Walking through the waves

So much of my life has been lived in fear.  Fear of the unknown, fear of looking dumb or being humiliated, fear of meeting new people, going new places or trying new things.  As a kid the new school year was frightening and my folks would remind me that everyone else is in the same boat.  While that may have been true, it didn’t help.  I was afraid to leave the comfort and security of home.  As I grew older new jobs scared me.  I would be physically ill on my way into work and have to stop along the way to empty the contents of my stomach.  Fear kept me from sleeping at night, from stepping out and trying new things.  It kept me from going or doing either what I wanted to do or needed to do.  Fear held me back from a great many things in my life and over the years I’ve learned that fear is powerful.

Fear isn’t all bad.  It tells me to run in the face of danger.  Fear protects me but it can also hold me captive.  I can be trapped by fear even when there is no danger present or when I allow my fear to grow into something greater than it should be.  Was there a real danger present at the beginning of each new school year or when I started each new job?  No, of course not, but because of what my mind was convinced of, my body reacted to, literally.  Yes, it’s true that when we’re convinced of something, like fear, our minds have the power to make us physically ill.  Consider Proverbs 23:7 which says, “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.”  I’ve given fear too much power.  My perception of a given situation can be entirely untrue and what’s more, I’m placing my trust in the wrong thing entirely – myself.  It’s time to shift my focus.

I don’t want to live in fear any longer.  I want to step into all that God has in store for me.  I want to go when God says “Go” and stop when he says “Stop”.  Isaiah 30:21 states, “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”  I want to speak when I hear his gentle voice urging me to talk with someone or pray boldly with a complete stranger. My heart’s desire is to move beyond the controlling confines of fear and step boldly into what God has in store for me.  In order for me to move beyond fear I must learn that ‘fearful’ is not who I am any longer.  Through Scripture I’m learning that God can set me free from fear.

There are two verses in Scripture I cling to.  The first is 2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.  The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” The second is 2 Timothy 1:7, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”  In order for me to step out of a fear-filled mindset I must step into something different.  For me, that something different happened when I was eight years old, the moment I accepted Christ as my Savior.  I’ve been a born again Christian for 42 years but only recently have I understood the power of Christ within me.  I’ve walked far too many years without knowing or understanding that I didn’t need to live in constant fear.  Too many years not understanding the transformative power of God’s Word (Hebrews 4:12).

I can’t claim to fully understand how Scripture works in me as I read it, but this I know: the more Scripture I read, the more peace I have.  The closer I walk with Jesus, the more I learn, the more I hide Scripture in my heart, the more peace I have.  I still have days when all I see are the waves and storms of life as they crash around me.  Still, I’m learning to keep my eyes on the One who calms my storms with the Word of His mouth.  Do I understand why things happen or for what purpose?  No, but I’m not meant to, because that’s what faith in Christ is all about.  It’s a simple childlike faith that believes and trusts, even when everything in me is screaming otherwise.  Fear is losing its grip on me as I grow in faith and trust in Jesus my Savior.

 

Sometimes it’s the little big things…

Sometimes it’s the little big things that keep you going…

Have you ever thought that?  Or had that happen?  Or are you wondering what I am talking about?

What I mean is that sometimes you run across a little thought, verse or encouragement and that is all you need to make a big impact on you and provide you with the push you need to keep going.

Social media (Pinterest or Facebook to name a couple) portray many clips and sayings – some that encourage, some that bring on the tears, and even some that invoke anger or another emotion.

But despite all the time I have spent scanning through Pinterest pins,  I have found that the Bible is the most encouraging, life-saving, true statements that promote life – and not only life – but a full life.  Did you know that?

There have been times when we wondered “did we do the right thing?” or “did we hear God correctly?”  Those questions would sometimes come during times of challenge.  And it has been a challenge to make the changes we have made.  But despite those challenges, the Lord is building a faith in us that I would never trade!

So what is a little big thing that keeps us going?  Well, it’s found in the Bible at Philippians 1:6 and it says:  “being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”

It’s a little sentence with big meaning:  “being CONFIDENT (to be fully and firmly convinced) of this, that He (Jesus) who BEGAN (started) a good work in you (fill in the blank here – ours is Biblical Counseling) will CARRY IT ON (continue it) to COMPLETION (until it is finished) until the day of Christ Jesus (the time of Christ’s return).

What the Lord has started, He will not leave unfinished.  There will be a beginning, a middle and an end.  So any challenges that we face as we go though this change in our lives, we do not need to wonder if God will see us though – because He will.

What challenges are you facing?  Seek the Lord, for He will see you though!

Trust In and Rely Confidently On…

Proverbs 3:5-6 (AMP) Trust in and rely confidently on the Lord with all your heart And do not rely on your own insight or understanding. 6In all your ways know and acknowledge and recognize Him, And He will make your paths straight and smooth [removing obstacles that block your way].

I love this passage.  We are commanded to trust in and rely confidently on the Lord.  When?  All the time.  Even when the storms of life swirl about us – we trust in Him.  Even when work hours have been cut – trust in him.  Trust and rely on Him when nothing makes sense.  We might not understand everything that’s going on right now and that’s okay because we’re not to rely on our own insight or our understanding.  We ARE to acknowledge and recognize Him – thank him for leading you through all the years of uncertainty and for being faithful and constant – He has not forgotten you and will not forget you.  The promise of this verse is that God will make your paths straight and smooth as you trust and rely confidently on Him and not your wisdom or understanding.

None of what you face today is a surprise to God.  Cry out to Him who is our mediator, who prays on our behalf – be confident in knowing that Holy Spirit prays for you with sighs and groanings too deep for words (Romans 8:26-27).  There is comfort in knowing that Holy Spirit cares deeply for us and prays continuously for our every need.  ~ Brad