How to Move from Fear Stops to Faith Steps
- Jennifer Hand Author
- 2022 21 Apr
Do you ever find yourself at a crossroads? Those moments when you want to say yes to God but are afraid of what might be required by God? Sometimes we find ourselves at a big decision crossroad point. Do I take this new job? What about this potential relationship? Do I say yes to following this God-sized dream that causes me to lay awake at night?
Sometimes it’s the everyday decisions on a mundane Monday where we also want to say yes to God but fear how that yes will play out. Our yes to God might involve getting out of our comfort zone and checking in on the neighbor that always seems to avoid eye contact when they see us outside. Fear can stop us from wanting to say yes to God.
I remember a time when God was calling me to say yes to him. My yes to God had led me to be appointed as a career missionary to serve overseas.
I loved it. I loved the people, the culture, the food—all of it. I learned the language. I even shakily learned to drive a scooter and try to avoid hitting the livestock that often wandered through the streets. I lived there thinking my yes to God would keep me there. But then, I sensed God speaking to my heart that He didn’t have just one place or people for me. Just as He called Abraham in Genesis to go to a land that He would show, I knew it was time to surrender what I thought my best yes was and follow God’s.
My fear stops: What will people think of me? I had told my prayer and financial supporters I would live and die in that country. What is next?
My faith step: To surrender and leave and trust God was working in my next.
How do we place our yes on the table before God and move from fear stops to faith steps?
1. Recognize our fear stops.
How would you answer this question? I want to say yes to God but I am afraid of __________________________?
When I asked friends on social media, the responses came pouring in. Afraid of rejection. Afraid of failure. Fearful of not hearing God right. Afraid that God will not provide. Afraid of disappointment. The list could go on and on.
I wonder how Joshua would have answered this question. Let’s think about him for a moment. He received the task to lead the people of Israel into the promised land. They had been wandering in the wilderness for years (40 years, in fact) since they left the bondage of Egypt.
Joshua had to take over from Moses. So if I were answering the, I want to say yes God, but _________ question and I were Joshua, one of my fear stops would be what if they do not like me as much as they enjoyed having Moses as a leader? What if I fail. What if we don’t make it into the promised land. It is essential to acknowledge these fear, stops, and pray about them.
I sought the Lord, and he answered me
and delivered me from all my fears. Psalm 34:4 ESV
2. Release our fears.
In Joshua 1, we find God speaking to Joshua and any fears that may be stopping him. Joshua 1:9, “ Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.
God was not condemning Joshua for fear but coming alongside him and reminding him of the way to release his fear. He could release His fear to the one who promised to be with him as He lived the faith steps of surrender.
Take a moment and say a prayer and ask God to help you release your fear stops to Him.
3. Remember what God has done in the past.
The God of our yesterdays is working in our now, and the God of our now is working in the next. Therefore, remembering what God has done in our past can help us find peace in the unknowns of our present.
In Joshua 3, the nation of Israel crosses the Jordan River. The first big obstacle was getting into the promised land. If I were them, I would cross that river, get safely to the other side, do a little happy dance, and want to get as far away from that river as possible—moving on to the next parts of the promised land.
But God told them to do something. In Joshua 4, God gave them the instructions to go back into the Jordan River and pick up 12 memorial stones in the middle to build an altar. He wanted these stones to be to the people of Israel a memorial forever (Joshua 4:7)
Looking at those stones would remind them of the goodness and power of God. What memorial stones can you pick up from your past today? How have you seen the goodness of God in your life? Take a moment to remember.
In Joshua 18, we find the Isrelite people assembled at Shiloh.
In 2018 I found myself standing in Shiloh. Reading these words. “So Joshua said to the people of Israel, “How long will you put off going in to take possession of the land, which the Lord, the God of your fathers, has given you?” (Joshua 18:3).
God had promised them the land, but it was time to possess the land. I wrote these words in the margins of this passage in my Bible. Believe. Risk. Trust. To move from fear stops into faith steps, we have to believe God is good, take a risk, take steps of faith, and trust the promise maker to be the promise keeper.
Hannah took a risk in Shiloh in 1 Samuel 1. She poured out her longing for a child in prayer. And when God answered that prayer, she risked by offering that child back to God.
Pray for your next faith step, and then ask God for the strength to take it.
Rejoicing can be one step of moving from fear stops to faith steps that we can tend to forget. As you take your faith steps, it is essential to pause, rejoice and celebrate. Throughout the book of Joshua, the people of God pause to celebrate. They gather together and remember what God has done. In Joshua 24, the people gather and recount what God has done.
Nehemiah 8:10 is a verse that people often quote. “The joy of the Lord is your strength.” But, maybe, like me, you have never noticed the context around this verse. The people had been in exile and returned back to Jerusalem. Their steps of faith involved rebuilding the walls, even among the opposition. Finally, the wall was finished, and the Israelites gathered to celebrate. The prophets were reading the law, and the people began to weep as they heard the words of the law.
Ezra stopped them and reminded them not to be grieved but to celebrate for the joy of the Lord is their strength. So they celebrated.
In Nehemiah 8:17, it tells us they had not done so much celebrating since the days of Joshua. The days when the people of God were taking faith step after faith step into the promises of God. What is one way you can rejoice and celebrate today as you move from fear stops to faith steps?
For more on this topic, check out Jennifer Hand's new book release, My Yes In on the Table.
My Yes Is on the Table: Moving From Fear to Faith takes you into the story of the Israelites as they journeyed out of the wilderness and into the Holy Land that God had granted them. Each chapter will challenge you to move from a fear stop to a faith step. What holds us back? The risk? The unknown? The unwillingness to shake up the comfortable status quo? Whatever it is, if we're not in God's best place, we're missing out on something great. The Lord is calling us into a Promised Land. But it's going to take some faith steps to get there.
Photo credit: © Unsplash/Benjamin Davies
Jennifer Hand, executive director of Coming Alive Ministries, founded the ministry in 2012 and loves the honor of traveling nationally and internationally, inviting people to come alive in Christ through conferences, retreats, written resources, and counseling. She has had the joy of serving in over thirty countries. With a Master's degree in trauma counseling, God has opened a unique door for her to respond after natural disasters around the world, providing trauma counseling and the hope of Christ on the holy ground of suffering. She would love to keep up with you in her cozy internet corner of the world at www.comingaliveministries.