One of my earliest memories of choosing faith over fear occurred when I was a young boy visiting Lego Land in San Diego, California with my family. I vividly remember standing in line for a ride. (It was only 10-minutes, but it felt like hours.) My hands were sweating, and my knees felt weak. The voices in my head said, “turn around Alex, this isn’t worth it!” But something kept me in that line; I was determined to go on my first roller coaster. I finally reached the front of the line! The attendants buckled me in, and the roller coaster began ascending.
Check out the extended podcast version of this blog post: You’re Missing Out on Life If You’re Living in Fear [Podcast]
If you’re a fan of roller coasters, you know what happens next. Once you reach the initial drop, all fear is gone, and you’re having the time of your life!
Choosing faith over fear is a decision that everyone must make.
Before getting into how we can choose faith over fear in our lives, I first want to talk about what fear is. To put this simply, fear is fake. Fear is a perception of our minds that we have believed is real. Fear is created by what we choose to trust.
I can recall as a child watching my parents’ friends raising their kids differently than the way my parents raised me. Some of the parents were overly protective and fearful of what would happen to their kids (my friends). They tried to keep their kids from getting hurt in just about every way you could imagine. Almost everything was dangerous in the eyes of these parents.
One example of this was my family’s trampoline. I’m one of four boys from the Sanfilippo family. We read the label that only one kid should be on a trampoline at a time, but that wasn’t going to fly with my brothers and me. (Especially once you’ve tasted the glory of a super bounce from 3 of your brothers!) Anyway, we raged on the trampoline, until it broke, then we got another one, and another one, and another one…
Fear is created by what we choose to trust; it isn’t reality.
I remember that some kids that were family friends would come over from time to time. We would invite these kids out to bounce on the trampoline with us! However, something was different about them. They were not allowed on the trampoline with more than one person at a time. Whenever one of them was on it; even alone, they were terrified and cautious. If someone else ever got on the trampoline at the same time as them, they would quickly get off because they were so scared that they would get hurt. Not only were they scared that they would get hurt, but they were also sure of it. (Which is entirely false thinking!)
As I reflect on this example of my childhood trampoline; I got on it with many other kids and never had any fear and never really got hurt. But other kids were so scared of it that they missed out on some of the greatest memories they could ever have as children.
It is human nature to fear the unknown. Our mind warns us when something seems unknown, and our bodies react. The unknown will always be something that we are naturally fearful of. Fear becomes elevated when someone tells you that it needs to be feared. Now what you fear is not only unknown but also reinforced by others that it is something that you should indeed fear and avoid.
If you want to live the Christian life and life at the fullest, you must walk by faith. We are called to live a life of trusting in the unknown by believing that God is leading us in the right direction. The only way you can live life at the fullest and maximize your potential is by overcoming fear.
Choosing faith over fear is an intense battle that happens inside of each of us!
Naturally, we are fearful, but it is our calling to a life of faith. The definitions of these two words couldn’t be more opposite:
- Definition of Fear: An unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous or unknown.
- Definition of Faith: Complete trust or confidence in someone or something that is safe or well-known.
How to choose faith over fear:
In the middle of these two opposites, fear and faith are two things that all of us must do to choose to live by faith and to grow.
#1. We must trust God. Trusting God is the mental and physical action of choosing faith. (Read more about trusting God.) Now, don’t get mad at me, but trusting God isn’t enough.
#2. We must learn to confront. My favorite definition for this word is one of the simplest. To confront means to deal with a problem or difficulty face to face or head on. Being willing to confront that which we fear makes our faith grow. The worst thing you can do is avoid your problems or difficult situations. The result will bring change to our lives. “Trusting God” is meaningless if you don’t put your money where your mouth is. You must take action if you want your trust in God to mean anything.
What you do not confront will not change.
What area of your life are you having trouble giving to God through faith? It is time to have that child-like faith that caused us to finally get on the roller coaster. Remember that new level of excitement and joy those steps of faith brought to our childhoods? Imagine what could happen if you treated your current situations the same way.
Is there something that you have felt called to do, or wanted to do, that you have let fear keep you from doing? Maybe it is fear of failure or fear of change that is keeping you from moving forward. Perhaps you have a business idea that you’ve been scared to act on because someone is telling you it won’t work. Remember my trampoline example? Don’t allow fear to hold you back, especially fear-based on someone else’s negative experience in their own life. They aren’t you, and they don’t know what God has called you to do.
As believers, we are called to be in this world, but not part of it. We are called to live differently; we walk by faith, not by sight. The bible says in 2 Timothy 1:7, “For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” We all have things in our lives that we have wanted to do, but we have allowed fear to hold us back. Let’s decide together to remove the bondage that fear brings and begin living by what the word of God says! Let’s decide today as followers of Christ not to allow fear to keep us from our hearts desires any longer!
My challenge to you today:
- Forget what someone has told you to fear in the past.
- Embrace the unknown.
- Trust that God is going to protect you, take care of you and bless you.
- Confront your fears.
- Remember that God has your best interest in mind. Be excited about overcoming what you fear.
I have a confession; I don’t know what is going to happen to you when you choose faith over fear. Only God knows what will happen if you decide to walk by faith. But, here’s the exciting news: God always has your best interest in mind. Joshua 1:9 says, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Let today be the day that you finally let go of your fear and embrace your faith in God!