Overcoming Fear

It would be great if there were an easy way to overcome fear. It would be nice if we could just sit in our easy chairs and talk ourselves out of our fears. However, that is almost never the case. When it comes to the fear of doing something we know we should do, the hard reality is that the most reliable way to get over fear is to do what we are afraid of.

This is quite a paradox. Because when we are afraid, we do not do the things we fear. But if we would do what we fear, our fear of it would eventually be gone. Thankfully, God structured our brain so that our will rules over our emotions. We may not be able to make our emotions go away, but we can act in spite of them. Actually, ruling our emotions with our will is something we all do on a daily basis. Every time we do something we do not want to do, we prove that our will rules our emotions. Every time we get out of bed when we do not want to, or cook when we do not feel like it, or make a phone call that we do not want to make, or mow the lawn when we would rather relax, we are proving that our will can rule our emotions.

Fear is an emotion, a strong emotion, surely, but still an emotion. The simple fact is that we can do what we fear. It will not be easy, or fun, and we may have sweaty palms as we move forward, but we can do what we fear. If we keep doing what we fear, eventually we will not be afraid of it at all. In fact, sometimes we will get to the point that we enjoy doing what we used to fear. This is especially true when it comes to the things we are afraid of that God asks us to do, for He is invested in our success. God and the Lord Jesus will do all they can to help us at every turn and bless our every effort to be obedient.

Let’s resolve not to let our fear keep us from doing what God wants us to do, but to press forward into doing the will of God. As we do, the fear we felt will be seen for what it truly is—empty air.

The Bars of Fate

I stood before the bars of Fate
And bowed my head disconsolate;
So high they seemed, so fierce their frown,
I thought no hand could break them down.

Beyond them I could hear the songs
Of valiant men who marched in throngs;
And joyful women, fair and free,
Looked backed and waved their hands to me.

I did not cry, “Too late! Too late!”
Or strive to rise, or rail at Fate,
Or pray to God. My coward heart,
Contented, played its foolish part.

So still I sat, the tireless bee
Sped o’er my head, with scorn for me,
And birds who build their nests in air
Beheld me, as I were not there.

From twig to twig, before my face,
The spiders wove their curious lace,
As they a curtain fine would see
Between the hindering bars and me.

Then, sudden change! I heard the call
Of wind and wave and waterfall;
From heaven above and earth below
A clear command – “ARISE AND GO!”

I upward sprang in all my strength,
And stretched my eager hands at length
To break the bars – no bars were there;
My fingers fell through empty air!

Ellen M. H. Gates [1]


[1] Gates, Ellen M. H. To the Unborn Peoples 1906. Reprinted in Morris, J., and St. Clair Adams. It Can Be Done. George Sully & Company, New York, NY 1921, p. 158.

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