Have you ever tried to move on from a disappointing situation, get unstuck or out of a rut or do something completely new and just couldn’t find the strength?
Maybe you have a personal dream or a career goal and despite the excitement you feel about doing something great, you find yourself unable to move and take action. I have experienced all of the above and I can tell you firsthand that in almost all those situations I was looking in the rearview mirror and reliving all the times that things went wrong.
If you’ve lived long enough, you know life will throw you curveballs. There will be ups and downs, tough situations that feel like they’ll go on forever. But they never really do, do they? We get over these situations, dark nights pass and by God’s grace we find solutions even for the worst case scenarios.
However, there’s a lingering effect that happens a result of those experiences: residual fear. Because we don’t want to relive a bad, disappointing or traumatic experience, we unconsciously build defenses in our minds and hearts. We’re glad the worst is over, but we’ll never trust someone that much again, or take another risk, or dare to dream that big again. But living cautiously is not living abundantly. When we tiptoe around life shielding ourselves from pain, hurt, and disappointment because of the fear of the past, we limit what God can do in and through us.
So how can we unearth those fears and lay them to rest forever? Here are 3 ways:
1. Thank God for every experience you’ve had to endure.
This was so hard for me to do, but consciously giving God thanks for every situation- good or bad- helped me understand and accept that my times and seasons are in God’s hand. When I surrendered my life to Him, I held nothing back. So when difficult times come, even though I may not understand why, I know that I’m not alone. I am assured that He has me in the palm of His hand and cares for me. I can rest in that fact and I challenge you to do the same.
Read and write out Isaiah 49:16.
2. Take the lessons and apply them in future experiences.
I believe we are often haunted by fears from the past because we haven’t taken the time to sort through our thoughts about them. What did you learn from the business that failed? What did you learn from that broken relationship or the health crisis? There’s always something to gain from the pain. I challenge you to look at every circumstance through the light of God’s word and He will begin to show you how to take the lessons from the past and apply them to future circumstances. Approach the future armed with unwavering faith, hope, excitement and the wisdom from past experiences and you will surprise yourself.
3. Declare that the future is greater than the past you have left behind.
Finally, with the lessons you have learned, accept the God-given opportunities in your future to grow, expand and be more. Don’t hold back. When the thoughts of fear and despair come, counter them with words of faith. Declare that you will arise and shine for your light has come – Isaiah 60:1; that you are forgetting the former things and not dwelling on the past because the Lord is doing a new thing – Isaiah 43:18-19; that you have not been given the spirit of fear but of a sound mind – 2 Timothy 1:17; that the glory of the latter will be greater than the former – Haggai 2:9.
Counter the fear with the truth of God’s word. Don’t be complacent about the things God has placed in your heart to do. If God has placed a desire in your heart, what is fear in the light of God’s promise and spiritual ability?
Decide that enough is enough. Fear will not stop you from being all you were called to be. Be strong and courageous because the Lord is your strength. Be joyful, hopeful and always ready to obey when God says Go! Don’t worry about your abilities not being enough or the things that others have said about you in the past. His grace is sufficient for you.
Ready to advance in faith and leave fear behind? You can do it!