How to Move Forward When You’re Afraid

The last year changed us. Emerging with varied experiences, we carry wounds into a world unlike the one we remember. As I long for a life resembling pre-pandemic days, I also pause because not everyone feels as I do. Some days, my confidence wavers as well. Are we headed towards a better time? What good can come from this experience? How can you move forward when you’re afraid of what may still lie ahead?

We cannot plan our way out of this situation

Quite possibly, the last year found a way (or several) to strike your core fear. We know people who lost their jobs, companies shuttered with little hope of reopening, those who have lost loved ones, and others who faced the vengeance of depression and anxiety. Very real losses and endings without ample warning tore through our lives.

For some of us, the last year has been hard in very different ways. Our losses resemble excess. Working from home brought new pressures to perform, be available more, and be grateful for the opportunity to work. While many businesses slowed or closed, some of us worked more hours than ever before. We’re exhausted, wishing for relief as we look at more long days ahead.

Chaos disrupted our carefully procured lives. Loss and destruction exacted their toll on us in ways we never imagined possible, twisting both opportunity and loss into something disorienting and undefined. Grief ravaged our minds, bodies, and souls in ways we have yet to fully acknowledge.

After everything we experienced in 2020 and 2021, attempting to plan ahead seems futile. Alas, we persist in our belief that sufficient levels of planning can help us avoid the unknown.

Maybe we cling to hope, possibly our awareness of life’s frailty and our powerless seem clearer. Either way, repeating the last year seems miserable. We long for more certainty, less loneliness, clearer answers, and less restlessness coursing throughout our very beings. We want to save ourselves more pain.

Every part of me wants to push past the wreckage of the last year, but we cannot plan our way out of this situation.

move forward when you're afraid
Photo by CoWomen on Unsplash

How to move forward when you’re afraid

Change lingers. A newness awaits us as we look ahead to warmer months. We eagerly and tenderly anticipate life more closely resembling what we knew before—friends, family, gatherings, relief, trust.

Life will never be the same. Our shared trauma permanently altered our perspective going forward. As we start to reemerge, we do so at differing paces and with differing priorities.

How do you move forward when you’re afraid?

We cannot plan our way out of this year or the way it’s affected us, no matter what we would like to believe. As you consider how to move forward when you’re afraid, where you’re headed and who’s leading become paramount.

Acknowledge your fears; ask God for understanding.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)

Stop relying on yourself; allow God to bear the burden.

“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10)

Release future uncertainty; focus on your immediate tasks.

“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” (Matthew 6:34)

Your Next Steps:

The weight of your grief and the uncertainty of the future is not yours to bear alone.

Acknowledge your fears; ask God for understanding. Stop relying on yourself; allow God to bear the burden. Release future uncertainty; focus on your immediate tasks.

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