Walk in Faith, Not Fear

It was a perfect day for a hike. My husband picked out the trail, a 31-minute drive from our house. The rock pathway stretched out before us, inviting us to enjoy the beauty of nature. The sheered basalt cliffs framed the area on both sides. The trees, bushes, and flowers burst forth with the colors of spring. A creek meandered from the west, its water adding to the melody of the birds. Our excursion was out-of-this-world, a small taste of heaven.

Two men came walking toward us. They had finished their walk and were heading to the parking area. They stopped just after passing us with a warning. “We saw a rattler back there. She was coiled up near a rock. Looked like she was guarding some eggs. Better keep an eye out.”

My husband and I thanked them and continued walking. Nothing had changed about that idyllic setting, except everything had changed. The fear of encountering a fierce rattlesnake overshadowed my enjoyment. My spidey-senses (or should I say snakey-senses) were on high alert and my adrenaline went soaring.

It took every ounce of my strength to keep from calling quits on our outing. Each step felt like one step closer to disaster. Every rock was a rattlesnake lair. The tree roots were hiding places. The dried leaves were molted snake skin. Broken branches lying on the path were serpents.

Jonathan was in front of me on the lookout for danger, and I lagged further and further behind. In desperation, I quoted Scripture about God’s love being greater than fear. I even shouted out part of Mark 16. And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well” (verses 17-18 NIV). 

My pulse slowed. I breathed easier. And then, a snake crossed in front of Jonathan! I cried out in dismay. It was a harmless bull snake. Nonetheless, it launched me back into the cycle of fear.

As my body settled down yet again, I realized I was so focused on impending doom that I was missing out on the Creator’s artistry. I had been oblivious to the surrounding majesty. So, in spite of the fear, I forced my gaze upward to the trees and cliffs. I studied the water dancing along the creek bed. My soul drank deeply of the beauty. The sense of fear diminished as I paid more attention to God’s spectacular creation.

I wonder how often the fear of “what might be” robs us from experiencing the blessings God has for us right now. Do we miss out on the exciting possibilities of the future because we are paralyzed by dread? Perhaps the Lord has planted a vision in your heart for yourself or your family or your ministry. Don’t allow the potential risks to overwhelm you from taking the next steps of trusting obedience. This doesn’t mean you ignore danger signs but you must not allow them to deprive you of present and future joys.

If we encounter obstacles along the way (and we most likely will), it isn’t the time to quit. We must continue to trust the Lord to direct our steps towards His will, to walk in faith instead of fear.

“The Lord is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life–of whom shall I be afraid?” (Psalm 27:1)

Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.
Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take (Proverbs 3:5-6 NLT).

Six Important Questions about Your Goals

We’re already three weeks into the new year. How are you doing on the goals you set on January 1? Are you keeping up the momentum or is your motivation starting to fizzle? Before you go any further, take time to pause and reflect on your progress. Gain clarity and impetus for achieving your goals by interacting with six important questions.

Question One: Are my goals written?
If your answer is “no,” for heaven’s sake write them down. Writing down your goals does a number of things.

  • It helps you remember them.
  • It reinforces your commitment to them.
  • It makes you accountable.
  • It gives you focus.

Question Two: How often will I revisit my goals?
Having a written plan is important, but the power lies in keeping the plan continually before you. Some people begin each day by reviewing their goals. Others review their goals once a week. Decide the frequency that works best for you.

Only a small percentage of businesses that invest in the strategic planning process actually accomplish their goals. By far, the biggest reason is that once created, the plan simply sits on the shelf. They continue doing business as usual without referring to their well-designed plan.

Next, take a look at each of your goals and re-evaluate them with these questions.

Side Note: Select no more than five goals to really focus on. The fewer your goals, the greater the likelihood of achieving them.

Question Three: Is this a goal I believe God wants me to pursue?
This really is the bottom line. Does the goal honor the Lord? Does the goal align with the teachings in God’s Word? Would this goal be approved by trusted, mature believers? If you can’t answer yes, you have a goal that is not worth pursuing. If the Lord has indeed put the goal in your heart, He will help you accomplish it.

Question Four: Is this a goal I am committed to?
Be honest with yourself. Goals are successfully accomplished through commitment. If you aren’t willing to persevere during challenges, your commitment level is low. In this case, you should change the status from a goal to a good idea. Focus on a different goal that you will commit to.

Question Five: What obstacles am I facing in achieving my goal?
You’re committed to the goal, but you’re still having difficulty. Step back and objectively look at the situation. Identify the obstacles and problems. You may need to enlist support from a mentor or a friend.

Question Six: What adjustments do I need to make?
In light of the obstacles, you may need to tweak your plan. You may need to change your timeline. You may need to change your approach or take a detour. Ask the Lord for His wisdom.

If you can’t fly, then run.

If you can’t run, they walk.

If you can’t walk, then crawl.

But whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Every choice you make is either bringing you closer to or farther away from achieving your goals. Choose wisely, and keep moving forward.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take” (Proverbs 3:5-6, NLT).