We’ve got to be free to see, but we can’t see if we’re bound up in fear. Have you ever been introduced to someone and not caught his or her name because you were so concerned about what you were going to say in response? That’s intimidation. Once you are free of it, you can look at someone and think about that person rather than worrying about yourself. In that way, you can be God’s hands and God’s voice to people and build bridges of love, not fear.
Getting rid of fear and intimidation means getting out of yourself and into Christ, moving from concern over how you look or what you are going to say to asking, “Lord, what do you have for this person?” It is when you get out of yourself that you become truly free. Learning to be free is a lifelong process, but in Christ you have everything you need and it is never too late to begin.
Years ago, I was scheduled to speak at a women’s conference in Kansas City on the theme “Overcoming Intimidation.” At that time, I had not spoken at many conferences and still felt insecure. I knew that I had to conquer the enemy of intimidation that was coming against me if I were to succeed at this conference. I felt like I needed a lot of prayer time in order to prepare, but the only “quiet” times I had came in fifteen-minute segments while I drove back and forth between home and the school. On the Friday that the conference began, just a few hours before the first meeting, my final, desperate prayer was, “God, let me do this with no fear!”
As soon as I uttered the words I saw a picture in my mind of me wearing a T-shirt with the words No Fear across the front. I said to God, “All right, as I speak on Saturday morning I will envision No Fear written across my heart, guarding me. In faith, I will believe that you will accomplish this!”
When I told Jim about it later that evening, he insisted that I had to get a “No Fear” T-shirt and wear it. I had no time for shopping though, so he went while I was at the Friday night meeting. I returned home to find laid out on the kitchen counter two T-shirts and two hats with “No Fear” on the front. One set was for me, the other for Jim. Inside the rim of my hat, this sentence was written: “Don’t let your fears stand in the way of your dreams.”
After years of trying to deal with my fears and after many, many dreams through which God had given me hope, the time had come for me to apply what I had been learning. God was saying, “Gird your mind with the dreams I have placed in you and go, girl!” I want to issue this challenge to you: Dare to dream! Open your heart in a fresh way and ask God to put a dream there. Ask Him to dust off the promise book with your name on it and make those promises real and fresh to you!
Don’t let your fears stand in the way of your dreams! Take out the spike of intimidation and, like the Israelite woman Jael did to the Philistine Sisera in Judges 4, drive it into the enemy’s head and kill the plans and schemes he has devised against you. We must be ruthless with the devil; he surely has no mercy on us!
Reflect & Pray
1. What are two dreams you have? What fears may be keeping you from these dreams or from dreaming with God about your future?
2. If you write No Fear across your heart today, how will your tomorrows be different?
3. Write Jeremiah 29:11 in your own words, concentrating on the fact that God knows the plans He has for you.
4. What is the difference between fear and worry? What does God say about them? (See Matthew 6:25–34.)
“Yes, though I walk through the [deep, sunless] valley of the shadow of death, I will fear or dread no evil, for You are with me; Your rod [to protect] and Your staff [to guide], they comfort me” (Psalm 23:4). Dear Lord, thank you for your daily protection and guidance. I will praise your name forever. In Jesus’ name, amen.