.
God calls us to community for a reason and this, too, is two-fold:
- God first and foremost calls us to Himself (John 15:4-5).
- God also calls us to godly community, stressing its importance (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12; Romans 12:4-5).
In the same way that there are some things we can’t physically complete without partnering with another person, there are things we are spiritually outweighed by, UNTIL, we open our mouths and offer the problem to God, followed by a trusted individual or group. Be sure to note the order of mention above, as we don’t want to seek counsel without first seeking God (after all, He is able to reveal to us whom the appropriate counsel is for what we are facing, as well as the appointed time when we should speak with them).
One of the most common sentiments shared as those group discussions concluded was how much we could relate to one another. As people shared the things they were struggling with, there was a wave of concurrence within the text chat as well as on the lips of others who were present. So many of us left that conversation lighter than when we began. There is something to be said about the freedom that enters a space when the burdens of the heart are revealed and released!
Here are some questions for you to reflect on:
- What has been weighing you down in your walk?
- How have you underutilized your ability to commune with God and/or the community of believers?
- What is one way that you can step out in faith and trust God for a breakthrough in this area?
Photo by mwangi gatheca on Unsplash