Fear Less

   

 

Fear

 

**I pulled this post up from the archives and edited it a little, because it seemed the perfect thing to share. Tim and I are heading to India again, and just when I think I've battled down all the "what-ifs", one rears its head again. 

If my brain and time allows, I'll share more about our trip before we leave. Will you pray for this trip? Will you please pray for our children while we're gone? And pray that God overcomes mightily in this work. **

 

 

I stood up when he called my name because I knew it was a good time to die.

I didn't feel anything particular on my heart, nothing profound to share and no life-altering wisdom to add. I just knew that I needed to be stretched and uncomfortable and that the stage was the perfect place for this death.

My husband had asked me if there was anything I'd like to share with the brothers and sisters before he taught. I stood, the only American woman in the room, and choked out something about encouragement and prayers and a thank you.

And I didn't die. (Sorry for the drama.)

Sometimes I put myself in uncomfortable places. On purpose.

Other times, most of the time,  I hide in down comforters of self-protection and fear, because someone might laugh or I might trip over my tongue or forget everything I was going to say.

Or, I could just fail.  And that's almost like dying, isn't it?

Fear is a lying enemy when it keeps us from being uncomfortable. Fear is a chain and it's weight is heavy, making us slow to move when the Holy Spirit might be quickening us.

Fear is a comfortable enabler when it keeps us from doing what is scary-but-good.

There are moments when a pounding heart keeps us from speaking, when common sense keeps us from acting. Moments that pass and no one even knows we were cowards, but we know.

When John says that perfect love cast out fear (1 John 4:18), he means the  fear of judgement, of death and punishment. He doesn't mean that nothing will ever be scary for us - a safe life is not for the children of God.

There are other  moments, longer ones, where fear is defeated over days and months and the years can be tallied up to show you are overcoming. You win the battle over time with a long obedience when you defeat fear day-in-and-day out.

I understand the fear of man all to well. I overcome it sometimes, a momentary bout of fearing less rather than being fearless. When I choose to do it anyway, to do something inspite of fear instead of doing it because of fear, I think I get just a little bit stronger.

But more often than not I give in to fear. I stay safe and comfortable, and I know I don't thwart God's plans but maybe He saddens a little as He, once again, chooses someone else.

That saying, "God won't give you more than you can handle", that's not in the Bible.  If I'm only doing the things that I can handle, what a tiny life I'm living. What a bummer that God doesn't have room to be awesome in my safe-and-comfortable life.

If I'm never out-on-a-limb, clinging-for-dear-life, maybe-I'm-crazy scared, I probably don't need God all that much and I'm probably not going to see His mighty hand. Probably not going to need His rescuing or His refuge, because I've got this under control.

Those are all big thoughts for a woman who rarely leaves her home and who doesn't have much to say in real-life-spoken-words.

Old typewriter

I'm over my head everyday if I think about it, though.

I homeschool my four children and that's more than I can handle. I aim to disciple these four, knowing how I fail and how much I need discipling myself, and do I really think I can accomplish that on my own?

I introduce my introverted-and-selfish-self to new people because it's hard for me. And that might be easy to someone else, the natural and obvious thing to do. But to me it's huge and I need Him.

I say yes to things that freak me out, like prison evangelism and teaching women in another country. Like writing words that may be laughable or worthy of scorn and then hitting "publish" so the whole world can see them.

Sometimes the best remedy for fear is to say yes before you give yourself time to think about it.

And sometimes I attempt things that really are just my own ideas, my own desires apart from God. Sometimes fear really is your friend and might keep you from making a mistake, but failure is a good learning tool and it's o.k. to do dumb things from time to time. Really.

All my mistakes are up for redemption in His hands.

So what are you doing daily that requires God to show up? What are some big things you've committed to that scare you if you think too long about them?

Fear less. That's the victory.

 

Linking up with Grace Laced Mondays, The Mom Initiative, Soli Deo Gloria,Titus 2sdays,MercyInkThe Wellspring,Imperfect Prose, She Does Justice and  #TellHisStory

 

 

How I Know I'm Growing {Despite the Failures}

  Ethan overcomes the cattle guard   

I like steady and predictable.

Until I get bored, and then I want some excitement and shiny-newness.

It's the same with my spiritual life. I have steady forward movement, a little climb to the top, and then some crashing descents thrown in for - I don't know - humility? Variety?

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We're always trying to have dialog with our kids about discipleship and growth, and I'm inwardly assessing my failures and multiple shortcomings, my try-and-fail life and all the things I'm not, yet.

Can we point out the highs and disregard the lows?

 

January 2013 078

I'm still trying to be all the things I'm trying to teach, and I fight off the dreaded H word because I know what to do, I want to do it, but sometimes I just don't.

My husband was telling me about a job he looked at the other day. The couple wanted some remodeling done, a deck built, some holes patched.

There was a hole where a smoke alarm should have been. There was a hole in the bathroom door where the previous owners had shoved a fist through. There were holes in odd places from odd things and the oddest thing of all was that they were each covered by a picture of Jesus.

I don't know what to think of that. Someone covered up flaws and outbursts and mistakes with Jesus. I don't know whether to make a positive analogy of that or to pull out that H word, hypocrite,  and ask why they didn't fix the broken places? A little putty, some paint?

Had the holes just piled up so deep that they didn't know where to begin? Just hang a picture, a nice religious one, right over it and I'm sure no one will notice. 

I talk to my kids about how to be a disciple and that same sarcastic voice shows me holes. Impatience and covetousness and discontent and go ahead and just hang Jesus over that. You'll be fine.

It's the accusing voice that I recognize for its lies. It's accusing me of being victory-less and hopeless, self-condemning and who-are-you to think you could show Jesus?

I tell that liar that I'm looking for small victories now. Little mole hills of overcoming and baby steps of progression. I move away from his holey-voice and I know. I know I know I know that I'm victorious in Jesus.

Ethan overcomes the cattle guard 1

 

This refining life is slow and steady work, and while I'm all for slowness and I love His steadiness, this long-enduring walk is death to me at times. As it should be.

Looking for small victories helps me inch along. Here are a  few inches I've noticed:

  • I looked through an entire homeschool catalog and only marked 2 things that caught my grass-is-always-greener eye. Two things! And I eventually tossed the catalog in the recycling and ordered nothing. I guess that after 13 years of this I'm finally overcoming the need to try every new thing.
  • I took my daughters to the craft store and bought nothing. No. Thing. I spent 45 minutes looking at all the amazing-things-I-could-do and walked away just fine and content.
  • I refused dessert. Oh yes. That feat of all feats.

These were small,  overcoming-my-flesh type things.  I have bigger issues to get over, yes. But small victories surely strengthen us for the bigger ones to come, and I have to rejoice and build brick upon tiny brick, filling in the holes with Jesus and not just covering them.

Mommy fails. Jesus doesn't.

Sin is that irritating kid that comes along to knock down your tower, just because. Victory is building again, Right. In. His. Face.

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Linking up with The Better MomGrace Laced MondaysPlaydates with God, The Mom Initiative, Soli Deo Gloria, and Titus 2sdays.

When You Need a Walk Break

Peaceful winter One million things cry out for your attention today.

Another billion quietly lurk in the shadows, waiting for their opportunity to pounce, waiting for your resolve to lapse for just a moment.

And you already know this, but you will never meet everyone's needs once-and-for-all.  You will never truly finish your to-do list, never run out of errands, never get "enough" housework done,  and unless your family stops wearing clothes and eating food, you'll never completely be caught up.

At some point today you will have to throw in the proverbial towel (thus making more laundry) and go to bed, because what's left to be done will still be there in the morning.

Sorry.

It's true for everyone.  Moms, dads, singles, even our kids can feel the weight of work pushing down on their shoulders.

It's crazy and it blows my dreams right out of the American waters, but even retired people tell me that they are swamped.

There's no magic remedy for all the busy-ness.  You can read all the books and practice all the coping-techniques, but life is work and even our vacations can drain us.

All I can think of is Colossians 1:10 -

that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; - {Col 1:10 NKJV}

Walk worthy of the Lord. If life feels like a marathon, realize that lots of people take walk breaks.  There's no shame in slowing down, just keep walking.  Look for the aid station, have some water, and resolve to keep going, albeit slower than you'd like.  Grab some encouragement because there are others who are walking, too.

Walk worthy by slowing down enough to fight off discouragement and bad attitudes, by checking your motives and gaining perspective.

Fully pleasing Him. Which is just mind-blowing, and impossible without faith (Heb. 11:6). It's not our efforts, but His, that are pleasing to the Father. Not our to-do list or our spotless house or genius kids or exhausted service. We are already pleasing to Him if we are in Christ.

So chill.

Being fruitful in every good work. Like folding that laundry, reading that story, working that job, making that phone call. Every work you are called to today can be a good work if done for His glory. The work of a faithful servant is always glory to God.

Increasing in the knowledge of God. Because He's relational and He made us in that same way, and all of our knowledge counts-for-nothing if He's not the center of it.

I don't think that when Paul said he could "do all things through Christ who strengthens me", that he meant that he would do all things. Pretty sure he had to prioritize and delegate and let go of some things he would have liked to do, in order to do the things God was strengthening him for.

You and I are no different, and if we're going to walk worthy we also have to walk light, lighten our loads and let go of some things.

Like trying to be everything to everyone. 

Let your kids see today that you are one person, but Jesus is everything and everywhere for everyone.

 

Linking up with The Better MomGrace Laced MondaysPlaydates with God, The Mom Initiative, and Titus 2sdays.