Job in the Bible made a most profound statement: “For the thing which I greatly feared is come upon me, and that which I was afraid of is come unto me.” (Job 3:25). The Good News Version puts it even more seriously: “Everything I fear and dread comes true.”
It is a cardinal truism that what you fear controls you. And, interestingly, what you fear has a way of coming your way, if the grace of God is not sufficient! On the flip side, what you fear may never come to pass anyway!
I learnt to drive during my first year at Unilever, in 2000. One of the largest roundabouts in Ghana, and maybe in West Africa, used to be the Tetteh Quarshie Circle, which was redesigned and constructed into an interchange in 2005. The traffic generated by vehicles going round that circle was so great and used to be the dread of every novice driver. On the days that I needed to go to Accra from Tema, using the motorway, I would spend hours agonising in my mind about how I would go round Tetteh Quarshie. I used to run headaches and temperatures just by this exercise! However, on all such days, I realised that I was able to go around the Circle much more easier that I thought or feared! With time, I learnt to combat my fear with my performance on the road. There was clearly a mismatch between my fear and the reality.
I read and learnt years ago that the antidote of fear is faith. Faith in my God, faith in my abilities, faith in my capacity to surmount any hurdle or obstacle that comes my way.
“For God gave us not a spirit of fearfulness; but of power and love and disciple.” (2 Timothy 1:7). Fear may come, but it shouldn’t stay. You don’t need to spread out the red carpet for fear and give him the furnished guest room in your life. Fight that fear with the power you have within you, and be disciplined about it. I still experience fear, especially when I am about to tackle a whole new challenging task. However, I always refer to the fact that I have surmounted and performed well with respect to great challenges in the past, and I am emboldened to face the new challenge. I fight any new fear with my faith in God, and His stamp of approval on my abilities, knowing also that He is with me by His grace that strengthens.
Practice also banishes fear. If yours is a fear of presentations before people, practice more. If it is fear of driving in traffic, practice more. If it is of failure, attempt to succeed more. You need get over fear by running. You get over fear by facing the task at hand and by confronting your fear. Above all, don’t let that fear control and render you powerless.
For some of us, our greatest fear concern people. You are afraid of your boss, of your lecturer, of your parents, of your pastor! Knowing and quantifying the worst that person can do to you is a great help to reducing and eliminating that fear. No matter what hold that individual may have on you, he/she cannot kill you! You can banish that fear as well.
Another interesting side to what we fear is the incidence of what we desire and strongly wish for leads to fear! A person may desire a higher calling or a promotion, and yet fear greatly how he is going to perform at that position! Shift your focus on desires, and manage your fears. Desires empower, fear disempowers.
We should learn from Job. Watch what you fear, lest it comes on you.
“Let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882 – 1945)
“Fear Him, ye saints, and you will then have nothing else to fear.” Nicholas Brady (1659 – 1726)
“It is a miserable state of mind to have few things to desire and many things to fear.” Francis Bacon (1561 – 1626)
“No passion so effectually robs the mind of all its powers of acting and reasoning as fear.” Edmund Burke (1729 – 1797)
“Cowards die many times before their deaths, the valiant never taste of death but once; Of all the wonders that I yet have heard, it seems to me most strange that men should fear.” (Julius Caesar, Shakespeare)
“God is our hope and strength; a very present help in trouble. Therefore will we not fear, though the earth be moved and though the hills be carried into the midst of the sea.” Psalm 46:1-2