Sometimes we let our concerns and worries get the best of us. And when you do, you deafen yourself to God’s voice.

You start to rationalize. You come up with reasons why you can’t do something.

You want to trust in God’s voice. But your “paralysis by analysis” makes it difficult.

If this describes you, don’t beat yourself up. Even Jesus’s own disciples suffered from it.

And then there was the prophet Jonah.

Alone, he warned a whole city that it would fall in 40 days. The people of Nineveh could have turned against him. But the lone prophet did it anyway (Jonah 3:1-5, 10).

If only we could be that confident! But the reality of Jonah is sobering.

Jonah didn’t listen to God right away. He even ran away from God to avoid doing his task (Jonah 1). But somehow he found the courage to do what was intimidating anyway.

Like Jonah, we can be reluctant to step into the unknown. Yet his experience teaches us how to face our fears in a healthy manner.

Lesson #1: Believe that God is good

What was helpful for Jonah was to treat God as his friend.

Jonah believed in God’s innate goodness. But this belief did not come easy for him. His commitment to God came only after much struggle.

We learn from Jonah’s example that how you treat and view God shapes how you respond to him. If you see him as your enemy, mistrust and faithlessness are certain. But you would never question a true friend’s loyalty and support.

Lesson #2: Seek the higher purpose in your life experiences, both good and bad

Once Jonah committed himself to God, he began to see life through God’s eyes. Condemnation and destruction were never God’s end goal. Opportunities for forgiveness and reconciliation were.

By seeking God’s meaning for your life, you become emboldened in your faith. You start to have better clarity in your life. You start to hear God’s voice grow louder despite the chaos of your life.

Focusing on these two areas won’t make your problems go away. I’m not giving you a magic button here. But they are powerful disciplines that train you to silence the voice of fear that paralyzes you.

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