The words “Be Not Afraid” are written 365 times in the Bible. That’s one for every day of the year. The fact that God has reminded us continuously throughout Sacred Scripture to have no fear and trust in Him brings great comfort to me. There have been many instances throughout my life where I have been stifled by fear: the fear of failure, the fear of not fitting in, of not being good enough, of what tomorrow will bring, etc. In each of these circumstances, I have allowed my fear to take the lead while my faith in God lagged behind.
It was not until I heard the comforting words of Pope Saint John Paul II, reminding me to “Be Not Afraid,” that I found some consolation amidst my fear. This great Saint has said:
“Have no fear of moving into the unknown. Simply step out fearlessly knowing that I am with you, therefore no harm can befall you; all is very, very well. Do this in complete faith and confidence.”
This quote reminds me that it is not until we take the first step into the unknown that we can truly live a life to the full. It is not until we allow our fears to be overcome by our faith that we will truly recognize God working in our lives. Our lives cannot truly be lived well if we are constantly surrounded by fear. We must remember the greatness of our God and trust in His plan, even during times when it seems like He is not there.
All of this may sound good in theory, but, in reality, it is very difficult to live out this message of faith. So, how does one put this extraordinary faith into action? Here are three important tips to keep in mind:
- Remember that Christ has defeated sin and death so that we can have an abundant life in Him.
John 10:10 says that “A thief comes only to steal and slaughter and destroy; I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly” (John 10:10). Christ came into this world, vulnerable and susceptible to suffering, so that we may be freed from the bondage of sin through His death. His Resurrection from the dead should be a cause of great joy for us. Our fears should shrink from the realization of Christ’s Redemption.
2. Get out of your comfort zone.
This saying may sound cliche, but it is imperative! As Neale Donald Walsch has said: “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” It is not until we face our fears that we will truly start living our lives to the full. I myself have been able to overcome my fear and step out “into the unknown”. In the Fall, I will be embarking on what is probably the most daring thing I have ever done. I will be studying abroad in Rome, Italy for a semester. Although I know this will be nerve-wracking for me in the beginning, I know that this trip will change me for the better. It will require a lot of faith and trust in God, despite my many fears. In the end, my experience there will bring me out of my comfort zone and grow me in ways I never thought were possible. It will allow me to truly live my life to the full, while completely trusting in God’s plan for my life.
3. Do not become discouraged!
Bad times are bound to happen, but It is important to have faith during those time, though it may be difficult. Deuteronomy 31:8 says that “It is the LORD who goes before you; he will be with you and will never fail you or forsake you. So do not fear or be dismayed.” I myself find it quite challenging to completely surrender myself to God and trust in His plan for my life. I must admit that, in my weakest of moments, I am often tempted to doubt God’s goodness. I neglect to consider the great love He has for His children. During these times of doubt, it is important to remember God’s presence in our lives. Although there is bound to be hard times throughout life, we must recognize that God is with us more than ever during those tumultuous times, even if His Presence is not felt.
An inspiring song that has motivated me to have faith despite fear is “Walk on the Water” by Christian artist, Britt Nicole. This song ends with a powerful message:
“So what are you waiting for? / What do you have to lose? / Your insecurities, they try to alter you. / You know you’re made for more. / So don’t be afraid to move. / Your faith is all it takes in you. / You can walk on the water too.”
When confronted with unforeseen circumstances, we have two choices to make. We can either allow ourselves to be paralyzed by fear, or we can surrender ourselves to God. In the end, the choice to have faith in the face of fear will deepen our trust in God. Let us not run away from fear, but face it head on, knowing that God is in control. He will not allow our fears to get the better of us, but He will use them for our own benefit, drawing us closer and closer to Himself.