Several years ago, I spent several months facing some of my biggest fears. From jumping out of an airplane to killing a spider, one-by-one I checked each one off my list. And now, I’m preparing to face another.
Perhaps you can identify with that. Something in your life makes you pull back from fully engaging with others. Or makes you hesitate from completely stepping forward into God’s plan. Or even asking God what He wants you to do in the first place.
We shoulder recognize that sometimes the desire to pause is wise. If a friend betrayed you, you should proceed cautiously before jumping back into a close relationship with them. But, you also shouldn’t evaluate all of your relationships based on that one.
So what if you are stuck, trying to let go, but repeatedly showing up at the cross of Christ with fists so tight around your issue that your knuckles are white? How can you lay the burden down and walk away?
You typically can’t—at least, not as easily as we’d all like it to be. Sure, sometimes God removes a difficulty or encumbrance from our shoulders. But more often He works beside us, encouraging and strengthening us for each step, as we knock down the walls that hold us hostage.
Ready for the steps to freedom?
Think about that issue, difficulty, or weakness as a house that has trapped you within its walls. You stand inside, unable to leave. If the four walls had names, they would be fear, shame, hopelessness, and powerlessness.
Which one looms biggest in your mind? Which one is toughest, strongest, thickest? For me, it was (and still is) fear.
Now look at the other three walls. Which one seems the smallest? Which causes the least anxiety as you consider walking towards it? That’s the wall that gets your first punch.
Once that first wall is weak and failing, attack the next smallest wall. With the damaged first wall, you may feel a greater confidence and understand that this second wall is not as strong as you once thought. Keep attacking with prayer and truth.
Each wall that falls makes the remaining walls weaker. And when only one wall remains, it probably will not feel as big or as solid as it once did. What an amazing victory that is!
What if it comes back?
Some of you may be wondering how it feels to face fear now when I won so many battles against it years ago. The simple truth is this: it’s scary.
You see, fear is something that controlled me for many years, and it can still be a weakness in my life. So I guard against it as much as I can. When something presents itself and I recognize apprehension rising, I stop and pray, evaluating whether I’m reacting out of wisdom or fear.
If it’s fear, I come up with my battle plan and move forward. I knock out hopelessness and powerlessness, then shame. And I turn with boldness (and the prayers and support of close friends) and I face this enemy head on.
You too can follow this same process and take out the walls holding you back. You too can find freedom from the things that haunt you.
Come on. If I can do it, so can you.
Verses to fight with
When combating the four walls holding you back, you should search the Bible and find verses that speak to you. But if you are struggling to start, consider these:
1 Corinthians 15:57
2 Corinthians 13:4
1 John 3:19-20
2 Timothy 1:7