Courageous living is a learned art. The opposite of courage is fear. Fear stops us in our tracks. Fear can prevent us from going forward, fear can literally prevent us from being all that God created us to be. How do we overcome fear and learn to live courageously?
Walking the Camino de Santiago has helped many people face their fears head-on. It has empowered people with courage when they were filled with fear of the unknown. Just taking the “steps” to walk the Camino is in and of itself a huge leap in overcoming fear. The potential fears one faces are too numerous to list: Fear of not being physically able to do the walk, fear of meeting people, fear of not meeting people, fear of the mountains, fear of what is around the corner, fear of not speaking the language, fear of not finding a nearby restroom, fear of not finding a place to sleep, fear of not being able to sleep in a crowded room, fear of sharing too much, fear of sharing too little. The list is exhausting.
We see so many parallels in our daily lives of the fears that we might also face. Yet, when we look at the list, we are reminded that fear in and of itself is something that can be conquered. It is not conquered by our own might, but rather it is conquered by the power of the Holy Spirit working and and through us, and moving forward with the help of God by our side, into courageous living.
Walking the Camino takes courage, and it empowers us to face that which is unknown–because we are practicing facing the unknown with every step. It is often the future of the unknown that grips us in fear. Getting up every day and walking into the unknown is one way of moving forward even in the midst of uncertainty. It is a way we have of letting everything else go, and trusting that God can care for the rest, while we put one foot in front of the other.
Daily life also gives us opportunities to walk into the unknown. How can we, too, put one foot in front of the other in moving forward? The reality is that every day, no matter how routine it might seem, has us facing the unknown. Today is different than the next day will be. We do not know what will be around the corner, but we do know that God promises to walk with us.
Here are some steps that can be helpful in letting go of our fear, worries and anxieties of the unknown:
- Name your fear, anxiety or worry. Acknowledge it before God.
- Self-awareness. What are you saying to yourself about this fear? How can you change your own self-chatter.
- What are others saying about your fear, how can you block them out or take a different path from the nay-Sayers?
- What does God say about your fear?
- Confess your fear to a few trusted friends and before God.
- Have people of faith pray over you and for you.
- Chose a passage of Scripture that will be your new mantra before God. (Maybe Psalm 46, Psalm 71, Psalm 121, Romans 8:37, Joshua 1:6)
- Trust that God is faithful to God’s promises of never leaving us, of walking with us, and of a future that we cannot see.
Maybe you will not be walking the Camino in the near future, but where can you walk or sit and meditate on these things? God empowers us through the Holy Spirit to put one foot in front of the other to move into a new future, a new possibility, a new paradigm and overcome our fears and past hurts.
Here is a song by Casting Crowns that speaks to me in my moments of fear and worry.
You can find many of these ideas stated in our sermon series entitled, “Time Out.” Find the message speaks of courage in the midst of fear here.