I heard the call and I accepted the challenge to contribute to the Quintessential F dream of inspiring and encouraging women through written word. So I started to write an article, but before I could tidy it up I kept over-thinking and re-evaluating and before I knew it, a year had passed before I submitted something. I couldn’t, or maybe wouldn’t, figure out why I kept holding back. It was not until I came across some Facebook posts from a young American author called Tiana Patrice (Author of FiftyTwoShadesOfFearless) that I realised that what I was experiencing – and letting thrive – was fear. I was afraid that my articles would not be good enough, that no one would be inspired, encouraged or even interested in anything that I had to share.
To top it all off, so much terrible news was doing the rounds on the news channels and in social media. A lot was going wrong and it sometimes felt like there was no end in sight to the stressors and horrors. In addition to the loud voices of doom from outside my spheres of influence, my inner voices kept ringing loudly leading me to panic and and a state of being overwhelmed. The source of my fear was absolutely real.
It was after taking Tiana’s #ActivateYourFearless challenge that I appreciated that “Faith and fear can’t operate in the same space.” That I had to stop holding on to the kind of fear that was pulling me further and further away from my God given destiny.
Once I had resolved to let go of the fear and open myself up to all that God was calling me, I started getting a prompting to write about FEAR from different influences in my life. In church I was reminded that fear is the opposite of faith, that you cannot profess to believe in the power and might of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ when you are led by fear.
On social media my attention was caught by messages such as this one from a former schoolmate and friend,
“Fear causes us to turn bad news into a bad report, we lose perspective but faith turns bad news into a good report. Walking with Holy Confidence.” Mavis Mazhura: Author and Speaker: Facebook Page 02/04/2016
I then decided to explore the most common causes of the fear that forces us to lose our focus and grip.
Most of our fear is caused by our uncertainty about the future. Our need for control and absolute certainty pressures us to settle for nothing less. We just HAVE to be in charge of our destinies otherwise we have failed. It is easy to think that our opinion about our future is fact and nothing and no one should be allowed to mess with that. We are conditioned to visualise how our lives are going to turn out and what to be a success means.
It is unfortunate that these views can be the very reason that holds us back from fulfilling our destinies. My recent encounters have led me to realise that I am more than I or the world perceives. My experiences, positive and negative, have shaped me into the person that only God wants me to be. No one lives in a vacuum. No one is in complete control. No one has all the answers. Your future is not going to be shaped by fear and anxiety. So why give in to fear when God is for us. He is on our side and we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us?
One lesson that I have learnt is that in the grand design of things, everything has a time and purpose. We may not understand nor appreciate why things are happening (or not happening) at the expected time but if we really dig deeper we will realise that there is a divine purpose in it all. Just Let Go! And Let God lead you into your future!
Fear can also rear its ugly head in the form of insecurity. For us women a lot of the negativity we face comes from comparing ourselves to our friends, siblings, peers, competitors and even to complete strangers.
“Comparison is the devil’s tool that has stopped many of us gals from stepping into our God-given destinies…and it’s time to stop!” Sharon Jaynes
I encourage you to learn from the experiences and successes of others but never look again at another woman with the kind of envy and comparison that distracts you from your own strengths and achievements.
On the 10th of May 2016, Tiana Patrice shared this profound message on Facebook;
“One of my secrets to my success this year is this….
I stopped watching others.
It’s so easy to get distracted by what others are doing, and compare it to where you are in your season. So I stopped. I unfollowed people. I even unfollowed people I admired. I stopped allowing myself to get consumed in someone else’s day, or marketing plan, or product, or service…. or whatever. I stopped focusing on everyone else’s chapter in their book and focused on mine… I read more, I worked more, I implemented more, I took action more… I stopped posting my every move…. I starved my distractions… and I fed my focus… And it worked!”
This is what we need to do! We need to stop focusing on the minute details of other people’s lives. We need to STARVE OUR DISTRACTIONS AND FEED OUR FOCUS! Go for it! Stop the negative comparisons, starve that fear and focus on your success!
Another cause of fear has been when one goes for their passion or calling and then somewhere along the way things get HARD. At that point fear of failure takes over and our first reaction is usually to give up. We start telling ourselves that this is not for us… that it is just too hard and not worth the time or effort. It is important to remember that;
“Difficulties show men what they are. In case of any difficulty remember that God has pitted you against a rough antagonist that you may be a conqueror, and this cannot be without toil.” EPICTETUS
Do not let the fear of failure persuade you to let go of your dreams. Endure the hardships, overcome and keep moving.
I have consistently been at my best and most proud of myself after facing challenges that I sometimes thought were insurmountable and would be the death of me. I have come to appreciate difficulties as a moulding and building process where lessons are learnt, resilience and determination is developed and ultimately fear is conquered. It may hurt, but at the end of the trials I come out with a sense of victory, that I am a conqueror.
Whenever you feel overwhelmed by fear and a sense of failure just take this advice from Joyce Meyer; in her book Never Give UP! and tell the devil,
“Listen, liar! I had a little setback, but it is not over yet! I will meet my goals. I will do what God is calling me to do. It is worth the effort, and you will not stop me.”
While most of us harbour on the fear of failure a less obvious and equally dangerous preoccupation is…… the fear of success. We may have a set game plan or we are ready to accomplish the vision that we can clearly see yet we stumble and stutter simply because we are afraid of dealing with the success elements that come with it.
I remember once telling a friend about my vision and what I deem to be my purpose and when her reaction was, “Wow! You’re going to be famous!” I immediately cringed and pulled back. While I appreciated that my passion would possibly open me up to other people, that my vision had the potential to take me to other lands and to open me up to other cultures… I was filled with the dread of being exposed. I have always been a very private person and I was afraid of losing myself by unleashing my talents on the world. In order to counter unwanted attention I resolved to play small in order to avoid being too successful and famous!
In dealing with the fear of success I am encouraged to look at the example of Jesus who did not let the “fame” get in the way of His divine mission. Despite the positive and negative feedback He lived His mission and vision to the very end. His focus was not on the people and voices around Him but rather on what needed to be done. Jesus just DID! Simply and completely. But above all He did everything for the glory and honour of GOD! Not for His own glory and comfort.
As a parting word and in celebration of the life of one amazing Fearless Ambassador of Christ I leave you with this wisdom from Tiana Patrice,
“For those of you who are out there right now, doing God’s work. Stop stressing the details, because God will put you in the perfect position to ensure your purpose is properly executed!”
Be blessed! Be Fearless!