There are at least four places in the Old Testament that state, “Do not fear or be dismayed”. Every instance is directed toward a leader. Why? Because in each instance, whether faced with a foe or some great challenge, there is the very real opportunity for fear and dismay. Fear and dismay are two enemies that knock at the door of every leadership opportunity.
The dictionary defines “fear” as a “distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil or pain; anxiety”. Most leadership decisions or endeavors have these possibilities in the mix. But why are “fear” and “dismay” linked?
The dictionary defines “dismay” as “the breakdown of courage completely, to dishearten thoroughly”. In other words, one leads to the other. Dismay is the logical consequence of unchecked fear in the life of a leader. Stress and anxiety can lead to a complete breakdown of courage-rendering a leader passive or paralyzed.
The common biblical response to the possibility of fear and dismay is to “be strong and courageous” out of the “withness” of God. It is the realization of God’s very real presence that chases fear and dismay away from the life of a leader. In the Old Testament under the old covenant this “withness” could come and go. But in the New Testament this “withness” is permanent because of the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit. As we turn our potential fear into prayerful trust we can tap into the powerful presence of Christ so that we can take the next leadership step by faith.
Do all that He has called you to do!