See, the Lord your God has given you the land. Go up and take possession of it as the Lord, the God of your ancestors, told you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.
A surprising secret: fear is often more likely confirmation to move forward than a reason to turn back on the path to our God-sized dreams.
Here’s why: God wired our brains with a beautiful part called the amygdala—it controls our flight or fight response. Most of the time it works really well. For example, we instantly notice and react to the bear charging out of the woods at us.
And this is where it plays into fear being a confirmation: the amygdala likes the status quo. It sees change, especially if it means stepping out of our comfort zone, as a threat because it’s unfamiliar. Therefore it registers those things as something that needs a “flight or fight response” initially.
In Scripture, when God says, “Do not fear,” it is almost always to someone already feeling fear. He helps us get past that first response and move from fear to faith. But that first fear response is often an indicator that God is asking us to step out of our comfort zone. That’s why it can be part of a confirmation that He’s asking us to do something.
Your fear is not a reason to be ashamed.
Everyone feels afraid when they decide to pursue a God-sized dream.
I’ve had the privilege of walking beside thousands of women on the path to their God-sized dreams. No matter their age, location, or lifestyle, they have this in common: at some point they’re scared silly. It doesn’t matter if they’re already a bestselling author or putting the first words ever on a page, fear still comes calling. It’s no respecter of persons.
We believe a myth that goes like this: if that woman I see is successful, then she must not struggle with fear. So we hold back because we believe we have to stop being afraid before we move forward. And we certainly don’t admit to anyone else that we’re terrified of what may happen. But trust me on this, sisters: we’re all in this together.
Just this morning I stared at the computer screen and felt the familiar prickle at the back of my neck that said, “If you try that, something terrible will happen.” Thankfully, I’ve been at this long enough now to realize that fear is quite the exaggerator. I can brush off those feelings a bit more easily than when I first began, but they’re still present.
When psychologists want to help a client overcome a phobia, one of the most effective treatments is exposure therapy. Little by little, bit by bit, they safely enable the client to confront what frightens them. Each time that happens, the client’s brain (specifically, the amygdala) learns to lower the threat alert level for that particular thing. It’s the same way with us. We can’t talk ourselves out of fear. We just have to take steps of faith so that we can see we really are going to be okay. Then our brain gets on board and the “sound the alarm” sensation of fear gets quieter over time.
God understands your fear. He doesn’t condemn you for it or tell you to snap out of it. Instead He takes you by the hand and speaks to your heart words of courage, love, and grace. Lean in and listen to His voice until it’s louder than the fear.
You can pursue your God-sized dream with Him by your side—even if you’re afraid.
Shared by: Holley Gerth
p.s. Would you like more encouragement for your God-sized Dreams? Holley’s books You’re Made for a God-sized Dream and Opening the Door to Your God-sized Dream can help!