lower into the seat of my grey metal desk, yearning for the
faded yellow floor to swallow me into oblivion. A crimson
heat spread from my forehead to my neck; my legs trembled
uncontrollably. I struggled to bring my lurching stomach under
control - vomiting all over my classmates was about the only
thing that could worsen this nightmare.
attack was provoked by my fifth grade teacher's request that
I come to the front of the class and recite a few lines from
Emily Dickinson's "A Slash of Blue." I knew the
verses - that wasn't the problem. Just the night before I
had recited the poem to my three-year old sister, Dianne.
But an adoring baby sister is one thing - a classroom full
of peers was entirely another matter.
dragged myself to the front of the class and managed to avoid
crying while I laboriously choked out each word.
of public speaking worsened over the years, driving me to
Herculean efforts to avoid situations that posed even a remote
risk of having to say a few words to a group. At university,
I refused to sign up for courses that required oral presentations.
imagine my surprise and dismay, years later, when God spoke
to my heart during prayer that He was preparing me to speak
to women's groups.
time I accepted an invitation to speak at a women's conference
will be forever branded in my memory. From that moment until
the conference six weeks later, anxiety kept me awake most
nights. I lost weight. I fantasized that the worst blizzard
in Canadian history would strike, causing the event to be cancelled.
the dreaded night arrived. When I picked up the microphone
and started speaking, I trembled from head to toe. For the
first few minutes, I felt like I would faint from terror.
Then suddenly, God's peace settled on me, and remained with
me for the rest of my speech.
repeated itself, with gradually lessening severity, the next
several times I was asked to speak. As I continued to trust
in God's grace and power, the day came when I was truly free
I had never faced that fear? It would continue to rule my
life today, governing my decisions and stifling my potential.
years I have spoken with many women who have ideas and dreams.
Some dream of starting their own businesses. Others dream
of writing songs, or establishing a ministry to reach out
to inner city youth, or counselling abused women, or running
for political office. As they share these dreams, their faces
radiate with passion and joy. Sadly, these passions rarely
translate into achievement. Fear quenches the passion and
immobilizes them from stepping out to reach for their dreams.
are buried beneath your fears? If you don't confront those
fears, they will rob your dreams, repress your potential and
hinder you from discerning your destiny.
fear means changing our focus. Instead of depending on our
own strengths or weaknesses, we trust and rely on the strength
and power of God working in and through us. The Bible assures us:
strength for all things in Christ who empowers me - I am ready
for anything and equal to anything through Him Who infuses
inner strength into me (Phil. 4:13 AMP).
"God-dependence" produces faith and boldness. This principle is illustrated in the biblical account of Joshua
and the Israelites crossing the Jordan River to enter the
land that God had promised them.
the Israelites and the land of promise was a formidable barrier
- the Jordan River. It was flood season at the time God instructed
them to cross the Jordan, and the river was overflowing its banks. No bridges,
airplanes or boats were available to transport them to the
other side of the flooding waters. If they tried swimming, they would surely drown.
instructions for crossing the river defied common sense. He said that the priests were to go first and step into the flooding waters, then God would cause the water flowing downstream to stop
and pile up into a heap (Josh. 3:13). In other words, the miracle would happen after they stepped into the raging floodwaters.
are waiting for a miracle before taking a step of faith. Human
nature says, "Lord, we'll wait on the banks of the Jordan
until you part the waters. Once you part the waters, then
we'll step into the river."
doesn't work that way. Someone once said, "God is the
fastest chess player in the world - it's always your move."
You move - then He provides His supernatural power to enable you to do the impossible.
Remember, courage is not the absence of fear. Courage is boldly stepping out in faith and obeying God despite your feelings of fear, being undaunted by obstacles.
has God placed in your heart? Are you willing to believe His
promises? If you are waiting for feelings of fear and inferiority
to go away before you step out to embrace those dreams, you'll
never fulfill your life purpose.
today that fear will no longer dictate your choices and actions. Place your
total dependence on God, and trust in His grace and power
as you take the next step on the path to your destiny.
Rushfeldt is an author, speaker, and online
magazine publisher who has been writing for 25
years. Her passion is to inspire and equip women
to reach their dreams. Her latest book, Making
Your Dreams Your Destiny - a woman's guide to
awakening your passions and fulfilling your purpose,
is now available in quality bookstores. You may
also order online with your credit card or by
mail, fax or toll-free telephone by clicking here: