What do you think about using Fear to strengthen your Faith?
When Tiffany asked me to be a guest blogger for #ShesEngaged I said, “Of course!” without hesitation. And then she sent me the topic and I laughed out loud.
Faith vs. Fear
Seriously? This is what you want me to write about now?! When I’m in the middle of questioning and doubting myself. When I’m on the edge of being paralyzed with fear. Faith vs. Fear is what you want me to write about? And then I remembered that this isn’t really coming from Tiffany, but from God Herself. So yes, writing about Faith vs. Fear is my assignment this week, this month, this season.
So many times I prayed to God to help me increase my faith. To trust and rely on Him instead of myself. To fully believe in His plan for me and my life. And just as many times, maybe even more, I’ve been struck by fear that feels so all-encompassing that it seems like I’ll never rise above it. And then I feel guilty and angry with myself that I don’t have more faith and trust in God’s plan for me.
We are taught that if we’re truly spiritual or religious that we can’t be simultaneously faithful and fearful. Either you’re faithful or you’re fearful. Recently I’ve started to consider a different perspective – that Faith and Fear are two different sides of the same coin. It’s not an either/or situation of Faith vs. Fear. Rather Faith and Fear go hand in hand. They’re both connected to and necessary for our relationship with God.
Fear exists in the moments when God’s vision and purpose for our lives seems too big for us. It’s the hesitation we feel before jumping into something new. It’s that moment of freefall before our wings expand and allow us to fly. It happens when we’re about take a leap of faith into what God wants for our lives. Rather than feeling pulled between being faithful and fearful, view it as an opportunity to move closer to God.
There are three ways to use Fear to strengthen your Faith:
First, acknowledge your fear. Say it for what it is. Sometimes we don’t like to admit vulnerability. And rather than acknowledge being fearful, we’ll say that we’re too busy or overwhelmed or don’t have enough time. When in reality it’s fear that is holding us back from doing what God has called us to do. Be honest with yourself and admit your fear when it exists, but don’t meditate on what you’re afraid of happening! Dr. Amos Johnson Jr. has an insightful podcast on how meditating of what you’re fearful of can cause that thing to happen, click here to check out “Fear Creates a Future You Don’t Want.”
Then make a choice. Decide what to do with your fearfulness. When we’re fearful we have a choice to make – get stuck and paralyzed by the fear or use it to move closer to God. Will you allow it to bring you closer to God? Or will it paralyze you? This doesn’t take away that fact that you’re afraid, but instead helps you to be clear about how you will use it.
Finally, turn to God. Use your fearfulness and vulnerability to deepen your relationship with God. Have a conversation with God just like you would a girlfriend. Share your fears and vulnerabilities. There’s no need to be fearful alone.
“Sunflower, when did you forget that you’re a sunflower?”
This is my personal mantra that I use when I feel my fears taking over. It reminds me that God designed me to be enough and He has given me all that I need to fulfill my purpose. It helps me move through the fearfulness and not get stuck in it. This mantra draws me closer to God and my faith, even when I am fearful.
Let’s continue this conversation in the comments section! As you consider all the ways that Faith and Fear are active in your life who or what keeps you moving forward? ~Tonya Ladipo, LCSW, CEO of The Ladipo Group, Visionary of Learn. Change. Grow.
I’m so overjoyed that Tonya agreed to be the #ShesEngaged woman for May. Her honest reflection is evidence that God is working to help her manage her fears. By the way, my grandfather nicknamed me ‘Sunflower’ –so I totally love the mantra. Tonya is modest too! She and her staff are doing great things in the city of Philadelphia, counseling brown women to learn, change and grow. Go to www.theladipogroup.com for more info. Thank you Tonya! You are definitely an engaged woman.
P.S. Seats for June 12th’s KNOW YOUR WORTH Brunch & Coaching Series are limited! Don’t miss out, it’s a great way to reconnect with your UNIQUE superpowers as a woman, while connecting with other progressive women in the city. CLICK HERE to reserve your seat now!