"Don't be afraid!" Easier said than done, isn't it? When nothing is threatening me I can usually roll those words off my tongue in the general direction of others with such eloquence there appears to be a sense of sarcasm in my words. However, when fear has it’s grip around my throat I can’t quite choke out the words “don’t be afraid” because I AM afraid!
A friend of mine, Martin, reminds me often that “nothing is a threat to me today.” That’s a great reminder and good advice. The idea behind the words is this, there is nothing that comes into my life today that God has not already allowed. God has “prescreened” my life today and if that is true then nothing is a threat to me today because God is in control.
Now, with that in mind, how do we take steps to lean into the fear and let it have it’s perfect result in our lives? I would like to suggest a four step process found in Exodus 14:13-16 that will help us face our fear and win.
Moses told the people, “Don’t be afraid. Just stand still and watch the Lord rescue you today. The Egyptians you see today will never be seen again. 14 The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm.” Escape through the Red Sea 15 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Why are you crying out to me? Tell the people to get moving! 16 Pick up your staff and raise your hand over the sea. Divide the water so the Israelites can walk through the middle of the sea on dry ground. Exodus 14:13-16
"Don't be afraid.." What is extremely unique about the words in Exodus is what follows. A prescriptive process to help us face our fear and win.
How To Face Your Fear And Win
1. Stand Still
"Stand Still" v.13
Have your ever felt like running from what you're afraid of? Me too. There are times when I feel trapped with no way out and the children of Israel felt the same way. Their very lives were on the line. Shear panic was setting in and the advice that was given is “Stand Still!” Are you kidding me? Stand still! I want to run like heck! The advice to Stand Still is good advice for without it we can’t get to step number two.
2. Shift Focus
"Watch The Lord" v.13
How can we shift our focus and watch the Lord if we are in panic mode? Answer, we can’t. Standing still allows us to be mindful and mindfulness allows us to shift our thinking to who is in control not what we fear. If we are in control then panic is inevitable. If God is in control then peace has precedence. Usually, when there is no way out, the answer is up.
3. Stay Calm
"Stay Calm" v.14
Why do we need to “stay calm?” Well, my experience tells me that God usually shows up at the last possible moment. The reason? He wants to stretch our faith and build our character because He is more interested in our character than our comfort. We can not move to the final step of the process without remaining calm.
4. Step Out
"Get Moving!" v.15
I actually like the phrase that leads up to these two words, “Why are you crying out to me? Tell the people to get moving!”
Maybe they were paralyzed by their fear but my sense is they wanted to stay comfortably fearful and hope that God would just rescue them. And, that He did, but they needed to “get moving.” In other words, don’t expect God to do what you won’t do. In this story God provided a way but the people had to pursue it. God wanted them to stop crying out and start heading out.
There comes a point when we must lean into the fear and step out with a brave and bold heart.
Remember, God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. 2 Timothy 1:7 NLT
How do you face your fear?
Is there one particular fear you are wrestling with today?
What part of the process is most difficult for you?
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