When Fear Gives You Paralysis: Part 2

Remember yesterday, when I confessed that fear has been keeping me from jumping into the ministry God has called me to do? I called my fear-induced paralysis what it really is: disobedience.

When God says “go” and we say “no,” even if we are motivated by fear instead of rebellion, we are being disobedient. I don’t want to freeze up and disobey God. I know you don’t either. We want to dive into the assignments He has for us, trusting Him to catch us, right?

What if You Stay Silent?

As I’ve wrestled with myself, fear, and the enemy on that figurative diving board I mentioned yesterday, God has made the book of Esther come alive to me. Esther is a young Jewish woman living in Persia when her life is turned upside down—she is chosen as the new queen (Esther 2). If that isn’t head-spinning enough, she learns of a plot to destroy her people, God’s people (Esther 3–4).

Bless Esther’s example to us. She doesn’t waste time. After communicating with her uncle Mordecai, she crafts a plan immediately (Esther 4:15–17). She fasts and prays and recruits others to do the same. And in faith, she acts. She makes a bold move; she requests to see King Ahasuerus.

“Then I will go to the king, though it is against the law, and if I perish, I perish” (Est. 4:16).

Couldn’t she have devised 100 excuses? Couldn’t she have written herself off as inadequate and ill-equipped to handle this life-or-death matter? Couldn’t she have stalled until she saw “a sign” that this was for sure God’s plan? Absolutely.

But Esther trusted that her God was writing this story, and though she had no idea what the outcome would be, she acted.

Then Mordecai told them to reply to Esther, “Do not think to yourself that in the king’s palace you will escape any more than all the other Jews. For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (Est. 4:13–14, emphasis added).

The story is God’s; it’s not about us. We see in this passage that God didn’t have to use Esther to save the Jewish people. He could surely save them in another way, via another person or circumstance. (He is God, and His people will not be destroyed!) But Mordecai’s words to Esther are so wise: God orchestrates events for a purpose. And Esther had a chance to move in faith. What if she kept silent?

What if you keep silent? What if I keep silent?

God’s eternal plans do not hinge on you or me. But in His indescribable grace, He calls us to go, serve, and love in Jesus’ name for His awesome glory.

And we want to keep silent? Lord, please let it not be so!

What’s in Your Toolbox?

So we’re standing on the diving board, and we’re praying for faith to follow Esther’s example. Now it’s time to open your toolbox . . . and dive. I know we don’t normally dive off a diving board with a toolbox in hand, so let me explain.

I got smacked with conviction when I read a recent blog post by LYWB.com fellow blogger Erin Davis that perfectly emphasizes what we’re wrestling with. Here’s the paragraph that caught my eye and heart:

God has given you an assignment to make disciples and teach the Word to other women. Your unique gifts are like the tools in your toolbox needed to finish the job. Our gifts are for each other. To keep them locked away in the toolbox until we feel ready or adequate is truly a waste.

To wait until we feel equipped, qualified, or fully ready is exactly what Erin said . . . a waste.

In what ways has God gifted you? In which areas are you talented? Have you been keeping your tools inside the box? Like me, have you collected ideas and plans, but instead of using them, you’ve allowed them to languish on a shelf?

If we stay silent and inactive, we’ll find ourselves in a world of fear-filled disobedience. (Does Jonah’s story ring any bells?) God will continue to reach souls with His saving gospel, but He’s called us to participate (Matt. 28:19–20).

Take the Dive

With this in mind and God’s truth in our hearts, let’s go. Let’s dive. We can’t afford to waste time with the enemy’s fear that whispers of failure and inadequacy. God’s faithfulness shouts over those whispers in victory. His mission is the most glorious thing we could ever take part in—and He’s called us. Isn’t that enough?

What kind of fears have held you back from obeying God in faith? Who’s ready to step up to the edge of the diving board with me?

About Author

Samantha Nieves

Samantha loves grammar, lazy lake days, iced green tea, and writing about the glorious gospel truths that transform our everyday lives. A northern Indiana native, Samantha now lives in South Carolina and serves as the social media manager on the Revive Our Hearts staff.

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  • Morgan

    So I failed pretty hard yesterday, but I’m gonna do it today! I’m so nervous, though, just walking up to strangers and telling them God loves them. That’s such a sweet assignment that God has given me, and I’m excited to do it… but again, very nervous. I’m so deep in my shell, it hurts to get out. But nevertheless, I’m doing it. And I mean, Jesus was certainly less than thrilled when He was mocked, falsely accused, and even killed… so the least I can do is go to a stranger and tell them God loves them.

    • Tiana

      Hey Morgan. I know what that fear is like. God told me to go up to a girl on my basketball team a few months ago and tell her that God loves her. I was terrified. I waited several weeks before finally working up to courage to tell her. And when I did, she went mean girl on me. She completely ignored me, wouldn’t answer my texts, wouldn’t talk to me. And when we were playing a basketball game, I threw her the ball and she crossed her arms and didn’t catch it, just because she was mad at me for telling her about the love of God! But I kept trying. And guess what? A few days later, she asked to talk to me after practice. She wanted to know more about God! So I talked to her about God and gave her some scriptures to read at home. It turned out that even though her parents went to church every week (she didn’t go because she didn’t believe in God), they didn’t even have a single Bible in their whole house. And she didn’t have a smartphone so she couldn’t download a Bible app either. So I brought her an extra Bible that I’d had laying around my house. She looked up the scriptures right then, and became a Christian right there inside the basketball gym! I haven’t had contact with her since then, so I hope she’s still following God and I hope she meant it when she prayed to receive Christ. But even if she didn’t mean it and even if she did mean it but she’s not living a Christian lifestyle anymore, I know that I did my part in telling her about Christ. So the reason I told you this was so that you can see that even if you’re scared, it’s well worth it to share the love of Christ. They could accept Him, or they might not. But you can try and know that you at least tried and know that you did your part in sharing the love of Christ. I’m praying for you to have the courage, and I’m praying that people will reopen to what you have to say!

      Your sister in Christ,

      • A girl

        That’s awesome Tiana!!!! I probably should speak up more. . .My atheist friend. . .I tried telling him a lot, but he just doesn’t get it. He cuts too :'( and he can get very very depressed. . .I just don’t know what to do. . .esp. since I only talk to him thru texting.

        • Tiana

          Just keep trying. Most of all, jut pray for him. Put it in God’s hands and he’ll work it out. I’m praying for you and your friend!

      • Morgan

        Thanks. My mom thinks I should start with people I know… Idk, I’m still a bit unsure about some things, but I’ll just stop worrying about it.