I began my new adventure in blogging just over one year ago. My very first post was the story of my calling to speak for God. One of the main themes in that story is fear—fear that I wouldn’t be enough, fear of others, fear of failure, fear, fear, fear.
But I went to seminary anyway. I signed up for preaching class anyway. (Not that I had a choice if I was getting an M-Div…but let’s not get caught up in semantics.)
I kept teaching, leading, speaking, preaching anyway.
Even though fear was tap dancing all over my confidence at times, I just kept pushing forward because there was something in me that would not let me give up.
I felt a little like Jeremiah, I suppose, when he said that when he tried not to speak the words of God, it felt like a fire shut up in his bones and he grew weary from holding it in (Jeremiah 20:9). It is something I can’t not do. (Yep… intentional double negative for emphasis. Apologies to all my fellow grammar-loving friends.)
Sharing the truth of Christ by teaching and proclaiming the Word of God is not only a calling for me, it is my passion. I would do it for free. If you told me I could no longer share or teach others about the amazing love we have in Christ and the truth we find in God’s Word, I would shrivel up. I know I would.
Along this journey I’ve failed. I’ve been “less than stellar.” And, yet, God has kept calling me forward. Stunningly, in my obedience and faithfulness—NOT my perfection, my faithfulness— somehow, some way, God has worked in the lives of others.
But fear kept at me.
Fear taunted me.
Fear reminded me of every sin, every failure, every embarrassment, every tough or cruel word from others.
He threw all that in my face over and over again and lied to me and told me I couldn’t do what I was called to do. When real life obstacles showed up to prevent me from living fully into my calling, fear sought to convince me that I would never amount to anything.
Fear even started meddling in other areas of my life, because if he was going to keep me down, he was going to have to hit me from all sides. His buddies discouragement and anger also came along for the ride. I guess fear was worried he couldn’t handle it on his own.
Why did fear go to so much trouble?
Because fear was afraid.
You see, that’s why the spirit of fear troubled me so much. Fear knew that if I persevered, if I trusted Christ and the call He put on my life, if I stepped out in trusting obedience to live out my calling every day, God would set me ablaze with passion and lives would be impacted for the Kingdom. A difference would be made through my life.
And that TERRIFIED fear.
Listen to me, friends. Fear is more afraid of you and the potential that exists within you because of the power of the Spirit of God in you than you are of it.
Let me say that again.
Fear is more afraid of you than you are of it.
He’s a fake….a phony.
Fear is a liar.
Fear is a deceiver.
Fear has no REAL power—only the power YOU give it.
Fear is persistent, yes. But it’s just because he’s so terribly freaked out at the thought of you taking God’s hand and living into your truest self, into the beautiful life God has created you to live. He knows that when you do that, he loses. The Kingdom of God will grow and flourish because of YOU.
If I could sit across from you right now and listen to you, I would. I would love to hear you voice where fear has sought to capture you and hold you hostage.
I would listen…and then I would ask you to tell me what makes you fully alive.
I would ask you to recount to me what you are most passionate about.
I would ask you to tell me what God means to you and what you believe He is calling you toward.
I would ask you to remember Who your God is.
I would ask you to tell me about the victories you’ve seen Him accomplish in your life.
I would ask you to tell me about something impossible you saw become possible because you trusted him.
I would ask you to connect again with the power and Spirit of the One who actually CAN accomplish within you what He speaks over your head and into your heart.
Just this month I joined an online group of fellow writers and speakers. This group is a place of encouragement, support, and training. I’m very new and I haven’t even begun to experience all that this group has to offer, but here’s what I have noticed so far in reading the stories of others in the group:
Fear has somehow made it’s scummy little way into almost everybody’s experiences. Fear has attempted to keep quiet, hold back, or squelch the giftedness, beauty and calling of just about everyone in that group!
And we should not be surprised by this.
These people are amazing and they have powerful stories and truth to share. This is why fear is so afraid, sweet friends. We are the workmanship of God. We are the Body of Christ. We have been graciously gifted through the Holy Spirit to be bearers of His Good News in our own unique ways. We are a force to be reckoned with!
And that makes fear want to curl up and die.
But since he is so stubborn and won’t do that, he chooses to try to make you want to curl up and die. Don’t let fear have his way with you.
I’ll close by giving you a little gift of song (don’t worry I’m not going to sing for you). I am a fan of Ben Rector, and one of my favorite songs of his is called “Fear.” Here are some of the lyrics for you, but seriously, go listen to this song. It will really lift you up.
I’ve been scared to death of failin’
Scared that I’d look like a fool
And I’d rather quit than risk that I would lose.
Now I’m not proud of that position, no.
But it’s the hand that I’ve been dealt
As far as I’m concerned that hand can go to hell.
He chased me down outside of Georgia
And I was sure that I was done
But something in me would not turn around and run
I heard the Lord in California
And I remembered who I was
And I learned to dance with the fear that I’d been runnin’ from.
(Ben Rector, “Fear,” from the Album Brand New)
Be strong and courageous, my friends.
When you’re strong, I’m strong.
When you dance, it makes me want to dance.
So let’s all agree to stop letting fear jerk us around, okay? Why don’t we choose to take the hand of our God, listen to the words that come from His sweet Spirit, and boldly and confidently step forward into all the beautiful possibilities that He has for us.