Written by: Cathie Ostapchuk
When was the last time you felt full of fear…the heart pounding and hands sweating kind of fear? I remember experiencing fear when I returned back to school for a post-graduate degree after a number of years away from the education system. Would I fail? Would I actually finish the program? At some point I had to leave the fear behind and believe that I could and would finish what I had started. Choosing faith over fear is what helped me as I wrote papers in the middle of the night while everyone else slept, and what allowed me to read more textbooks in two years than I had read in my lifetime.
Do you know fear is an illusion? It is a feeling portrayed as an invincible wall that denies us access to what we assumed is impossible to our goals and dreams. For a leader, fear can close us off from our followers and our friends, because we are fearful of letting our fear be seen. We may be scared that we are not the leader people think we are. Fear is what fuels our insecurities during unforeseen challenges because we are anxious that this time we may not be able to overcome them. If we can remember it is a feeling, and not an actual threat, we can learn to manage it. I am wondering about the fear that Moses’ mother felt when she surrendered the basket containing her precious son into the dangerous Nile River? Her faith in her God drowned out the fear she must have wrestled with, knowing that her son may be found and murdered, as were the other Hebrew baby boys under the law of the land. There was something in her experience of God that inspired Moses' mother to take the biggest faith-filled risk of her life.
There will rarely be a time when you don’t have just a little bit of fear lurking in parts of your soul, asking you to stop pursuing your personal mission and vision. In those moments, remember that you have been given an answer to every fear, small or large.
"For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind! (2 Timothy 1:7 NKJ)”
Fear has an antidote, known as faith. One should cancel out the other. Fear produces a wave of unstable emotions that results in a higher flow of adrenaline, making it is almost impossible to make a sound decision that can affect our lives positively. Faith on the other hand should banish anxiety, providing hope, seeing the impossible possible, seeing any offer or opposition as an opportunity, turning what is abstract to reality by just the power of believing. Faith provides a compass, a sense of direction regarding your choices. Any decision made with a sound mind is productive. Because the decision was made without anxiety, no matter the outcome, the results eventually works out to your benefit, even if the circumstances are challenging. Your faith is anchored in God’s ability to do all He has promised, and in the goodness of His character.
Fearful leaders influence fearful followers. Fearless leaders inspire faith-filled followers. Lead with faith and begin to take some risks. Be open and ask for prayer from trusted friends when you have fearful thoughts. Let your character be transformed each time you choose faithfulness over fearfulness.