There are moments when I take stock of my actions and realize just how often I act out of fear. (Hint—it can be a LOT.) It becomes almost subconscious—changing the way I say something because I’m afraid of what someone will think, hesitating to bring up an idea because it might get shot down, going around in circles about a decision because I can’t see the end from the beginning and I’m scared of the unknown. So much fear, and living under the weight of it all can be exhausting.
There is another way, of course. Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles has said,
“I invite you to embrace what the Lord has blessed you with and to act in faith. Do not take counsel from your fears.
To not take counsel from our fears simply means that we do not permit fear and uncertainty to determine our course in life. . . .
To not take counsel from our fears means that faith in the Lord Jesus Christ overrules our fears and that we press forward with a steadfastness in Him.”
Over the past few months, I have been reminded of a few principles from the scriptures that have helped me in my practice of choosing to act in faith instead of taking counsel from my fears.
1. Do Your Job, and Let God Do His
For me, a lot of fear comes from feeling like I have to do everything alone. I get the idea that I somehow have the responsibility to make everything work out, and when I can’t (because it’s not my job), I feel fearful and hopeless. Essentially, much of my fear stems from trying to do God’s job instead of mine.
For me, an aspect of my life that was encompassed by a lot of fear was dating—in large part, I realized, because I was trying to force an outcome. I put incredible pressure on myself to “go out and meet people” and make something happen (“If I don’t walk out of this activity with a date, I’m a failure.”). Then, when I didn’t measure up to my own unrealistic expectations, I felt bad about myself and dating felt hard and unpleasant.
In the Book of Mormon, the people of Alma were “much frightened” when they found themselves confronted by a hostile army, but they remembered whose job it was to deliver them. They didn’t have to overcome this challenge alone. Mosiah 23:27–28 reads,