When was the last time you doubted or feared anything? This morning? Yesterday? I doubt quite frequently. I never knew how much this weighed on my faith life until my first year of graduate school. I was insecure about what God wanted me to do. I doubted my vocation, schooling, and career path. I was apprehensive about choosing between a social science major or an education major. I was going through deep waters in my faith walk. It was a fruitful yet painful season in my life.
It was then that I learned what “doubt” entailed in the full extent of its definition. Many times, we think fear is something possessive over us. That it is an emotional blockage we cannot easily break. Sisters, I have news for you! We can penetrate it once we surrender wholeheartedly to our God.
God wants to make us a new creation invariably through His amazing grace and mercy. How do you think the saints became saints? They were transformed through God’s grace and unfailing love. He helped them break through their struggles and made them models for the Church. A dear friend of mine once told me, when I felt I could not fight anymore, to reflect on the beautiful stories of the saints. They did not live leisurely while spreading the Gospel. Some were beheaded, burned, and killed in other horrible ways, and yet their faith in God stood firm.
We Can Change the Story on Fear
In the lives of the saints, fear was transformed into courage and obedience. Fear is an emotion that God can change for our good.
I struggled in my attempts to be fearless. I struggled to muster up the courage to speak in public, to strike up a conversation with the barista at Starbucks, to build community with fellow Catholics on community nights. But once I offered this struggle in daily prayer, this area of my life slowly transformed. I began to act out courageously and confident in the One who works for my good. It was amazing! God will push us into uncomfortable seasons, but He never leaves us.
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Once I was asked to speak at a Young Adult retreat. This would be my first time speaking in front of my peers, many of whom I knew personally. I was asked to share my testimony and, let me tell you, it took me a week to walk out of my fear. That week, I experienced “growing pains” in my faith journey. I knew this was something God wanted me to do, but I struggled with my fear and insecurity. Every day, I would turn to Him in prayer, and He faithfully arrived. I thank God for giving me the spirit of peace and courage to act outside of my comfort zone. That day, I accepted the challenge of living fearlessly. It is a constant battle, but when God guides us, we can never go wrong.
He Will See It Through
Through speaking at the retreat, the Holy Spirit reminded me that everything is possible with God. It was one of most profound moments of my life. In that moment, I felt the warm presence of God’s unfailing love and mercy. God has everything under control; all He asks is that we trust in his plans for our lives. In the book of Philippians, Paul sends a similar message, “being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6).
He will finish the work he has begun. What better news could I have received in that God-appointed time?! Through my weakness, His strength is known. Having faith and keeping it is a daily task. I have to remind myself to surrender and immerse myself in God’s word daily. He wants to speak to us, all we have to do is become hypersensitive to His calling. Following the narrow path is not easy, but we can rest assured that God is with us every step of the way.
During particular trials of doubt and fear, it may seem that He is not there. But the teacher is always whispering to the depths of our hearts, giving us the strength we need to overpower our circumstances. Let us continue to pursue Him and to be captivated by His immense love for us. Let us become a new creation. Let us set the world on fire by becoming who we were meant to be through Christ Jesus. As St. Augustine beautifully put it:
Faith is to believe what you do not see; the reward of this faith is to see what you believe.
How have you overcome doubt and fear? I’d love to hear your stories in the comments below!
Johana Castillo strives to live a faith-filled life on the island of Oahu. She loves the beach and outdoors and the sweet smell of coffee. These help her serve as a Youth Leader and teach energetic little ones in a Catholic school.