Over the past year, we have heard this term a lot Faith over Fear. What does it mean to you? People have masks with this on it, t-shirts have been made, and it has become one of those things that we say in passing, faith over fear. My question is, what does it mean to you? Each of us have different accounts of what that means to us. We can relate it to the pandemic we are currently going through, the terrorist attacks against America, war in general, or even in our businesses. The real key is what it means to you. If you are standing in front of a black bear in the middle of a forest are you going to immediately think faith over fear, or are you going to act, based on instinct.
When I hear people use this term I get what people are saying. We will stand together and not be overtaken by the thing that threatens us. We will not allow the potential of something to cause so much fear that we stop living life. Similar to falling off a bike and getting back on it and riding it again. You don't want to be paralyzed by the possibility of falling off you never get back on. What happens, if you had never gotten on the bike out of fear of falling off, then what does it mean? I've always been a person that believes in confronting your fears. I believe that you can overcome fear by facing it head on.
I would like to say that every time I've done this there has been success, but that isn't always the case. Let me just share from my own experience of faith over fear. I'm actually very afraid of heights, but that doesn't stop me from loving roller coasters, or certain rides. However, there are a few rides that really test my fear of heights. I'm not sure why I'm so afraid, but I do believe in testing my limits, and overcoming my fears by doing it. So what better way to overcome my fear, than to ride the big Farris wheel at Six Flags with my kids. I had 5 children with me from age 2-12 and my husband. We are newly married and I thought this is a great way to overcome my fear, because I can't make my kids think I'm afraid.
We all pile into one of the baskets that would go slowly around, giving you beautiful panoramic views of the park but also that area of NJ. So with great fear, but faith that I would overcome, I jumped on enthusiastically ready to be an overcomer. The ride starts, and I'm doing okay, but I'm praying the whole time, "Lord, please don't let us stop at the top, Please Lord." Meanwhile, my twins are sitting next to my husband and they are jumping around in their seat and won't sit still. I keep telling them to sit still but they are enjoying the ride, unlike me. Then my nephew who is two decides he wants a better view so stands up on the seat, to which my husband allows him to. Oh Jesus, it is all getting worse. My heart is beating out of my chest, I no longer can find words to pray. I'm feeling a little woozy, my head is spinning but not because of the ride. My two nieces are sitting next to me holding my hands, and I'm sure they were losing circulation at this point. I’m so near tears, and the ultimate test had not yet come. All of a sudden, with a great thump, we are stopped at the very top of the Farris wheel. My greatest fear, now the kids are jumping and swinging the car, because they think it's fun and shear panic sets in. I'm sure at this point I'm white as a ghost, and I hear my husband say, "babe are you okay?" I gently smile and nod my head, I can't let the kids see I'm scared, I don't want to frighten them. Then it happens, my two year old nephew says, Auntie look we can see GOD from here. Everyone erupting in laughter, I'm able to say, "well today isn't the day I really want to see him, can you please sit down." All of a sudden the wind picks up, and I feel my head swimming around and the ride starts again. Well, we had a few more stops and starts, and clearly when we hit the bottom, they immediately let us out. After taking a deep breathe on solid ground I wanted to cry but not because of the fear but the fact I didn't overcome it. I hadn't conquered my fear that day, but I certainly faced, it and while I had faith, that fear was real. I've rode the ride again, and again trying to conqueror the fear, but sometimes you just have to do it afraid! Sometimes the anxious feeling won't get better, but you continue to move forward. Now, I will say that I probably won't ride it again, but I know I've learned a valuable lesson from it. My perspective each time changes a little bit. I know that when I get on the ride how I'm going to feel, and I still pray through the ride. My kids still laugh although now they are bit more gracious in not swinging the basket and understand that my fear is real, but they see me still do it anyway.
As I started to evaluate this, and think about what makes us have faith over fear and lead from that perspective I had to challenge myself to look at various examples of when this happened. In my life, those around me, and immediately I thought about my friend Joshua. His story is found in Numbers 13, you can take time to read this on your own, but let me share with you what transpired in his situation. Joshua was selected with 11 other men to go and spy on the land that they were going to take possession of. They wanted to make sure they knew what they were going to be facing in the area. They had heard stories, and some of the men were hesitant to go into battle over this land. So Moses decided that he would send twelve spies in to survey the land. They were to come back and give a report on what they saw. Out of the twelve, there were two spies that were a younger generation that was Joshua and Caleb.
As they all go and survey the land, their reports were different. From ten of the men, they were afraid, so their perspective was based on the challenges they saw. From their account, they saw giants and challenges that were far too big for them to face. However, Joshua and Caleb surveying the same place, saw the promise of greatness. Their perspective was from the side of promise, they didn't see the challenges the same way. They saw a land flowing with milk and honey, they saw enormous grapes, and yeah there were giants, but nothing too big that they couldn't handle it. So in summary, two of the men saw through the eyes of faith, and ten through the eyes of fear. When they brought their reports back, because the majority shared in the same perspective, the people's fear grew and caused defeat in their mind before they ever engaged in battle. Just a point to reference here before we get off this perspective, be careful who you are listening to. Be careful who is in your corner cheering you on (or not), because if their perspective is coming from a place of fear, they can instill that fear in you before you ever had time to draw your own conclusions.
Joshua and Caleb, saw from a perspective of faith, they were willing to take the risk to enter the land. They saw the challenges as opportunities because they knew the promise. Joshua and Caleb didn't get distracted by the challenges like the others did. They saw beyond the challenge, and remembered the promise. So you need people in your circle that are more like Joshua and Caleb, risk takers, those that are willing to fail, rather than fail to try. They are the people that are reminding you of your end goal. They're your "goal-friends" those that are really in your corner helping you to achieve greatness, because they already see what is inside of you.
Let's be honest, as we get older our tendency is to take less risk. It's a fact that we must see and address as we continue to walk into our promises. As we continue to build our lives according to God's plan, we have to not allow our inability to take risks paralyze us and create fear. So I have to ask you, what are you afraid of? What is the worst that can happen? Are you paralyzed by fear? Fear of the unknown, or what about fear of success? What are you willing to let go of, to get to your end result?
Even though you may not be able to conquering fear, that doesn't mean you shouldn't confront it. When you make a decision to confront your fear, you are facing it head on, you may find that due to those unknown, or known feelings you become paralyzed or find excuses to do something else. It may even look like procrastination. When we make excuses, we find a way out of hitting our target goals, because we are not exhibiting faith but fear. So we have to address our natural tendencies of how we are feeling to make sure that while it may not get easier, our perspective changes, and we are rising to the occasion and finishing our goals. There are so many things that may be causing the fear, but you once identified you can do something about it. If you don't address it, the fear will drive you to not do the necessary work to get to the desired results.
My husband is a very wise man and he shared this analogy with me. The lion is known as the king the animal kingdom. The lion is not the fastest animal in the kingdom, in fact the reality is the prey could get away if they weren't paralyzed by their fear. A lion uses it's roar to put a paralyzing fear in their prey, which makes them easy to overtake. If the prey had been focused and not distracted by the roar, they would have out run the lion. I see situations in our lives that paralyze us just like the lion. A challenge is a roar that will cause you to lose focus and stop. It keeps you from ever realizing all that you could have done or been. When you read the encounter of the Israelites in the wilderness that is exactly what happened. They were paralyzed by what they saw and believed to be true, instead of moving forward with assurance and discipline in what God had already promised. The question I had to asked myself was, "are you going to be someone that continues to hide behind fear or someone of faith that is discipline and will do all that is necessary to achieve my goals? The reality is, it is our choice will we confront our fears, and move by faith, or will we be paralyzed by our fear. The ten spies that were overcome with fear, never made it to their promise, they died wondering around and Joshua led the next generation into the land and he saw the promise fulfilled. So my question to you is; will you be fearless and do whatever is necessary to see the desired results?
Every answer, and everything you need is already inside of you. You have already been given the promise, you just have to do the work to get it. Everything that we need or want, God has already provided to us, we have to use our resources and MOVE! I want to encourage you today, that through a life of intentional goal planning, removing distractions, and eliminating fear with faith, you can do everything you desire to do. Don't look at your limitations, find solutions to overcome them. Surround yourself with people that are focusing on and achieving their goals. The more your circle includes people that are positive, encouraging, and goal seekers you will find that it is easier to accomplish what you need to in order to succeed.
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