We talked previously about the power of putting on boldness even when you’re scared.
But what do you do when you’re faced with an overwhelming challenge and your boldness simply evaporates?
Every time I’ve launched into a new career adventure I’ve been really scared. At some point I’ve always faced debilitating worry.
When I launched into pastoring the church, I faced the challenge of trying to resurrect a moribund, ingrown, terminal church. I look back now and wonder, “What the heck was I thinking?”
We had two small children, heading into a nearly impossible venture, getting paid very little and having just escaped a near bankruptcy with a previous business I owned.
I vividly remember sitting in our living room on the hearth next to the wood stove to stay warm early one winter morning. It was dark and I faced my first official day as their new pastor.
I felt as alone and scared as I ever have.
I remember thinking, “How will we survive? How can we possibly build this?”
I’d launched in boldness, yet now felt scared to death.
And this is typical of every time I’ve launched into something new. At some point fear sneaks in unexpected and grabs me by the throat choking the enthusiasm and life out of me.
That’s when I have to regain control of my thoughts and purposefully change my focus from worry to faith.
When I do, I find faith takes control again.
Encouragement dawns and enthusiasm starts to grow.
My mind lightens. The first rays of hope glimmer again.
Then my mind begins to clear. Instead of focusing on problems I begin to focus on solutions.
Instead of feeling paralyzed with fear I again feel energized by anticipation.
Then confidence grows and this builds confidence in those around you.
And you begin to see the miracles you’ve dreamed of that God had planned all along.
It’s Jesus’ promise, “All things are possible to the person who believes.”
And when you believe that you see it.
But how do you build this faith when you simply don’t have it?
How do you put on faith you don’t feel?
I’ve found a few keys that help me and hopefully will help you.
First, I examine my motives.
Are they good? Do they help other people? Do they honor God? Are they in line with God’s desires shown in scripture?
I find if my plans align with what I know pleases God then it gives me confidence he will bless my efforts.
Second, I find scripture promises to hang onto.
I look up scripture quotes that promise directly what I need to believe. I often write them down. Sometimes memorize them.
Then when I’m faced with worry, instead of focusing on my fear, I reboot my brain and focus on the promises.
This lets me counteract the worry filled thoughts with faith encouraging ones.
Finally, I find, at some point, I simply must choose to believe.
We really do have a tremendous amount of control over what we think. So we need to choose to believe in the promises we’re holding onto.
Now, I’m the first to admit this isn’t natural for me. I come from a long line of worriers. We developed worry into an art form.
Yet, I’ve also decided I don’t want to live that way.
So, I’ve learned to recognize when my mind is running amok and bring it back under control. I simply choose to believe even when it would be easier to doubt.
And when I do, somewhere along the way, faith kicks in again. The courage returns. The positive mind focus takes over. Faith replaces doubt.
Paul writes, “Faith comes from truly hearing and hearing from God’s word.”
Then that faith leads to boldness. And that boldness to seeing our dreams become reality.
*Mark 9:23; Romans 10:17
Photo Credit: Adrian Schiess; Creative Commons