When you feel afraid, what kind of emotions do you experience? I know that we are taught that “faith is the opposite of fear” and that “if we have faith, we will not fear.” But in reality, I know of no one who has gotten through mortality without dealing with fears.
Have you feared pain? Loneliness? Storms (literal or figurative)? Spiders? Darkness? Doctors? Losing someone we love? Severe illness? Being asked to serve in a way that makes us nervous?
Whenever we’re afraid, and whatever their effects, we are kept from moving forward. It has affected me that way. It can stop me in my tracks, while it squashes the joy and peace I could be feeling. Feelings of inadequacy sneak in, along with worry and fretting. It weakens me. The Lord would have us, however,
Be “strong and of a good courage.” (Joshua 1:9)
“God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” (2 Timothy 1:7.)
There are a few sound principles some simple thoughts that help me plug into a place of more power and strength. They offer more courage while they help the fears dissipate. I haven’t mastered any of these things yet at least not 100 % of the time – but I have found help with these pointers!
1. Remember that you are a son or daughter of God.
There is amazing strength simply in remembering that we have that spark of divinity in us. Such a simple thing to do. But not so much when we’re in the middle of our fears.
2. Remember the Savior.
Thinking of Him and focusing on Him helps me gain a better, less fearful perspective. I feel more safe, remembering that He is always in my corner, rooting for me. I think on the scriptural reminder, “Look unto me in every thought; doubt not, fear not.” In every single thought! It is a good thing to work on getting to the point of looking to Him in every thought. Imagine how much easier our trials would become, and how our fears would be conquered!
3. Think on new things.
Sometimes we can get caught up in our negative thoughts. The Secret Garden is a great book for examining how our fears and dark thoughts may keep us from a joyful life. Once the character Colin began to enjoy the restoration of the garden, he began to push away those thoughts of his weakness and lack. The negative began to give way to a sunnier disposition. He began, in real ways, to be healed.
So it is with us. Negativity never helps in a situation. Gloom and doom, being caught up in pity parties or Eeyore dispositions will never give us the light of the Holy Spirit. It certainly won’t grant us peace, nor will it help clear those mists in our minds so that we can think clearly and with hope. Let’s remember to think on new things. Happier things! More hopeful, optimistic things!
4. Trust in the Lord’s Design.
No matter how far or wide we may see, it pales in comparison to our Father’s view and His omniscience. He has great plans for us! While we may only see fearfully- some new calling or being pushed out of our comfort zone, He is most likely giving us the chance to learn more about Him and about ourselves. We might fear doing a particular job or calling, getting through a harsh trial, or navigating a stormy time in life. We see only a portion of the picture, while He sees the whole of it. He has more magnificent things in store. It just may be a while before we understand His design.
I can’t tell you how many harsh, scary, difficult times I’ve been through only to learn a beautiful lesson, dump a spiritual wart in my character, or come to recognize the blessing of the Refiner’s fire. Sometimes that blessing is simply knowing that I can get through hard things and gain spiritual and mental confidence. We’re involved in a mortal process here. Moving forward, trusting him, is all good!
No matter how slowly I learn, I eventually get’ a concept I need to learn. There’s always room for improvement, so I keep working to improve my can-do attitude. I know that the Savior always wants to gather me and you all of us “as a hen gathereth her chickens (Matthew 23:37), and I’m grateful to know it. But sometimes, I cling to my fear or doubt instead of to Him.
I want to always, always run to Him, to be gathered in and watched over tenderly and fully. In my heart, I always can. In my mind, I still sometimes am shoved around by fears of one sort or another. But you know what? I will eventually, as will you, “be not afraid.” Discernment allows me to continually be tutored, and I know that the Lord’s chastisement is because He loves me. My doubts and fears? They need to go on their way while I keep on doing my best to follow Him. As I go along, those fears are diminishing and the recognition of His loving goodness and heavenly design become more beautifully clear. It’s how it works, right?
Vickey Pahnke Taylor is a wife, mom, and grandmother who joined the LDS Church as a teenager. She is a songwriter, author, and public speaker. Her website <a href=”http://www.
<hr class=’system-pagebreak’ /><hr class=’system-pagebreak’ />goodnessmatters.com/” target=”_blank”>www.goodnessmatters.com, is an online spot to share goodness, faith, and hope in simple, personal ways. Her undergraduate study was in Musical Theater, and has a Masters degree in communications.
She has taught for the Church’s youth & family programs for more than 25 years, has written books, hundreds of columns, & created hundreds of songs all with the intent of growing goodness and pointing people to Christ. She also writes for the website www.nauvootimes.com.
Vickey loves her expanding family, going on drives with her hubby, laughter, growing herbs & veggies, and tootsie rolls. She teaches Gospel Doctrine in her ward. Her husband, Dean, serves in the bishopric. They are the parents of eight children and have eight grandchildren.