Overcoming the Fear of Stepping Out
So many artists lead paralyzed lives because they are too scared to step out and do something they have never done. No matter the cause, whether it’s fear, self-doubt, or isolation, it’s like a wave builds up to push them back to block them from being the Thriving Christian Artist they were called and created to be.
Sound familiar? If so, you’re in good company. I struggled with this very same thing in my life until God began to show me some simple strategies that gave me the confidence to step out.
Defeat Fear With Faith
You know, all of us, if we are honest, have struggled with the fear of stepping out into the new. I know that a root cause of this in my life stems from growing up in a situation that wasn’t the greatest emotionally or relationally. I ended up retreating in self-protection so much that I didn’t do anything unless I was fairly certain of what the outcome was going to be.
In some ways, this led to some early successes in my life, especially those areas that played into my strengths. But most of the time, this fear kept me from stepping out of my comfort zone and into new experiences because I never wanted to try anything new where the outcome was uncertain.
Whether it was from a fear of failure, fear of ridicule, or even the fear of success, fear kept me from trying anything new. Maybe you can identify with what I’m saying here. The enemy loves to use our past, our fear, or even our woundedness to drive a wedge between the promise of what God has for us and the reality of where we are right now.
The one thing God showed me that set me free from this fear-based paralysis is this: Change only happens when my faith and my willingness to step into the promises of God become bigger and more powerful than the fear of the unknown.
Think about that for a second. Transformation will only happen in your life when your faith in all that God has for you becomes bigger than the fears that are holding you back.
Embrace Your Identity
The second area that I had to grow in was in the area of identity. My fear of stepping out was also a result of my unwillingness and inability to accept, believe, receive, and fully embrace my identity as a Son of God and as an artist in His Kingdom. My own self-doubts and anxieties about “not being enough” kept me from even dreaming that I was meant for more.
I learned, through times of healing and revelation, that having an identity that is rooted and grounded in Christ sets the stage for everything else in life. And I want to encourage you to do the same.
As you begin to grow in confidence and start to embrace who God has called you to be, things start to change. You’ll find yourself in position to receive the strategies, knowledge, and guidance that God has had for you all along.
Don’t Go It Alone
Finally, like so many creative believers, I fell into the trap of isolation. Believing the lie that I was the only one going through this particular struggle or dealing with this specific challenge, feeling alone led to a hopelessness that kept me from stepping out.
Over the years, I’ve learned that artists who try to thrive on their own rarely ever do. Why? It’s simple. We simply weren’t designed to just “white knuckle it” through life’s challenges all on our own, looking for external solutions to internal problems.
As believers, we are called and created to do life together. As Kingdom Creatives, we are meant to walk together in a mutually supportive community with other artists and other believers that are on the same journey.
As you receive fully by faith the promises and provisions that God has for you while embracing your identity as an artist in His Kingdom in the context of a loving, supportive community, life begins to change. Your confidence builds, your vision clarifies, faith grows, and acceleration starts happening.
I sure hope this article has been an encouragement to you. If it has, please share it with others on the journey as you kick fear to the curb and embrace the fullness of who God has called you to be this week.
What Does the "Renewing of the Mind" Look Like for Christians?
That’s the question most Christians struggle with and have had very little teaching on during their life as believers. Consequently, they are left feeling unfulfilled, frustrated and confused when it comes to actually living the abundant life Jesus promised in John 10:10 NLT where he said “The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.” That rich and satisfying life manifests in the life of believers through one simple, life-changing strategy: the renewing of the mind.
What Does Renewing of Your Mind Mean in the Bible?
Simply stated, renewing your mind according to Romans 12:2 means interpreting life through the lens of God’s Word and the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, rather than through the lens of your experience, woundedness, trauma, preferences or the opinions of others. It’s a fundamental shift toward seeing the world, yourself, others, God and especially what’s possible from a Kingdom perspective. It’s making a daily, moment by moment choice to choose the Mind of Christ which lives inside of us as new creations rather than operating from our soulish mind the way we did before we were saved.
Why Do Christians Need to Renew Their Minds?
Unless a Christian learns to renew their mind, they will continue to walk in defeat, struggle and confusion as they desire to experience a Spirit-led life yet have no understanding how or tools with which to see that life manifest. This is the predicament of most believers who live lives of religious obedience and obligation yet void of any real Spirit-led power. Without renewing your mind, the only two options are to wait, hope and beg God to change you or to work, sweat and strive on your own to achieve the results you so long to experience. Neither is God’s best.
Renewing your mind aligns your mind with the truth of God’s Word by learning to recognize the lies of the enemy, replace them with the truth of God’s Word and then reinforce that truth every time the enemy comes at them with those same lies. In 2 Corinthians 10:5 ESV, God’s Word teaches us that “We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ…” Taking a thought captive literally means to capture or conquer that thought as you identify it and compare it to God’s Word. Does this thought agree with God’s promises over my life or not? If not then I cast it away – rejecting it’s influence in my life – and I plant in its place one of God’s promises from His Word.
In 2 Peter 1:3-4, the Bible says “3 His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.
4 Through these He has given us His precious and magnificent promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, now that you have escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.” Did you get that? It’s through God’s precious promises that we participate in the divine nature.
Renewed thoughts resulting in new beliefs help you engage with God’s plan for your life because thoughts fuel your beliefs. Godly Kingdom-Focused thoughts are great fuel for your godly beliefs, while ungodly, fear-driven lies and half-truths fuel ungodly beliefs.
Renewing your mind is not just a spiritual process, but a physiological one as well. When you intentionally change the way you think to align with God’s Word, it literally creates new connections and pathways in your brain to make that process easier and more preferred over time. Through the process of neuroplasticity, your brain can literally be reconfigured to align with the truth of God’s Word and thus create the solutions, strategies and opportunities that best align with God’s plan for your life. Remember, in Proverbs 23:7 KJV “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he.” Your thoughts (which ultimately create your beliefs resulting in your actions) literally create the boundaries of your life. If you want to experience a different life – the abundant life Jesus promised – you must learn to intentionally renew your mind.
5 Ways to Renew Your Mind Today
You can absolutely live the abundant life Jesus promised if you master the process of renewing your mind including recognizing the lies of the enemy, intentionally replacing them with the truth of God’s Word and reinforcing that truth through visualization and affirmations. As you do, you’ll be amazed at the double doors of favor that seem to instantaneously appear in your life simply because you came into agreement with God’s design for your life, rather than trying to make it happen all on your own.
People ask me all the time, “Matt, how do I know that I am on the right track? How do I know that I am following God’s best for my life?” It’s a great question and one that I’ve asked myself many times as I’ve journeyed through life. Over the years, I’ve learned two keys that have helped me find and stay on the path God has for my life and my art.
Start By Following the Favor
One of the things that I have done over the years that has served me well is what I call “Follow the Favor.” It’s easy. Look around in your life and pay attention to see where God is moving. Pay special attention to:
All of these are clues that point to your divine design and purpose. And as you continue saying “Yes” to the opportunities and open doors, faithfully using the natural talents you’ve been given, your confidence will begin to grow. As you are faithful to use the opportunities, open doors, and skills He’s trusted you with; God will continue to show up in your life in huge ways.
Find Your People
Surrounding yourself with other Kingdom-minded artists is one of the best ways to confirm you’re on the right track. Why? Well, it’s simple. The enemy loves to isolate and separate God’s kids. He loves to get us on our own and fill our heads with lies and fill us full of fear and doubt. Lies like:
But when you surround yourself with others that are in your “tribe,” your people, all of a sudden, you begin to see yourself and your journey in a whole new light. You begin to realize, “Hey, I am not as weird as I thought I was,” especially when you start to connect with other artists who are called to serve the Kingdom of God with their gifts and talents.
And in that place of connectedness, there is an incredible grace that gets released. When you stop trying to do life and art on your own and start walking with others on the same journey, faith, momentum, acceleration, and breakthrough become your new normal.
I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to hit the reset button after the year we just had. If you’re reaching for that button in your life, then I want to share with you four things that will absolutely help you get rebooted, reset, and ready for what God has in store for your life and art in 2021.
You know, the Bible says that without a vision, the people perish. Unless you have a clear view of who God has called you to be, what He has called you to do, where He is leading you, and what He has for you this year, then you may end up very frustrated.
If you find yourself adrift in a sea of doubt, fear, and uncertainty, then I encourage you to go get with Jesus. Take some time away, a few hours or maybe even a couple of days, to get alone with the Lord. Ask Him to show you what He has for you this year in your life, family, art, and business.
The clarity you get will form the seed of a vision that you can cultivate in your life. And as you are faithful to nurture this vision, it begins to release clear direction for everything going on in your life. Vision speeds you down the road when things are good and keeps you on the road when things are bad. Why? Because vision informs everything in our life.
What you believe deep in your heart is as important as what you see for your future. When you cultivate God-centric Kingdom-focused beliefs in your heart, they inform and shape all of your thoughts and actions. Why? Because what you believe deep in your heart is the fruit of the thoughts and ideas you meditate and focus on day in and day out.
Your beliefs are the faith-colored glasses through which you embrace and engage the vision God has established for your life. Vision gives you the path to follow while illuminating the Kingdom-focused truths and concepts you should be cultivating in your heart and mind.
Vision, coupled with a well-cultivated belief, also serves as an early warning system against spiritual attacks. When the enemy comes and throws crazy pictures, thoughts, and lies in your mind, you have a strong foundation from which to say, “NO! This lie does not align with God’s vision for my life or look anything like what He is showing me.
Renew Your Mind
A couple of scriptures that I love are Romans 12:2 and Proverbs 23:7. Romans teaches us to be transformed by renewing our minds, while Proverbs tells us that as a man thinks in his heart, so is he. If vision informs your path and beliefs help you engage with God’s plan, thoughts fuel your beliefs. Godly Kingdom-Focused thoughts are great fuel for your godly beliefs, while ungodly, fear-driven lies and half-truths fuel ungodly beliefs.
The key to effectively renewing your mind can be summed up in three words:
If vision sets our path, belief helps us to engage with God’s plan, and thoughts fuel our journey of faith, then faithfulness is the oil that keeps things running smoothly. Faithfulness, simply put, is the practice of clearly executing every day the things you need to do as you grow into your calling as a thriving artist. Faithfulness for a creative could look like:
All this and more while learning to lean into His grace and not our strength, following God’s lead while avoiding the personal pitfall of striving. Faithfulness walked out over time leads to the “suddenlies” we all long to experience. Suddenly, as you’ve been faithful in the little things the Father has put into your hands, you “suddenly'' find yourself thriving in life, art, relationships, and maybe even business.
2021 is a year of great promise and great potential for creatives. This year we are all called to get serious about embracing vision, renewing our minds, cultivating godly beliefs, and faithfully walking out the plans God has for us. And as we do this in the context of a community of others doing the same, I promise you will have a reset and a reboot like no other.
It is a brand-new year, and I genuinely believe that God has got some incredible things in store for us all in 2021. But guess what? There is something massive out there right now that is holding so many artists back. It’s NOT…
All of these molehills pale compared to this mountain so many creatives face: a lack of vision. No matter where you are, what kind of an artist you are, no matter how long you have been walking with the Lord, THIS is the number one thing that holds people back.
Vision Is Defined by What You Focus Upon
One of the critical truths I’ve learned about developing a vision for my life, art, and business is this: Vision is either based on what has been or on what is possible. You can’t have it both ways.
Far too many people allow their ability to see into the future be defined by what has happened in their past. In other words, they run every idea for the future through the lens of what has happened to them in the past. This is a recipe for self-sabotage.
Set Your Vision Higher
As you are stepping into 2021 with all the promise, opportunities, and thousands of hours yet to be filled with creativity, it is time to dream. It is time to set your vision higher and NOT on what has defined you in the past.
Now is not the time to focus on how good or bad 2020 was. It’s not time to worry about the lost opportunities and things you didn’t think you could get through. It is time to set your eyes on things above and to refocus as you establish a vision for your life and art in this new year.
Don’t Let the Year Define You –YOU Define the Year
It’s easy to blame your current situation on the year that we all just experienced. But for many artists I know, 2020 was their best year ever. They started last year focused on things above instead of their past failings and limitations. They were ready to pivot and take advantage of the opportunities a socially distanced, partially shut down society had to offer. In short, they had an incredible year – but do you know why?
Vision. They believed it was possible. They saw it in their imagination, they cooperated with the Holy Spirit on a daily, moment-by-moment basis, and with His help and guidance, they acted upon those ideas.
They didn’t allow fear from the past, the drama of the present, or what other people were saying to define what they thought was possible in 2020. They simply dreamed with God and agreed in their heart that the thing God was showing them, the thing that was burning inside of them, was their truth, their vision, for the year.
And as they agreed in their heart with the vision God was birthing in their spirits, praying and believing that they have received it, just like Mark 11:24 teaches us, things began to happen. The dream started to manifest in their life. And as a result, their lives, their art, and their businesses all thrived. That is how the Kingdom of God works.
Matt Tommey is an artist, author and mentor who is passionate about empowering artists to thrive spiritually, artistically and in business.