Fear Not for I am with you.
I wonder how many times those words or words like them are in the Bible.
Because it’s a blueprint for living, I would guess it’s a theme often mentioned.
Everyone is afraid of something. The economy, our boss, what friends might think, or people in general, or the circumstances in our lives we have no control over, snakes, spiders, heights, or taking risks just barely scratch the surface of the fears psychologists give fancy names.
In the most extreme cases, fear can paralyze a person or take away the ability to speak.
The greatest, most common fear, the one that ranks consistently in the top three is public speaking. Many people fear the possibility of having to get up in front of a group more than death itself.
If God is the source of all that is good in our lives, it’s a safe bet that Satan is responsible for anything, like fear, that denies us joy.
One of my favorite John Wayne movie quotes is “Courage is being scared to death… but saddling up anyway.”
One of the most courageous people I’ve ever known was a sixth grade girl who gave a speech in my public speaking class.
It was my custom to always sit in the back of the room when my students performed. That day we were lucky enough to have a podium the students could use, and everything was going well until the most timid girl in my class volunteered to give her speech and I heard while she performed. I walked to the front of the room, standing slightly behind the girl, and off to the side. The audience was attentive, but the noise steadily got louder. Because she was standing behind the podium, I was the only one who understood what was causing the noise. I had never seen, before or since, any kid who was so scared, that her knees knocked against each other. There she was, scared to death, but -“saddling up any way”- giving her speech.
I have never been more proud of or more humbled by the courage of a student.
Saddling up anyway demands having faith and believing in someone so much you’re able to, at least temporarily, overcome the fear. In an ideal world, I’d like to believe that as the teacher of that class I was the instrument that helped her overcome her fear of public speaking. She took the first step to freedom from fear, but who will help her the next time she’s eye to eye with fear?
There is someone who helps us overcome all of our fears if we invite Him into our lives. All we have to do is ask and believe. “For God gave us a spirit, not of fear, but of power and love …”
How do I know so much about fear? I’m basically an introvert. I hate getting up to talk unless I am emotionally involved or feel I don’t have a choice. But I love to perform… go figure!
How do I conquer fear?
• I focus on you, the audience.
• I prepare. I make sure I have the answers to as many questions about what I’m doing as possible.
• I practice, or in the case of this blog, write, and rewrite and edit and edit some more.
• I flip Fear on its head, and use it to do everything I possibly can to make sure I’m fully prepared for my presentation.
• I pray before, during and after the work is completed. The work itself becomes a prayer.
So when Fear makes itself known, pray, prepare, and saddle up anyway, so you can do what God has set for you.