She had been home alone plenty of times before. There was nothing unusual about that night.
Until all three dogs started barking and rushed to the front door.
There was an odd noise at the door. When she peered around the corner, she could see the doorknob jiggling.
She grabbed the home phone and called her older sister.
“I think somebody is breaking in,” she said. “Stay on the line!”
The banging stopped, but the dogs continued to bark. She went upstairs and looked out a window to the front of the house. There wasn’t a car outside, but she could see footprints in the snow that came around the house to the front door. There was a second set of footprints from the front door to the back of the house.
Her brother-in-law called the police, and her oldest brother, who lives close by, was at the house in a matter of minutes. He and the police officer searched the basement, where they thought someone might have come in, but found no evidence of a break-in. They went back outside to inspect the footprints.
But they weren’t footprints.
They were PAW prints.
It’s Funny Now, But It Wasn’t Then
Apparently, our neighbor’s large brown Lab had wandered onto our front porch. (Yes, this was at our house with our youngest daughter.)
Our front door has sidelights (windows) framing it, and when the neighbor’s dog looked inside and saw the three dogs in our house staring back at him, he clearly got excited.
Evidently, in his excitement, he had also jumped up on the windows and the door (the odd banging.) And, because he was such a large dog, his paws hit the doorknob as he jumped (the jiggling.)
We can laugh about it now, but the combination of all of those little things added up to make it seem to our youngest daughter that someone was trying to break into our house when she was home alone that night.
But it was all just false evidence that appeared to be real in those moments.
That’s exactly what fear is—False Evidence Appearing Real.
What the Enemy Loves to Do
Satan loves to set up—false evidence—smoke screens and setups and shadows that all appear to be much bigger and scarier than they really are.
Why? Because he despises us, and he’s not playing games. He wants to take us out.
He wants to stop the Kingdom of God from manifesting, and he wants to hinder the plans of God for your life.
So he pushes your buttons. He knows what to say to make you afraid. After all, you’ve been trained by our culture to fear. Fear permeates our culture. Movies, television, news reports—they’ve all helped train us to fear or to react to circumstances in fear.
That’s why 1 Peter 5:8 says, “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”
You Don’t Have to Fear
You don’t have to fear the enemy or evil.
Look at Psalm 23:4:
“Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”
See that? God is with you.
So, as a believer, the real battle against fear occurs in your mind.
That’s the ONLY way Satan can gain entrance.
And that’s why you have to take your thoughts captive. You have to be the one to draw the line and stand your ground.
You have to have courage.
How to Have Courage
Here’s the thing: Courage isn’t the absence of fear. No, courage is actually defined as the mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty.
Courage is moving forward in the face of fear.
If you know anything about my story, you know that years ago I had real issues with fear.
Growing up, I was painfully shy and insecure.
I survived life by withdrawing. In fact, my plan was to just get done with high school and live in the woods, away from people.
I hadn’t learned how to handle fear, so fear was handling me.
God had to fix me. He had a specific purpose for my life, and He wanted to help me get there. When I was 19 years old, God called me in a vision to preach—to people. So I had to change. After all, a preacher who is afraid of people would live a miserable, unproductive life. There was only one answer: I had to have courage. I had to move forward in the face of fear again and again and again. I had to keep moving forward to get where He wanted me to go.
Friend, you have to learn how to move forward in the face of fear.
Learn How to Handle Fear So Fear Doesn’t Handle You
The Bible is full of examples of courage. Joshua is one of my favorites.
Moses had mentored Joshua to be a successful leader. Then, Moses died. Suddenly, Joshua was responsible for a huge nation of people and a wilderness journey.
Joshua could’ve easily looked at his situation and freaked out. He could’ve said, “You’ve got to be kidding me. I can’t do this. I’m not qualified.”
But he didn’t. Instead, Joshua focused on the promises God had made him:
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” Then Moses summoned Joshua and said to him in the presence of all Israel, “Be strong and courageous, for you must go with this people into the land that the Lord swore to their forefathers to give them, and you must divide it among them as their inheritance. The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” —Deuteronomy 31:6-8
I need you to see something really important in those verses: God mandated that Joshua be courageous.
That means courage isn’t a feeling; it’s a choice, a decision to move forward in the face of fear.
No matter how impossible the situation may look, God said He is with you.
It doesn’t matter how weak you feel or how afraid you are. God said He will NEVER leave you nor forsake you.
You can be courageous not because of who you are but because God is with you.
That was me after God called me to preach—being courageous ONLY because He was with me. Because when He told me to go to college, I really had to move forward in the face of fear.
After college, God told me to go into life insurance sales. That’s a fantastic job for someone who is afraid to talk to people, right? I died at least a thousand deaths every week during those years I sold insurance. I’d lie in bed at night shaking in fear. It was the fight of my life.
But that was when things really began to change—when God began to reveal all of the larger-than-life shadows for what they really were—lies from the enemy…
False Evidence Appearing Real.
God has called you to be strong and courageous, to confront the lies, the insecurities, the inferiorities, and the intimidation of the enemy.
You can learn how to move forward in the face of fear.
You can learn how to handle fear so fear doesn’t handle you.
Our brand-new Faith Over Fear 6-CD series can help.
So can Drenda’s newest book, Sharkproof: How to Deal With Difficult People
These two mentorship materials will help you STOP FEAR in your relationships, in your finances, and in your life.