How to Choose Faith Over Fear
Sweaty palms. Racing heart. Paralysis. Confusion. Trembling. Butterflies in your stomach. Nausea. Dry mouth.
I imagine you’ve experienced it. Whether you’ve specifically said, “I’m afraid of x” or simply identified worry, anxiety, nerves, or insecurity. The bottom line is that you and I have times when we’re afraid of something.
It could be fear of heights, the dark, or storms.
You might fear the unknown or an uncertain situation.
Then there is fear of getting out of your comfort zone to do something, make a move, or simply take the next step.
In all of these situations we have a decision to make. Can we, or perhaps will we, choose faith over fear?
I’m not an outgoing person.
If I missed a day of elementary school for being sick, I’d miss an entire week. I was terrified about going to school in the middle of the week. I was afraid of what I had missed and felt like all eyes would be on me when I returned.
If you would’ve told the high school Marsha that she would be teaching fitness classes in her 20’s, she would’ve freaked out.
No matter what stage of life it’s been, I’ve had fear of being in front of people. And time after time, I’ve had to choose faith over fear.
Earlier this year I had the opportunity to speak to a group of women who used my devotion as part of their fitness class. As I drove to the church, I had some fears. I questioned my abilities. I wondered what I would say or how I would sound.
But I went anyway.
The Bible is full of verses telling us to “fear not.” Why so many times? Because fear is real. Insecurity. Anxiety. Worry. Call it what you’d like. But deep down, we get afraid. What affects me might not be the same thing that affects you. But either way, you and I have fears.
The thing is, we have to do it anyway.
Being afraid isn’t wrong. It’s not bad. In fact, we must acknowledge it to be able to deal with it.
We have the opportunity then to choose faith over fear. This allows us to move through it and beyond.
How to Choose Faith Over Fear
Give yourself permission to feel the feelings.
- There is no right or wrong when it comes to your feelings. God does not judge you for your feelings. Our feelings and responses to situations are as unique as we are. We can’t make a choice about moving forward or dealing with something if we choose to suppress or ignore it.
- Use your concordance or a website like Biblegateway or an app like YouVersion to search for scripture that addresses fear, courage, and strength.
- Say your own and ask a trusted friend or family member to lift you up. When I was sitting in the parking lot before going into that church to be with the group of women, I sent a couple of texts to close friends and asked for prayer. There’s comfort in knowing that someone is lifting you up to the Lord.
Get comfortable with a racing heart or sweaty palms because once you take that first step, the fear will ease.
- More times than not, you’re going to have to take that first step. That’s what it means to choose faith over fear. Do it afraid.
Control what you can.
- We like to be in control but fear makes us feel anything but in control. So find something, even ever so small, to control. Whether it’s something within the situation causing the fear, or something outside of that situation. For example, when I go to speak, I can gain a sense of control over my memory because I can take some note cards and jot down thoughts I want to share. But when we’re experiencing a pandemic that even the leaders of our nation don’t quite understand nor have control over, then we have to choose something small I can control like creating a schedule at home or committing to exercise each day.
- In the midst of everything, there’s always something for which to be grateful…air in our lungs, a family member, a spring flower that just popped up, food on the table, even the opportunity to grow through the experience.
Recall other times when God has brought you through a situation.
- The ultimate step to choose faith over fear is to remember. “I will remember the works of the Lord; Surely I will remember Your wonders of old. I will also meditate on all Your work, And talk of Your deeds.” Psalm 77:11-12 (NKJV)
Most days you and I will face a situation or have an emotion that will prompt a form of fear in our lives, it’s in that moment that we can choose faith over fear.
“Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’” Isaiah 41:10 (NKJV)