by David Martinez, MA, LPC
I’m a dad of three young children, two of whom are rambunctious, rowdy boys that are constantly roaring with laughter. I love to see how they venture off and try new things, how they constantly push and pry, and how they always ask “why?” As a father, it is my role to guide them and encourage them to try new things and go on new adventures, even though at times it may seem like whatever they’re going to do looks dangerous and terrifying.
If we’re honest, as adults, we may face daunting tasks where our faith may falter, our courage may crumble, and our will to continue may wither under the pressure of life. And a lot of times it’s because we become paralyzed by fear. We may be terrified of opening up to our spouse and restoring a broken marriage, afraid of looking at our own demons, and scared that we may ultimately fail. So, we ask ourselves:
- Why don’t I have the faith to walk forward?
- What can I do to get over this relationship?
- How can I move past this grief?
It’s not that you don’t have faith, it’s just that fear has a stronger grip on your heart.
I love the story of Joshua in the bible. Here is a man who is valiant and full of faith in seeing the promise of God come to pass in his life. He’s the chosen one to lead the children of Israel over to the Promised Land and he is gearing up for this responsibility. God commissions Joshua and He tells him on three separate occasions, “be strong and of good courage” (Joshua 1:6, 7, 9). Why would God tell Joshua to be strong and courageous? Why does a parent tell their child to ‘jump because Daddy’s going to catch you?’ Could it be that the parent recognizes hesitancy in their child’s eyes, therefore Mommy has to reassure her baby she can do it?
You see, it’s my belief the reason why God told Joshua to be strong and courageous was because our Heavenly Father saw something IN Joshua that He felt like He had to TELL him- “it’s going to be ok; your Heavenly Father has got this!” It wasn’t that Joshua was faithless or overcome by fear, but that he was a human who was about to do something terrifying and he needed to hear the reassurance of a Father who was WITH him.
A lot of times in life we find ourselves in similar emotional situations like Joshua, and what we need to hear is THE voice (maybe through a pastor, therapist or friend) that we are strong and that we are courageous. Jon Acuff writes: “regardless of what you want to do or who you are, fear will always see you as wholly unqualified for anything you ever dream or attempt.” And so, you have to decide: do I allow fear to overtake me or do I walk forward in faith? You see, I have heard it said that fear is the absence of faith, but I say to you now that faith is being afraid and continuing on the journey forward!
So, can you have faith and fear? Yes! But, how?
- Seek out a therapist
- Get into counseling and begin to hear a new voice- one that has YOUR best interest at heart
- Connect with your faith and your spiritual self
- Faith can provide a mean to cope with fear and stress
- Faith can provide a safe environment to have a support network
- Faith can provide you with a feeling of connectivity to something bigger than yourself
- Watch your diet and exercise
- Physical exertion releases chemicals in your brain that help you feel more confident
- Exercise requires concentration, and this can help you take your mind off your fear
You can do it! We can help. Listen to the voice of truth- the voice that encourages you to press on with FAITH in spite of your FEAR. Be STRONG and COURAGEOUS!