In my experience, and I’m sure many can relate to this, my faith has grown most when I have allowed myself to be submissive to the Lord and His teachings. It wasn’t enough for me just to pray or study the scriptures (although those are both very important). Rather, applying the things which I know to be true, the scriptures, the words of our prophets, the doctrines, and principles of the Church, is what has changed me and helped me to gain more faith, and more importantly, act in faith. It didn’t happen overnight, and I still have work to do, but for the most part, more and more I feel free of my fears of living and acting in faith. ~Emilia
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,
So, in the spirit of that verse, I “hushed [my] fears” and had a talk with God about dating. I asked Him what was His job and what was mine. The answer was simple: His job was to get the right person in the right place at the right time, and my job was to SHOW UP and be “present, pretty, and available–” meaning that I needed to take natural, normal opportunities to get to know people, look presentable, and be willing to talk to someone new when the opportunity arose.
Making that distinction between God’s job and mine took a lot of weight and fear off my shoulders. I felt light and hopeful, because my part was doable, and I could do it with gratitude, knowing that when the time was right, God would make His part happen too. In all aspects of life, I can choose faith over fear when I realize that it isn’t my job to make everything in my life work out—I can do my part, recognize that other people have their agency, and let God do the rest.
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