“God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline” (2 Timothy 1:7 NLT).

We all have doubts and fears, and if we allow them, they will consume our attention to our detriment. No matter what the fear—uncertainty, loss, isolation, rejection, failure, or even success—if we hang on to it, we will become stagnant. My fear almost hindered me from embracing the opportunity to become an author and a witness for Christ to thousands.

I grew up in Largo, Florida, and spent much of my time as a child working at my parents’ furniture upholstery business. Most of our customers were upper middle-class, wealthy people who stayed near the beaches. I remember helping my parents deliver furniture in those nice communities and thinking that I didn’t belong. We didn’t have much materially.

That feeling of being out of place birthed an attitude of inferiority and low self-worth in me. As I got older, this worked against me in the workplace. I often felt unworthy of promotion.

What does low self-worth or an inferiority complex have to do with fear? Well, feeling inferior and believing I was worthless meant I was afraid to be who God had created me to be. Fear controlled my life, and it created lie-based thought patterns that led me to relinquish God’s will.

John Maxwell said that thinking “I don’t think I can” rises from a deeper “I don’t think I am,” and I believe it. I limited myself because deep down, I didn’t doubt my ability, I doubted my inherent value.

I allowed the financially stability of others to tell me that I was worthless. I connected money to my identity. I tell this story because what I believed about myself as a child influenced me for years. I sabotaged my own success.

But as T.D. Jakes said, “Everything in life worth having is on the other side of your fears.” We must disconnect our identity from our fear in order to move forward. Decide that fear is not going to control your life. Then you can embrace your purpose.

As I wrote my book, Think Up to Get Up, which is about breaking free from destructive thought patterns, I faced the fear of failure as an author every day. I battled this same fear when I was sharing my testimony in Victorious Living.

I met the publisher of this magazine, Kristi Overton Johnson, in 2018. She was inspired by the subjects I was writing about and invited me to tell my story of how I met Jesus. I was honored, but fear and anxiety bubbled up. What would people think about me? Would my readers embrace or reject me? I was scared to death. But I continued to move forward and allowed my story to be told.

I tell you this to encourage you. Fear will emerge, and it will try to hold you tight as you walk into your purpose. But you know what? Fear will just have to come—and you’ll just have to face it. You can’t wait to feel fearless to defeat fear. You have to do what you know you need to do now—and you’ll have to do it afraid with God. But that’s okay—He will be with you each step of the way.

Don’t allow the lies you have accepted as truth in your past keep you from the future God desires for you. Redefine yourself with a vision that is disconnected from your fears.

If you are struggling to confront your fears, ask God to expose whatever lies are fueling them. Ask Him to let you see yourself as He sees you. And ask Him to heal you. He is ready to do abundantly more through you than you can imagine (Ephesians 3:20).

Remember, fear is not evidence that God is not with you but an affirmation that you are no longer in your comfort zone. And when you move out of your comfort zone with God, amazing things will happen.