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All of us experience fear at some point or another. For some, it’s the fear of heights or darkness that makes our stomachs churn. But for many, it is the fear of the unknown, rejection, speaking up, or failure that stops us in our tracks and keeps us from living the lives we are meant to live. The degree to which we give in to those fears greatly affects our life trajectory. Sure, sleeping with a light on at night or refusing to ride a rollercoaster does not have a significant impact on where you end up in life.
But the sooner you learn to conquer the fears that hold you back, the less restricted your path will be and the more God will use you to impact His kingdom.
Over the years, I have seen many talented young artists, musicians, speakers, and leaders refuse to step out of the familiarity of their comfort zones because they were not confident in their ability to succeed in the specific area in which the Lord had gifted them. I have also seen this effect take place in my own life as I wrestle with my own fear of failure and the unknown. I remember walking around the city of Budapest in high school with the task of engaging strangers in gospel-centered conversations. The fear that I experienced caused my stomach to feel queasy, my hands to shake, and my legs to feel like Jell-O. Through the encouragement of others and the power of the Holy Spirit within me, I was able to overcome that fear enough to begin a conversation with a man who turned out to be an Orthodox Jew. He was willing to share his story with me and listen while I shared with him the change that the good news of Jesus Christ had brought about in my own life. While I cannot say for sure that that conversation radically changed his life, it definitely did change mine!
Why am I telling you this? Because for every story in which I was able to overcome fear and grow, there are two in which I did not. So, I hope that in sharing this truth I can encourage you to follow the Lord’s guidance and not leave room for the shame and guilt that so frequently results from allowing your fear to keep you from using the gifts and opportunities God has blessed you with. In the same way that God has uniquely gifted me, He has also equipped you for the good works that He prepared in advance for you to do through His Word and the work of the Holy Spirit in your life (Ephesians 2:10, 2 Timothy 2:16-17). Do not let your fear of the things of this world inhibit your ability to obey the Lord’s calling, but rather fear God and let Him lead you to use your talents and gifts for the furthering of His kingdom in your heart and the hearts of others. Like Moses, Gideon, and so many others from Scripture, you will be surprised to find that – even if it is not in the way you first expected – God will use your courage to grow you and those around you.