Most of us don’t like to admit that we have fear, but it often underlies many of our decisions. We fear how the other people might perceive us. We fear how our words or the words of someone else might reverberate throughout the office. We fear being out of control so we often control others through fear. Fear shows up in so many ways in our relationships and attitudes.
In the Old Testament, we have the classic story about fear: David and Goliath. The story goes like this. The Hebrew army withered in front of the mighty Goliath every morning as he taunted them with trash talk. Even the mighty King Saul was frightened. However, God sends in a teenage boy named David, who did not have fear, but a brave faith in God, to conquer this mighty foe with a slingshot and some stones.
Based on David’s example, here are three ways you can handle your fear.
- Make yourself vulnerable to your fear. This action is counterintuitive if you are fearful. Our natural reaction is not to expose ourselves to what may hurt others or us. Yet David’s bravery is based on him willing to become vulnerable. In the story we see David convincing King Saul to let him go out and fight. The King relents but tries to get David to wear his armor. It didn’t fit and it was clumsy so David refused it. When David went out in the open to face Goliath he went completely exposed. Courage is not outsmarting or avoiding your fear, but confronting it through vulnerability.
- Prepare to confront your fear. David exposed himself to Goliath, but did not without thinking ahead. The story says David went down to a brook and picked up some stones for his sling. He didn’t go into battle without a strategy to conquer it. Also, Notice David didn’t come at Goliath on his terms, with a sword and shield, but with his strengths, a slingshot and some stones. We can do the same when confronting our fears. How can your strength(s) help you conquer your fear?
- Do it with God. I love David’s speech just before he took down Goliath: “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This is the day the Lord will hand you over to me and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head. All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword of spear that the Lord saves, for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give all of into our hands.” 1 Samuel 17:45-48 (NIV) The source of your strength to face your fear will not come from within, it will come from God. After all, if God is for you who can be against you?
1 John 4:18, “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.”