Fear has many faces, Bonita Shields, North American Division vice president for Ministries and chair of the AWL committee, told the 31 women attending the Let’s Talk About Fear virtual event on March 18.
Women from Australia and Kenya, as well as across the United States joined the meeting to encourage each other and grow together. They allowed themselves to be vulnerable and shared touching stories about how fear has impacted their lives.
Fear isn’t just cowering in corners or wringing one’s hands, Shields said. It is fear of rejection, other’s opinions, failure, success, change, death and more.
“It is estimated that there are more than 4,000 types of fear,” she said. “Fear is actually healthy — when it alerts us to danger. However, it becomes unhealthy when it creates anxiety, which is described as ‘the presence of fear in the absence of actual danger’.”
Fear should not control our lives. Shields asked: “How can we LIVE and LEAD to fulfill faith in our lives rather than fear? To allow God, our expert in fear, to replace fear with faith?”
Here are Bonita’s tips to overcome fear:
Analyze Self-talk — Discover, analyze, argue against and replace fears1, focusing on the advice given in Philippians 4:8.
Embrace God’s Promises — Believe He really means His promises are for you.
Develop Courage — Be who God called you to be without trying to please others or disconnecting with your identity in Christ.
Shields says as you analyze your fears and embrace God’s promises, you’ll learn to develop courage. That courage allows you to speak up when you feel you have something to say. It emboldens you, allowing you to take on a role even if it seems huge because you aren’t sure whether you’ll be able to do it all.
The key is: “Remember: God is big enough,” she said.
— Michele Joseph, managing editor, Adventist Women Leaders newsletter
1 Advice gathered from Telling Yourself the Truth by William Backus and Marie Chapian.