Faith Over Fear – Finding Courage Amidst Challenges

We all want to be brave. Childhood fairytales celebrate the adventurous, the willful hero or heroine unfazed to save the day.

As children, we don’t always feel invincible. There are days when our fears overwhelm us and we would rather hide underneath our bedsheets than slay dragons.

When we become adults, the days of dragon-slaying in pajamas become far behind us. Our fears becomes reality from not being able to pay the bills, your mother getting terminally ill, to  your child getting bullied in school. But how wish we never grew, to always have that same courage as a child to face life head-on. Other people seem to have it together – why can’t I?

The world has programmed us to think that courage is the absence of fear. We see brave people and think, “Wow, they must be unafraid.” While it’s natural to think that way, that statement may not be entirely true. In fact, what sets courageous people apart is the ability to recognize their fears, and still do the things that scare them, anyway. Fear feeds on doubts and what-ifs but courage says, “Okay, but we won’t know unless we try.”

In the Bible, God has given us numerous promises we can claim or hold on to during seasons of doubt and fear. We are reminded that He knows our hearts, that we are prone to worry, fear, and anxiety. That is why he speaks to our fears and encourages us to surrender them.

Christian author Elisabeth Elliot said, “Faith does not eliminate questions, but faith knows where to take them… My faith is to rest not in the outcome I think God should work out for me, my faith rests in who God is… the quietness of my heart is the fruit of an absolute confidence in God.”

How can we build up a faith that moves mountains and says, “Whom shall I fear?” Here are some ideas to help us be in a better perspective when confronted with fear.

1. Immerse yourself in God’s promises – The Bible is our sword and it’s always good to have it handy whenever we feel under attack. One homeschooling mom helped her daughter overcome anxiety by filling her daughter’s Bible with sticky notes. Each time her daughter would start to feel fearful or anxious, she would instruct her to ‘get your sword’ and read an encouraging verse. Slowly but surely, the young girl anchored her strength on God’s promises and overcame her fears. As a start, read Psalm 27

2. Pray – Relationships take work, and communication is key. Talking to God in prayer builds your connection to the one absolute in a world that’s constantly changing. Take your fears to the Lord and allow him to work through them. It also gives you a chance to unplug and detach from the things that bog you down. Prayer brings you closer to God and gives you a deeper understanding of who he is – which, in turn, helps you put things in perspective.

3. Find support in community – God designed us for relationships and having an emotional support system is crucial in building resilience. The right kind of friends will help you process your fears and gradually put them in the right place. Problems shrink when you know you have people behind you, supporting you in your struggles. Don’t be afraid to reach out to those you trust; they will be more than glad to help you through in your time of need.

4. Recall God’s faithfulness – Remembering how God has come through for you in the past will give you something to hold onto when things are looking bleak. It builds appreciation and thanksgiving, which are key elements in developing a positive mindset. Problems don’t look as bad when you see God’s fingerprints in your life. It reinforces the truth that God works all things for the good of those who love him, who are called according to his purpose. It also gives you a chance to look at the bigger picture, instead of dwelling on the present trouble. If you haven’t yet, make a habit of recording how God has answered your prayers and helped you in the past. Then look back on those moments when your faith falters.

Life will always bring challenges that will test your faith. But we don’t have to live in constant fear when we know who holds tomorrow – and if we know him well.

“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).