Warning, there may be triggers in this post for people who do not like reading about violence or psychosomatic responses. Proceed with caution, hug an animal/teddy bear, and breathe.
When God created us, God gave us reflexes, which are meant to protect us. If we’re driving on the road and a giant truck is speeding the wrong way toward us, we have every reason to respond in fear, since that truck could potentially kill us. In the face of dangerous situations, adrenaline rushes through our body and tells us to fight, flight, or freeze.
I love the reminder that “God does not call the qualified, he qualifies the called.” However, I think we need to define what that looks like. God calls us to do impossible things with his strength, but he does not leave us empty handed. We may be unqualified when he calls us to a task, but when we actually do the task, he will have prepared us through trials and acts of faith. When we look at Scripture and the people who were used of God despite their fear, we see that God prepared them to conquer the giants in their way.
Due to his prejudice and the reputation that the Ninevites had, Jonah, despite being a prophet of God, did not want to speak judgment over those people. He ran in the exact opposite direction of where God was calling him. Nevertheless, God chased down Jonah and prepared him to follow his will. Jonah spent two days in the belly of a large fish, praying and seeking God. God used those trials to grow Jonah’s faith and to prepare him for the task of calling the Ninevites to repentance.
Moses was eighty years old when he got the call from God to lead the people out of Egypt. Although Moses was afraid, God had molded Moses’ life as a shepherd who was raised by Pharaoh’s daughter, so that Moses had influence to speak to Pharaoh and had wisdom to lead the Israelites.
Mary was a teenager when the angel Gabriel spoke to her and told her that she would give birth to the Messiah and then raise him to walk in the way of God. Her response? She was afraid! She was engaged to Joseph, who probably would be wondering how a baby got inside of her. Also, did I mention that she was a young teenager? Nevertheless, God had prepared her to hear the prophecy from Gabriel through her years of faith, and I am certain that God used the pregnancy to grow her faith to where she could raise the Messiah and give glory to God through His birth.
These people from the Bible, in addition to several others, were scared, but they were also prepared. When you’re faced with fear, it is important to take several steps. First, think about what actually makes you afraid. “What about flying on an airplane or confronting my boss or walking around my neighborhood scares me? What’s the worst that can happen?” You may get some healing from simply asking yourself that question, especially when your fears are irrational.
However, if you discover that your fear is legitimate (whether you’ve faced trauma that almost killed you, or the fear paralyzes you), you need to ask yourself, “Am I prepared to face my fear?” I personally have a fear of planes, but I love to travel. Once I buy a plane ticket, I research how long the flight will be, I think of fun activities to do while on the flight, I stock up on essential oils and natural calming products, and I pray. Even if I book a flight months in advance, I do all these things, because I obsess about my future safety.
If you’re afraid of getting attacked by a person with a weapon, unless you are an armed police officer who is trained in self-defense, you are not prepared to face your fear. If you’re afraid of skydiving but you want to jump without a parachute, you are not prepared to face your fear. Fears are healthy when our bodies know we are not prepared to deal with that dangerous situation. Before being a hero, be patient with yourself and go through the training you need to conquer your fears.
How can you use these steps to prepare yourself for the next time you face your fears?