How to Break Free from Fear and Uncover Your Dream

Growing up, I would never have considered myself a dreamer. Very timid, I was afraid of almost everything and everyone.  Blending in so that no one would notice me was my specialty.  I’d watch ‘the brave kids’ and think, ‘Why can’t that be me?’ But I wasn’t brave. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I needed to learn how to break free from fear and uncover my dream.

The thought of being laughed at made me cringe, so I was afraid of making mistakes or doing anything that would draw attention to me. For example: I wasn’t good at sports, so when it came time to pick teams in PE, I would avoid eye contact and hide in the back of the group so I’d be chosen last.  That way everyone knew not to expect much from me.  Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn’t.

One summer while at youth camp, somehow I got picked to play in a volleyball tournament. Needless to say, as soon as they called my name, I started freaking out!  Within about 3 seconds, I felt sick and was sweating bullets.  I dove headfirst into self-sabotage mode. I went to the bathroom, looked at myself in the mirror, and said, “You know you can’t do this, right?  You’re going to embarrass yourself and your team; you have to find a way out!” 

Fear is a Prison

I’m sad to say that I did find a way out that day.  While we were warming up, I pretended to twist my ankle so I wouldn’t have to play.  My youth pastor was so sweet; it killed me to lie to him.  He carried me to the sideline and brought me an ice pack.  I was so disappointed in myself.  I watched them play and wanted so badly to jump up and join them, but I couldn’t because I had let my fears bully me once again. 

I had to watch them having the time of their lives while I sat on the sideline holding an ice pack to my perfectly healthy ankle.

I wish I could tell you that the self-doubt/self-sabotage mindset was something I grew out of quickly but that’s not the way it happened.  The truth is that I spent more than the first half of my life listening to and agreeing with the wrong voice.  

sad girl looking into the distance. break free from fear
photo by Kyle Broad via Unsplash

Exposing the Tactics of Our Enemy

I heard someone say once that Satan wants to destroy in infancy what he never wants to face in maturity.  It makes so much sense! This is why he starts in on us at such a young age, convincing us that there’s something wrong with us, that no one likes us or believes in us and that we’ll never amount to anything. 

He knows that if he repeats it enough, it will be so ingrained in our minds that anytime we decide to try something new or step out of our comfort zone, we’ll end up saying those exact things to ourselves.  Then our courage will evaporate, and we’ll shrink back into what he trained us to be, weak and powerless. 

Does anyone out there relate to this?  It’s a miserable way to live but I’m happy to tell you that it’s not the way I operate anymore.  Nothing about breaking out of that mindset was easy though. It took a long time and a lot of practice.  God helped me to establish a new mindset and I’m so thankful for that.  Today, I hope to do the same for you!

First Things First

Before we can dream, we have to know and believe that before God created us, he assigned gifts, talents, and callings to our lives.

“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” -Ephesians 2:10

We must also know that the enemy is very strategic in his plan to convince us otherwise.  He watches and waits for something he can use against us.  The moment we begin to dream, he feels threatened, so he puts his plan into action.

“Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” -1 Peter 5:8

Satan attacks us in the area of our potential impact. So that when we fall into his traps, we’ll see ourselves as the opposite of what God created us to be.  That’s half the battle for him.  He tempts us with sin, and when we give in, he uses it against us.

Satan’s Strategy

His goal is to separate us from God so that we won’t be in a position to threaten him.

Take me for example.  The devil knew that if he could intimidate me long enough, I’d never become the brave leader that God called me to be.  The sins he laid out for me were like land mines waiting to take my legs out from under me. He knew that if I took the bait, (which I did more than I’d like to admit) it would put me in a sin/consequence cycle.  He hoped that I’d give up and get so far away from God that I’d never come back.

It all works together, the lies, the temptations, the sin.  If he succeeds, we’ll never step foot into the Promised Land that God created for us. We would stay small and bound up in sin.  It wouldn’t just affect us but every person that we’re called to influence. But this doesn’t have to be the way your story unfolds.

Shifting the Storyline

I’m going to break down strategic keys that will reverse the tricks of the enemy. Use them, and before you know it, you’ll notice the patterns of your mind starting to shift.

  1. Find your identity in the Word.  Dig through the scriptures and discover who God says you are and start agreeing with the truth.
  2.  Learn to recognize the lies of the enemy.  Hint: it’s always the opposite of what God says about you.
  3. Refuse the lies and cast them down (2 Corinthians 10:5) then replace them with the truth.

On to the Dreaming!

The good news is that you don’t have to be a ‘dreamer’ to have a dream.  Remember, before you were conceived, it was planned for you by your Creator.  It’s in there!  Everything about you points to it.  

Your personality, the things you love, the people groups you’re drawn to.  It’s all a part of your makeup which is a part of your calling, your dream.  Think about something that fires you up.  Something that makes righteous anger rise up in you, something you feel driven to fight for or protect.  These are all little flags trying to get your attention. 

Some know their dream from childhood, but others have to process and persevere through hard seasons before they’re able to realize it. Then some don’t even plan to dream, but God sneaks up and drops it into their heart without warning because he sees their potential.  

For those that aren’t sure, here are a few tips to get your wheels turning.

  1. Ask yourself, ‘When I was a kid, what did I want to be when I grew up?’
  2. What are you good at, what do you love?  Music, art, nutrition, teaching, encouraging, what’s your strong suit?
  3. If failure wasn’t an option and you had no limitations, how would you want to make your mark?
  4. And last, who inspires you?  Who’s doing the thing you wish you could do?

Chances are, after answering these questions, you’ll be on track to uncovering your dream.  Psalm 37:4 says, “Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.”  There’s a direct connection between your desires and what God desires for you.  I’m sure he’d love to give them to you with no strings attached, but he knows better. 

God knows that we can’t navigate life much less a dream without his help.  When we delight in him, he sets things into motion.  

Tell Me About You

I want to hear about your dream!  Are you living it? Or are you like I was, listening to the lies that keep you small? If the second is you, please decide today that you’ll start believing what God says about you and break out of that prison for good!  It’s not too late to do what God has called you to do.  

Recently, while thinking about the complexity of my dream, I felt discouragement starting to creep in.  I stopped what I was doing and said a little prayer.  I told God how sorry I was for wasting time and for letting fear dictate my life for so long.  Then I remembered this scripture.

“I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten…” -Joel 2:25 Reading it felt like a warm hug from the Lord.  I hope that if you’re discouraged, it feels like a hug for you, too.  Let me reiterate-It’s not too late, and you’re not too old!

Whether you’re on your way to making your dream a reality or are just starting the journey of uncovering it, I’d love to pray for you! Have you already beaten fear so you could pursue your passion? Share your breakthrough with us!

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Until next time, be brave, break free from fear and uncover your dream!  Life is short, and we’ve got work to do.  Let’s do all we can with the time we have left to make our mark for the Kingdom! 

chalkboard with 'be brave" written on it. be brave and uncover your dream
photo by Joyce McCown via Unsplash