A shift in perspective

A shift in perspective

An excerpt from “Glasses Off”

Fear and discouragement inevitably knock on the door to my dreams. When I answer now, I politely welcome them in, acknowledge their presence, and then escort them out before they invade my refrigerator and linger on my couch. I tell them I’m too busy this time, that I have God’s business to attend to, and that they don’t have any business tending to me. I can make up a lot of reasons why I can’t, or shouldn’t, or don’t deserve it; that dreaming is reserved for other people, people who aren’t like me. But here’s something I often remind myself of: I technically don’t have to believe in myself. Instead, I can lean entirely on God’s abilities, which are perfect and never-ending.

To prevent crippling fear from creeping in sometimes, I do an exercise called “Fear Setting.” It’s been so effective in my life throughout the years that my husband started recommending it to his clients in therapy. Here’s the exercise in case you want to try too:

1. Write down one goal that you are afraid of (in question form).

2. Now, make a list of every fear you can think of as it relates to this goal. These can be realistic, highly irrational, or dramatic. Write down any and every little thing you can think of that could go wrong. This is not a time to be judgmental toward yourself or your fears. The more you write down, the better.

3. Then make a list of ways that you can prevent these fears from occurring. This is a great place to work on your brainstorming abilities and problem-solving skills.

4. Finally, if some of your fears do come true, list ways you can repair your life and recover from them.

Even with this soothing exercise in reach, there are some days when fear can be so paralyzing that moving forward feels more like navigating the forceful hands of quicksand. On days like those, I refer to the basics: What does God say about fear? I’ll thumb through the concordance and choose one word that I need to focus on that day. Sometimes it’s “fear” itself or “anxiety” or “worry.” Then I’ll look up each recommended Scripture, reading them aloud to myself, pacing around the room, desperate for peace. Eventually, I’ll be so consumed with the Holy Spirit that putting in the work becomes an expression of my excitement rather than something to dread.

This is what I read today: “I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power” (1 Cor. 2:3–5).

Graduating from a fear-based mindset to a faith-based one has been the most liberating and useful thing I’ve done these days. Maybe “graduating” isn’t the best word to use because it’s more like studying. It’s an ongoing process, not some place I’ve arrived. But it’s influencing everything—how I listen to God in my prayer life, who I call for help, and how authentically I try to parent and live and work. I don’t know anyone who lives without fear, not truly. But the skill I’m trying to master lately—I’m calling it a skill because it takes practice—is to welcome that fear, sit with it, pray through it, and then do the thing anyway. This skill has the power to change the course of my life if I let it. It’s entirely challenging, but I’m building childlike faith in the process. Even though caving into the fear, and the ice cream, is a much more natural solution, I’m gaining spiritual muscle by spending time reading my study Bible and praying every day when I’d rather put it off. I’m letting God know that I’m eager to be used and that my character is forming. He can trust me with a specific assignment, big or small or in between.

Fear might stop by to say, “Hello,” from time to time, but it no longer stays the night. Faith is the sink-or-swim moment in all our stories, and maintaining trust in God and his voice is essential, like clean water. Fear is its counterpart, entirely dirty, dark, and toxic to the insides.

I know it seems daunting to step out in full faith, like being the first one in a relationship to confess those “three little words.” The fear of not being loved in return is terrible and haunting and sickening all at once. Yet somehow, you clear your throat, look the other person in the eye, and muster the courage to say, “I love you.” Why? Because there’s a slight chance that person might say, “I love you too,” making that leap of faith worth any future rejection. So as fearful as I might be today, I have a choice: I can believe God, or I can ignore his calls, continually sending them to voicemail. I hope I choose faith. That hour after hour, I look to God as intensely as my husband and I looked for his wedding ring in the middle of the electric-blue Caribbean waters. We never found the wedding ring, but we always find God when we keep searching for him.

“Come near to God and he will come near to you” (James 4:8).

I hope with this newfound perspective—this shift from fear to faith—that my mindset grows stronger with experience and repetition. That the more I do it, the more confident I become in the process. Because when God trusts me with something, he never reveals all of the steps to take. Not for me not asking him 24/7 though. I’ve pleaded with him many times for clarification, requesting details and fretting over the what-ifs. But still, he does not unveil anything else until he wants to, and it’s usually never when I’d like him to. I know, I know. Faith wouldn’t be required if I knew all the answers ahead of time. It’s okay. I’m starting to appreciate that, or at the very least, I’ve become more used to it. Now when God speaks, I jump with what appears to be a hard landing and no net. Then, like clockwork, like Superman, he catches me at the very last second, easing my anxious mind and glorifying himself in the process.

Taken from “Glasses Off: God When Your Vision Is Gone” (WestBow Press, 2023) by Ciara Laine Myers.


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