For a lot of my life, I have let fear control me and my actions. Fear of looking stupid and fear of what others might think of me. Allowing myself to shrink down and be less of…. well me. Less of me and who God created me to be.
I recently had the privilege to teach the “Ready” lesson at Celebrate Recovery. Which by the way, always causes some fear and anxiety for me. More about that later… I had the lesson prepared and finished a couple of weeks in advance or at least I thought.
I was searching for videos of people who were scared to do a thing, anything. Anything really. Roller coasters, bungee jumping, and those slingshot videos that are always hilarious to watch. And while nothing really seemed to fit just right, there was a constant happening in the background of my mind and in my heart. All I kept hearing and feeling was to talk about fear… talk about your fear.
Confidence Must Be Rooted In Him
There was a time when I wasn’t as paralyzed by fear. I was heavily involved in martial arts and ran my own school for some time. I taught a student base of almost 300 at one time. Which is a lot of being out in front, leading by example, and I did it with confidence.
It was a false sense of confidence actually. There’s no doubt I was sure of myself, my skills as a martial artist, my ability to turn the light bulb on for challenging students, etc. But it wasn’t rooted in who God created me to be. It wasn’t rooted in Him, my belief in Him, or His promises. It was all ego and my flesh.
For a codependent people pleaser, it was great. False confidence and false humility. Now don’t get me wrong, I am not slamming martial arts instructors. This was how it was for me and what was going on in me.
When I failed at living up to other peoples opinions and life got hard, I turned to drugs and many other unhealthy habits. I isolated into a dark and lonely place and just numbed out any way I could. The consequences didn’t matter and I justified my actions every step of the way.
This was the beginning of letting fear really take over.
I saw it as easier to choose to be alone and isolate. Keep in mind this is while being married with kids. So, the utter neglect that has to happen in every area to make this work, which probably isn’t a great word to use, is vast. It didn’t work for anybody, least of all my family.
I think most of all because I was so far from a real relationship with God… just separated from Him. Completely closed off. I remember being in service at church and just weeping.
I can look back now and see God working in every moment during that time. Working to get at me and at my heart. Using sermons, the community, and my family to not just break down the walls that I had built up but pierce right through my hardened heart and all of my fears.
Nothing Changes Over Night
I am a very slow learner and I have been slow to obey Him. It wasn’t until I got into Celebrate Recovery that I really started addressing my root character defects. The more I surrendered to Him and this process the more God stripped away the things that held me back and weighed me down. Ultimately the things that diminished and hid who He created me to be.
Even after almost ten years of being in CR, it’s been a slow process. Somewhere in all of this I almost feel like this last year God has had enough of me being slow to listen and slow to obey. In the last seven months especially, He has been pushing me way out of my comfort zone and I have started to just get comfortable with being uncomfortable.
For the last month, I have been doing some studying and research about fear and what His word says about it. Did you know that it says “Fear Not” 366 times in the Bible? That’s not a suggestion, it’s a command. There are a couple of things I’d like to share that I found on the subject.
Powerful Statements on Fear from People Far Smarter than Me.
There is a story and/or quote that Corrie Ten Boom shares about fear. “Father sat down on the edge of the narrow bed. “Corrie,” he began gently, “when you and I go to Amsterdam-when do I give you your ticket?”
I sniffed a few times, considering this.
“Why, just before we get on the train.”
“Exactly. And our wise Father in heaven knows when we’re going to need things, too. Don’t run out ahead of Him, Corrie. When the time comes that some of us will have to die, you will look into your heart and find the strength you need-just in time.”
Lastly an excerpt from a lesson by Charles H. Spurgeon. “Many of God’s people are constantly under apprehensions of calamities which will never occur to them, and they suffer far more in merely dreading them than they would have to endure if they actually came upon them. In their imagination, there are rivers in their way, and they are anxious to know how they shall wade through them, or swim across them. There are no such rivers in existence, but they are agitated and distressed about them. An old proverb says, “Don’t cross the bridge till you come to it;” but these timid people are continually crossing bridges that only exist in their foolish fancies. They stab themselves with imaginary daggers, they starve themselves in imaginary famines and even bury themselves in imaginary graves.” You can find the whole article by clicking here. I encourage you to read it, it’s a great read.
Most all of the fears and worries we face or obsess about never happen. And when we are facing our giants, worry and fear do not and will not ever serve us or aide in overcoming those giants. Fear is a liar and causes me to shrink down and hide from who and what He intends for me and my life.
Take a Leap of Faith and Step Into What God Has For You
At the beginning of this year, a friend and mentor moved away. This was very challenging for me, more than I probably have ever let on or even realized at the time. Part of this because it led to me being asked to step into a role I didn’t feel equipped for or worthy of. I have felt His call on me to be in Ministry for years but have always rejected it for one reason or another.
Shortly after his move, God started showing me something else. Somebody else really. During the time, I didn’t think or know it was God. I second guess and overthink myself to death! So, I did nothing and just prayed. Prayed, waited, and said absolutely nothing to anybody. Looking back now I have zero doubts that God, again, was not only showing me what or who He wanted for me, But He was also going to keep showing me and pushing me in that direction. The more I leaned into Him, trusted what I was feeling AND started to actually get some wise Godly counsel… the more confident I was that my discernment was spot on. It took like five months BUT, I finally asked her out. And, she said yes.
Growth Happens On The Othe Side of Fear
So, I have gotten to experience some pretty amazing things these last several months. God has used this new role in Ministry to not only show me who He created me to be but He has really used these few lessons that I have taught to do a deeper work in me. He has also blessed me with an amazing woman to do life with. And I am experiencing a God-centered love that I haven’t ever experienced or thought possible. I have a gratitude for her and what He is doing in our relationship that is overwhelming and at times can bring me to tears.
I say again. Fear is a liar and FEAR will keep you from experiencing all of what God has for you and all He wants you to experience!