Overcome Fear: Step into what you were made to do.
This is to my dreamers and over-thinkers. The ones with un-figured out dreams or plans. This is to the person who feels scared to move, or to make a mistake. To anyone who doesn’t know what tomorrow holds. If you feel stuck or stagnant in your path, this is for you.
Have you ever felt like you have this big vision or audacious dream that you’re excited about, but someone has discouraged you, told you it’s not realistic, or convinced you it can’t be done? Maybe they’ve responded to your enthusiasm with indifference or doubtful questioning.
On the other side, perhaps you don’t have a big dream yet—but you have an idea—one that seems outlandish; or even ambiguous, uncertain, or risky. But this idea or goal sparks a little fire in your heart that keeps pulling you in to find out more.
If this sounds like you—have you decided to go after this idea, dream, or goal? If not, what’s stopping you from going forward?
If there’s nothing stopping you and you’re in a good place, I’m happy for you. If you’re facing reservations or restrictions about moving forward, I need you to know that you’re still on the right path.
Maybe you’re scared, or you’re facing too much resistance to your idea or goal, that you think it’s best to wait, to quit, or to change direction.
Sometimes we hear “no” in different wavelengths. Sometimes it sounds like opposition from others, and sometimes it sounds like doubt or fear from within. I believe that when we hear a big fat NO that overpowers our tiny, subtle “yes,” we take it as a sign that it’s not meant to be. In order to protect ourselves, our instincts tend to turn our attention to the obvious, or to believe in the practical answers, or the tried-and-true. Which leads me to this:
What does your “no” look like? Has someone you valued an opinion from told you no, or that it won’t work? Has society told you it can’t be done? Do you experience discouraging pressure from parents or friends when they expect results quickly? Or, what about the wall your imagination builds, leading you to believe that everyone and their mom are going to judge you for trying your hand at something new, and possibly not succeeding on your first try.
Maybe you just don’t believe in this idea, dream, or goal enough to know if it will work. Maybe you doubt yourself and what you believe to be true. Maybe you don’t feel qualified, or you’re questioning if this vague path is meant for you.
Regardless of what’s causing you to feel reserved or doubtful moving forward, it all boils down to one thing, and let’s call it what it is: Fear. It may feel like a season of confusion, limitations, challenges, or doubt. But better yet, I like to call it the season of preparation. And in this season, you have two options: give up, or go all in. (Hint: choose the latter!) That’s what I figured out...eventually.
For myself, in order to figure out how to move forward despite the fear, I had to learn how fear presents itself. In this post, I’ll briefly share my experience with being stuck in fear, and how facing what I’m scared of actually paved the way to finding what I love, and loving the person I’ve become in the process:
After leaving my first “adult” job following college graduation, I felt anxious, uncertain, stuck, and indecisive. In that specific time of confusion, I was in constant battle between my hopes and fears. On one hand, I had an overwhelming desire to actualize a dream/calling I strongly felt God placed in my heart with coaching and ministry. But on the other hand, I wasn’t 100% positive that this dream was meant for me at this time, nor was I certain that I was going to make the “right” decision against my alternatives. I didn’t want to make a mistake. In order to resolve my inner conflict, I grew desperate for opinions from loved ones, hoping they’d confirm my crazy ideas and give me the green light to move forward. Instead, they were also confused; in turn, I felt even more doubtful and misunderstood. Not only did I lose the ability to hear my own voice, but I was searching for approval outside of myself to give me permission to move. I felt stuck. It appeared as if everything around me told me “no,” while every bit of hope in me quietly told me yes.
This was the turning point for me. Countless nights had been spent battling anxiety, along with the lies and doubts replaying in my head. Convincing me that I’m stuck. I’m running out of time. I’m not going to make it. It’s best to stay where I am. Still, I continued to pray for answers. While I can’t say there was ever a direct answer, there was a truly invaluable lesson that I learned while working through the fear. God enlightened me to a few things to reflect on, that I want to share with you:
(1) Why listen to the lies the enemy feeds you, instead of seeking the truth—your truth? Doubt & fear from the enemy look a lot like: constant self-questioning, confusion, anxiety, feeling paralyzed or stuck, indecision and insecurity. Anything that removes hope and makes you feel like you can’t move forward. Yet, God wants us to believe in who He’s called us to be. This is usually the part of us we learn and grow to discover while fighting off fear and living in faith.
(2) Who’s approval are you in search of? Man, or Your Creator?
(3) All along, your season was about discovering and planting seeds. Pruning and refining. Cutting away old and out-dated beliefs that would break you in the next season: the season of harvest.
(4) Fear is the only thing that can stop you, if you let it. Outside circumstances (that you can’t change) may make the journey more difficult, but a blockage to your path isn’t an ending, but the sign of a new beginning. A breakthrough.
(5) Your own thinking is the only obstacle that keeps you from moving forward. It’s okay to be afraid or fearful, but move anyway. How big or small the steps you take do not matter. We were never called to be stuck, anxious or indecisive.
*(6) Don’t be so afraid to make a mistake that you end up stagnant (huge lesson for me!). You won’t always have the answer, nor will you have approval for every decision. Move anyway. Learn to boldly step out in faith, and trust that even if you don’t know where you’re headed, it’s better than wrestling with the thought of wondering where you should be.
(7) God will show you the way. Faith is taking step one before we know what step two is. And sometimes He gives us these ideas and dreams because He knows that we have what it takes to actualize them. But with every God-given dream, comes a test of faith and a test of strength to our goals. Do we decide to lean on Him, or lean on our own understanding?
My biggest takeaway? Practice doing things before you’re ready. Do things according to your truth, and not according to the “yes” or “no” that you receive from others or your changing circumstances. Your self-belief and faith grows with each day that you step out and do the very thing that you were once afraid of doing.
The next few reminders I’ve written are intended to help you begin taking your life back, and to hopefully give you a glimpse into what you’re capable of achieving, and who you’re capable of becoming.
4 Reminders for Overcoming Fear:
Separate the TRUTH from the LIES.
I used to let fear guide my path and my decisions. It was almost as if I would consult my fear to let me know if I have the approval to move. Of course, the answer comes in the form of roaring doubt, and it sounds something like, “of course not, you’re not equipped to handle that.” Or, “Everyone is going to judge you if you do. You’re going to embarrass yourself, you don’t know what you’re doing.” You see, lies keep us in bondage. And once I recognized the lies I’d tell myself, I decided to break the chains. And I want to provide you with an exercise that helped me do this:
With pen and paper, I wrote down all of the lies that tell me “I’m not good enough,” or “I’m falling short or behind.” Or that “I’m stuck. I’m not going anywhere in life. I can’t move forward until something else happens.”
Then, I wrote down alllll of my truths that contradict the lies: “I’m NOT stuck, I’m moving forward spiritually and emotionally, at my own pace. I’m in a GREAT position because God placed me here in this moment, on this path, to serve an ultimate purpose. I am going places I can’t even imagine yet, but God has more work to do, and I will keep trying until His work is done. I have grace in this season.”
If you’re anything like me, separating the truth from the lies will help you understand and believe in your truth, and to show up for yourself even on your worst days. The enemy wants to keep you where you are, but it’s time to take your life back! Start believing in who you are and who you were created to be. Not the masked or molded version of you, formed by ideals, opinions or desires. But the whole, authentic version of you, formed by un-becoming everything you were told to be.
Believing in and repeating your truth is crucial if you’re looking to stop the doubt from stopping you. Step into what you feel you were made to do.
It’s not everyone’s job to understand you.
It’s not everyone’s job to understand you, and it’s not your job to inquire whether your ideas, or you, are approved or accepted.
Maybe Aunt Becky gives you a raised eyebrow at family reunions when she asks what you’re doing with your life, and you’ve responded with “writing” or “blogging” when she’s made it clear that you’re better off going to med school. Maybe your good friend is concerned that you’ve gone off the deep end, because you’ve decided to quit your 9-5 to pursue traveling around the world with an online gig you’re passionate about. Maybe you’re scared to step out and fully own the fact you have an online business, due to fear of judgment or criticism from those watching. All of this, my friend, is the presence of fear from rejection or disapproval. We all experience this, and it used to be my weak point. And if this is you, I want to wake you up, shake you, and proudly say OWN YOUR JUNK! Own your messy, un-figured out life. No one has it all perfectly figured out.
It helped me to understand that if I don’t show up and live my life for me, I’m living for others. The biggest truth to that statement? Live for their opinions, and you’ll die from their rejection.
You need to ignore what everyone else is doing and achieving. Your life is about breaking your own limits and outgrowing yourself to live YOUR best life.
Believe in yourself + your path FIRST.
Quickly bringing us back to my post-college years. My family didn’t understand why I wanted to do something so unconventional with a business degree. And I didn’t necessarily understand it either. But because I didn’t fully understand or believe in it happening for myself, how could I expect other people to? Through this, I’ve learned that others’ doubts to our own ideas or pursuits are often a reflection of our own fear that we feel about ourselves and our capabilities moving forward.
Look within yourself. If you know your heart is continually guiding you down a certain path, you’re allowed to question it, but don’t spend time in confusion or indecision. MAKE A DECISION. Understand your truth (just like example #1) and either give it up, or GO ALL IN. But don’t sabotage yourself by the constant back-and-forth.
Believe in it until it manifests for you. Don’t overthink how it’ll happen. Just believe it. Let it flow in.
MAKE A DECISION. DO IT AFRAID.
If you’re afraid to do something that involves stepping out of your comfort zone, think of it more as stepping into your power. Change your perspective.
Stepping OUT of your comfort zone = Stepping INTO your power.
Fear is NOT an indication that you’re not going to make it, or that your dreams aren’t meant to be yours. Fear indicates that you’re about to do something so good that the enemy can’t stand it. You’re about to meet a whole new part of yourself that you’ve never seen.
If you’re moving towards something new that scares you, know that it’s okay to be afraid. Just don’t let fear stop you. Instead, do it afraid. Go after it afraid. Move forward afraid.
Show up and boldly play the part of who you’re meant to be.
Fear is a liar, a thief of joy, and the creator of doubt and anxiety. Fear and doubt are the biggest limitations to stepping out of our comfort zone and into what we feel called to do. It creates the constant inner-battle against our hopes and our fears. And because we fight ourselves so much, we end up exhausted from overwhelm, overthinking, while remaining stuck and immobile.
But sis, here’s the thing…
No matter what we are in pursuit of, fear will always present itself when we’re on the right track. It presents itself when something good is coming, and a test of fear will reveal our true desire of the very thing we’re going after. So how do we overcome fear? By believing in our truth, believing in what we were made to do, and having faith that God placed us in this path, at this very moment, for a purpose. We overcome it by boldly taking action, despite the fear.
Truth comes when we quit doubting ourselves and stop looking outside of ourselves for answers. It comes when we quiet our mind and ask for guidance. Listen to what comes. All of the answers are within you. They’ve always been within you. Never doubt that.
Before you go, here are a few more lessons I’ve learned:
Confusion is fear in disguise. Decisions become easier when we’re willing to be brave with our life.
Courage doesn’t mean you don’t get afraid. Courage means you don’t let fear stop you.
You can only grow when you’re willing to feel awkward and uncomfortable when you try something new.
Don’t talk yourself out of wanting something just because you haven’t figured out how to get it yet.
Be all in or get out! There is no halfway. Don’t wrestle with the in-between.
** Be gentle with yourself, you’re doing the best you can.
Say this with me—
“I will not stop working, creating, or dreaming when the journey gets hard. I lean into the hard moments with faith that I can accomplish anything that I set my mind to.”
The world needs who you were created to be. You are MADE FOR THIS! Keep going.