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“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” (Josh. 1:9, NIV84)

One of my lessons from police training was, “If you’re scared, say you’re scared.” Better to admit it and have it out in the open than try to ignore it. I admit, sometimes I am scared. Not so much of bad guys or dying or things that threaten a person physically. No, the things that scare me are things like inadequacy, failure, embarrassment, not fitting in, or making mistakes. These are all universal fears that everyone experiences one way or another, typically when we find ourselves outside our comfort zone, because that is where growth happens.

When faced with these fears, I usually think about all the times in the Bible that God said, “Fear not!” Then I pray: “Well, Lord God, you say ‘fear not,’ but I’m afraid. If you don’t want me to be, then you better do something about it.” Insolent? Maybe. I’ve been called worse. But I think this is exactly the prayer God desires from us when we’re afraid. It shows that we trust Him to keep His Word, that we believe He can calm our fears, and that we are willing to face difficult situations with Him.

In my most recent experience of fear I had to do something I didn’t want to do. I felt unprepared and inadequate for the task of bringing God to people in need. I always want to do well but was afraid I would fail. I did my best and trusted God to do the rest and was not disappointed. He showed up and calmed my fears as only a Prince of Peace can. Things went well, and those fears I had turned out to be unfounded.

So, if you are scared, say you’re scared – admitting it is the first step. Identify why you are scared, and how God might be working in your life to grow you. Then trust Him and His Word—“Do not be terrified ... your God will be with you wherever you go.”

This story first appeared in The True Dakotan on September 29, 2021.

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