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Grace in the market place (Part 3): Face your fears

Grace tidings with Dr Doug Mamvura

Fear is one of the weapons that the devil uses to paralyse us especially when one is operating in a turbulent, volatile and challenging business environment. The presence of fear usually signifies the absence of faith.

God’s grace is always sufficient for those who believe. However, grace on its own without faith on our part is not enough for one to be successful.

In Exodus 14 we see how Moses led the Jews out of Egypt and to safety by parting the Red Sea. This story teaches us a valuable lesson about how we must face the future. Let me draw your attention to two verses in particular Exodus 14: 15 -16: “And the Lord said to Moses, Tell the people of Israel to march forward.
Lift up your rod and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it.”

It is interesting to note that Moses was instructed to raise his rod to divide the sea only after telling his people to march forth into the water. The Israelites were actually in the water, some of them up to their necks and were told to keep marching before the water split. Yet no one complained or feared drowning because the message from God was very clear — walk first into the water and the sea will split afterwards.

If they had waited around for the waters to part, they would have waited for a long time and the Egyptians would have slaughtered all of them. They had to bring about their own miracle, by obeying God’s command. We see the same thing happening with Peter as he walks on water after Jesus had told him: “Come.”

To succeed in life and business, you too must face the future as the Israelites did at the Red Sea. Get moving now. Do not wait for the bridge, cross now and the way through will present itself. Such a leap of faith requires us to view the future as if it had already come to pass. You must have faith that, somehow or another, you will cross that ocean, that river, that obstacle, that challenge. As you run your business, you will be faced with all kinds of trials and tribulations for which there will appear to be no feasible solutions. Don’t just sit there and say I am “waiting on God” forever. Problems — and I mean all problems — are solved not just by sitting and thinking, but by moving and doing.

Please note I am not just saying you should be reckless in your faith and not take time to pray and meditate on the Word and on what God is saying to you about your situation. However, you have to take action and not just sit on that mountain forever. You eventually have to get in motion. You better do it with a sense of urgency because your competitors are not just waiting for you to get your act together.

You can think while you walk. Get out there and test your hypotheses. You find a path by exploring. I really admire one of the organisations in the telecoms industry in this country. They are renowned for being pioneers in a lot of things and they always change their tyres while the car is in motion. They always perfect their act as they go. This is the way to behave in a turbulent and volatile business environment. It is very important to remember that a path must be cut through the forest, not found. As a believer, you know that you will overcome the challenge even if you don’t know how or when. The Bible says: “Whatsoever is born of God overcomes the world” (1 John 5:4). You should know that you are an overcomer. You are a victor not a victim. Jesus told us that in this world we would have trials and tribulations, but be of good cheer for I have overcome the world”.

The solution will always present itself en-route, not when you are stationary. I must also mention that I am not saying pressing on when the path is unknown is easy. I am simply saying that it is necessary to being successful in business and life, even when it is scary. Apostle Paul says we don’t walk by sight, but by faith. In addition, he tells us that we were not given a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind. So, how do we eliminate fear?

The answer is that we face it. Like Moses and the Israelites, you must step into the sea before it is split, but do you think they were not scared to walk into the water up to their necks? Of course, they were scared! But they did it anyway. There comes a time in your life when you have to take bold steps regardless of your thumping heart and move on. Every person who has lived on this planet has experienced fear. That does not mean we can’t overcome our fear. The secret of true heroes is that they do not overcome fear by eliminating it; they overcome by learning to cope with it. Imagine those people who fought the liberation struggle in this country. They would walk long distances in jungles full of deadly creatures and would cross flooded rivers. Do you think they were not scared?
However, they learnt how to cope with their fear. Courage doesn’t come from eliminating fear, it comes from the ability to act and plough ahead in the face of fear.

The key thing is to ensure that you pray and plan. God is a Master Strategist. He will give you a strategy on how to navigate the turbulent waters. Another example is that of a fireman. Do you think a fireman ever overcomes the fear of stepping into a burning house? I remember watching those brave men and women during the September 11 terror attacks in the United States of America. It was amazing to see how they worked so hard to rescue fellow citizens who had been trapped in tall buildings. They understood the danger, but were able to do what needed to be done in the face of their own fear and some obviously lost their lives.

Therefore, don’t look down upon yourself because you experience fear — that is the sign that you appreciate a grave situation. Courage is all about understanding the direness of a situation and forging ahead anyway.

Too often people fear making mistakes. They think if they make a single mistake all will be lost, their lives will be ruined, that it will be the end of everything. Thankfully life doesn’t work that way. We are fallible. The thing to accept in life and in business is that you are going to make mistakes. You will do the wrong thing from time to time and it will cause bad things to happen. I have had a fair share of my own mistakes which have been very costly, but I learnt from them and have moved on. The Bible says a righteous man may fall seven times but he will rise up again. I have seen most of the successful businessmen and women we admire having made some terrible mistakes others to the point of going bankrupt but they recovered.

We can’t fear these mistakes and we can’t fear their repercussions. If we do, we will lock up in fear of the future. We will fail to act and to carve ourselves a path through life and out of our own mistakes.

In Ecclesiastes 7:20, the Bible says “There is not a just man on earth who does good and does not sin”. This just confirms our fallibility. We are going to make mistakes as we run our lives and businesses. The only way to avoid making these mistakes is by doing nothing. If you are out there in the world living life passionately, committed to your life, passionately and your business, you are going to make mistakes. It is going to happen. You will make a mistake, suffer a setback and you have to move on from there wiser for the experience. There is no need to fear the path forward. Eliminate the fear that you have of making mistakes and simply travel forward and be the best working professional, the best businessman or woman out there. Don’t allow fear to paralyse you. You have to face your fears and still move on. This is what will set you apart from cowards.

Most people have failed to accomplish great things because of fear. There is also fear of failure and fear of success. All that is fear and one should learn to manage their fears. Some bosses can’t make decisions because of fear. This indecisiveness can be very frustrating to your subordinates. Subordinates expect leaders who are bold and decisive. Be bold and courageous as you run your business in the midst of challenges.

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