Fear & Dismay in the Life of a Leader


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!

3 responses to “Fear & Dismay in the Life of a Leader

  1. Gary,

    Jill forwarded this to me, because she knew I needed to be reminded of God’s “withness” in my leadership endeavors. I was in the middle of preparing for a gathering of some of our key leadership folks in the morning and completely shifted the direction because of your blog entry. I would love to engage them in a conversation around your observations and the powerful truth that God is with us so “do not be afraid or dismayed”

    • Mark, Great to hear from you-thanks for commenting and so glad this little post could be of some help. I will pray for your time with your leaders tomorrow and trust all will go well. Tell Jill Hi!

  2. Pingback: Leading with Courage « Linked 2 Leadership

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