This is a post I wrote enroute to Europe on June 30th. It was originally used as a guest blog for another site. Thought I’d post it here for you today. Maybe someone out there needs this encouragement today!
I’m writing this at 32,000 feet, somewhere between London and Budapest. My final destination is Resita, Romania—the industrial city that produced the steel to build the Eiffel Tower. My reason for this trip is twofold: to minister among teens and young adults living with HIV/AIDS, and later, to help lead an evangelistic family camp in Poland.
Upon hearing about this venture, some people said, “Wow, good for you! I’d love to do something like that, but it won’t happen.”
I questioned them. “Why not? What’s holding you back?”
Some replied, “I’m scared to fly.” Others said, “I’m afraid of contracting HIV.” Some said, “I’m afraid of traveling in a country where I can’t speak the language.”
My answer? “Acknowledge those fears and then do it afraid.”
FEAR: FRIEND OR FOE?
Fear wears many faces: the fear of inadequacy, the fear of rejection, of failure, of financial insecurity, of an unknown future, and more. If we don’t recognize and deal with it, it will hinder us from embracing life as God intends and prevent His purpose for us from being fulfilled.
I’ve struggled with debilitating fear in the past, but I no longer let it rule me. I now view it as a catalyst for spiritual growth. For example, I believe that when God gives us tasks that stretch us beyond our comfort zones, saying yes forces us to depend on Him. It guarantees an opportunity for us to experience His presence, power and equipping. Fear, then becomes our friend.
I’ve found this to be true in my writing and speaking ministry. This was not a role I sought. Rather, at age 41, I sensed God telling me to write. He gave clear instructions: interview two specific women and write their profiles. I felt totally inadequate and feared failure. But I said yes and did it afraid.
The result? Ten years later, I’ve written hundreds of articles for more than 40 magazines, authored four books, and produced a Bible study and teaching DVD about—you guessed it—moving from fear to freedom.
My writing ministry quickly expanded to include speaking at international women’s events, writers conferences, and on radio and TV. It’s been a white-knuckle ride, but I’ve experienced God’s presence and power in ways that I would have missed otherwise.
I’ve also found this to be true in my role as national co-director for International Messengers Canada (www.im-canada.ca). My husband and I assumed leadership in 2007 after the U.S. office asked us to do so. At first we wondered whether we were qualified for the new responsibilities. One of our roles would be to recruit, train, and lead short-term ministry teams to Eastern Europe. What if no one volunteered? What if our best attempts failed? Humanly speaking, we had good reason to feel scared. But we believed God was directing our steps, and so we said yes and did it afraid.
The result? We’ve witnessed God in action: He provided housing, a rent-free office, an administrative assistant, and short-term volunteers. This is our tenth ministry trip to Eastern Europe since 2007 and we’ve seen spiritual hunger satisfied as men and women have come to understand God’s unconditional love for them. What a thrill to be part of God’s kingdom-building team in the post-Communist bloc.
My tagline is “Leading Women in Fearless Faith.” Does that mean I never wrestle with fear? No. It simply means that I no longer allow fear to intimidate me. Rather, I counteract it by admitting it to God, asking others to pray for me, filling my mind with the truth of God’s word, and then moving forward—doing it afraid. That’s my prayer for you, too.
When God calls you to a task that leaves your knees knocking, say yes and do it afraid. Move forward and trust Him to equip you to get the job done. I guarantee you’ll discover a greater understanding of who God is and what His purposes are for your life.
Grace Fox is national co-director of International Messengers Canada, a ministry that offers creative short-term and career service opportunities in the post-Communist bloc – www.im-canada.ca She’s also an international speaker and author of several books. Her latest release is a Bible study and accompanying 7-part teaching DVD titled Moving from Fear to Freedom: A Woman-to-Woman Conversation. Available at Amazon.com and other online stores, and www.gracefox.com (groups discounts available there). Join her on FB – www.facebook.com/gracefox.author.