Dear Fearful Girl-
This world is far from perfect. We all have battles. We all face adversity. And deep down, though we hate to admit it, we are all afraid of something.
I have been reminded so much lately the dark effects of fear. As I watch graduates realize that they are walking the hall of their high schools for the last time, I can’t help but see a trace of fear flicker in their excited smiles. Some, terrified, still drive away to college campuses. Some bravely walk into a place of work trembling as they hand in their application. Others walk confidently but fearfully into the military never knowing if they will see their loved ones again. And there are some, even in all three situations, that sit in their bathroom floors and cling tightly to their legs as they cry, wondering how they are ever going to find their place in the world or make the right decisions.
Fear can be crippling. It can be suffocating. It can be detrimental. Sometimes, our fears are magnified through a circumstance, or through the lenses of anxiety and depression: all three of which I have experienced vividly. It doesn’t always rest in the “big” decisions we face or the new seasons of life. It often accompanies every day battles such as letting go of the past, being content in our present, and being hopeful for the future. If you naturally suffer from anxiety, it is intertwined in every decision, moment, and thought. I know, I’ve been there. I am there. Fear and I are very good acquaintances.
I have a friend who knows I love her, but who I don’t think realizes just how much I love her. She has given me so much strength and hope over the past year of my life and has given me such a well-equipped tool box to tackle fear head on. The following is a prayer she left on my desk at work after a terrible week. I don’t know how she knew I needed it, but she did. The prayer is the “#IFPray703: Be Courageous” prayer. I’ve had it with me for over a year. The pages are tattered, there are highlight and pen marks throughout, and her note in curly blue ink is still on the back. She may not realize, I keep the following words close and pray them with chills and conviction over and over.
This prayer is raw. This prayer is real. This prayer will step on your toes.
I wanted to share these words with you because I cannot imagine a more beautifully penned prayer for courage. I cannot fathom a more all-encompassing prayer for strength and for peace. I cannot put into any more or less words a prayer that directly combats all kinds of fear.
I hope as you read the following words by Ann Voskamp, that you will pray them silently or even out loud. I hope they speak to that scared place deep within you. I hope that they make you feel better than another selfie, Pinterest quote, shopping spree at Target or night out with your friends or any other unfulfilling fear fighting activity you’ve developed. I hope they will strengthen and equip you to realize though you feel overwhelmingly fearful, even down to your very core, you are more than a conqueror through Jesus.
“God, we believe that faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see, and we have assurance that You will make us strong and courageous to lay down every dead thing we are still holding on to, to dismount from our dead horses, to stop holding to the past so we can step into what You are holding out to us.
We may not be fearless but we will be strong and courageous and faithful because our faith in You is greater than the fears in us.
We lay down our comfort zones because they are death traps, and we will be strong and courageous because you save us and that makes us safe and the safest place we could ever be is in Your hand, and because we are saved by You, we are always always safe, we are now called to go live dangerous lives.
We lay down our safe, comfortable homogeneous ghettos, and in You will be strong an courageous to warrior for diversity, for racial harmony, for Kingdom community, because our GOD is not American, but our God is African and Jamaican and Dominican and about the Global Kingdom of God.
We will be strong and courageous because today there will be eyes on us, and they will need to see Christ in us and that we have answered Your calling for us because we have hung up on the lies from the pit of hell.
Make us strong and courageous, God, to hunger for lives of hidden service in the battle, not for public medals out of the battle. Make us daily pray for character greater than our calling and for humility greater than our work.
Make us strong and courageous to get down on our faces every morning at 7:03 and repent of our fears and our idols and our sins and our messes because there will be no regeneration in this generation until there is a repentance on our faces because we cannot win this battle with rebel hearts, so may a movement of repentance move us so You hear from heaven and heal our land, so the Land is taken for You.
Make us strong and courageous to do the new thing, because You are not the God of I was but You are the God I am and You are doing a new thing and that thing is unfolding right now in us and will unfold in thousands of places around the world as we walk out our doors and into dangerous lives.
Make us strong and courageous in a faith that doesn’t erase insecurity, doubt, suffering or fear, but literally, daily, overcomes them.
Make us strong and courageous in a faith that is not a formula to get us cheap stuff that only looks like the good stuff, but gives us faith that IS wild and dangerous and IS the real best stuff.
We will be strong and courageous and we will not be afraid; we will not be discouraged, for You are the Lord our God and You will be with us where we go; so we take the next step which may feel like a leap of faith, but our best mode of transportation through anything is always a leap of faith.
We will be strong and courageous because Your hold on us is stronger than our hold on You and delivered people go deliver people and because we have met You, we will go live a different story today than yesterday.
Make us strong and courageous because the great people living great stories are simply the ones who believe GOD CAN.
The hopeful stare up the steps. The faithful step up the stairs.
We will never see the miracles of God until we take the next step up the mountain. Even the smallest of faith in a great God is the greatest equalizer, the greatest eraser and the greatest definer.
Faith diets from stress and feasts on Grace. Simply: faith refuses to stress.
Lord, nobody knows how hard we’re trying to be brave, to show up when it’d be easier to give up, to go do hard and holy things when it’d be easier to go do happy things, to not quit when we don’t know how to keep going on.
And You lean close and breathe warm courage into our exhausted places “Just Call to Me I guarantee I will answer you. I will make you strong and brave and courageous.” Jeremiah 33:3 MSG, Joshua 1
So we will be brave, And hold on to Your light to hold back the flood of dark.
We will be brave. Because our bravery wins a thousand battles we can’t see because our bravery strengthens a thousand others to win their battles too.
We will be strong and courageous and not pray for the hard to go away but will pray for a Brave Faith Bigger than the hard to come.
Make us strong and courageous to do that one next step that seems impossible-because that’s who we are: The Imposs-ABLES.
We will be strong and courageous and brave, because there are angels closer than we know.
And all the Brave and Courageous and the Never-Give-Uppers who cling to the Bravest One and Only One who ever loved us to death and saved us back to the realest and forever life,
We all belive angels are close now and He Himself will carry us out of here to take the land-all of us, we all said Amen”.
To download a printable copy of this prayer click here.
To listen to this prayer, (which will have you in tears), click here.
Loving you fearful girl,