Monday, March 19, 2007

Facing Our Fears

"I did an unscientific survey and asked 150 women: 'Has life turned out the way you thought it would? Have you become the woman you wanted to be?' Every on of those 150 women said, "No, I am not the woman I wanted to become.'"

I can relate a lot to this quote by Angela Thomas, one of my favorite authors of non-fiction for Christian women. She goes on to say that usually it's fear or lack of confidence that is holding women back from being all that God wants them to be. And that they wish that they had not been afraid.

I've lived most of my life afraid. It started as a very young girl. In fact, I don't remember a time when I wasn't afraid. As a young girl, I was afraid my mother and step-father would get divorced. I was afraid that our house would catch on fire. I was afraid of my step-mother. I was afraid of children and teachers and being wrong and moving. But my fear of those things did not stop most of them from happening. My sweet mom's second marriage ended in divorce. My step-mother continued to mistreat me. My family moved many times. Our fears don't keep bad things from happening to us, they only prevent us from embracing true life, abundant life, life to the full (see John 15).

I heard someone say recently that being brave isn't about not being afraid. It's about being afraid, but going ahead and doing the hard thing anyway. What I am experiencing now: moving away from my family, friends, church home, the place I've known my entire life, and being in a foreign country is something that most people who know me would never think I would do. Because of my fears. But, yet, I am doing it. Why is that? Because my love for Jesus Christ compels me to embrace all that He has in mind for my life --a life to the full. You see, I am tired of living my life afraid. Of not embracing something because it might not work out as I planned. Or I might look silly. Or I might fail.

I don't think that David faced Goliath because he wanted to, or that he was brave in some super-human sort of way. I think that David chose courage because he too was compelled by his passionate love for Yahweh and His great name. When David heard what Goliath and the Philistines were saying about His God, a God who David knew quite personally, he took offense. And that offense gave David courage. In the same way, I need to become quite offended by fears that the enemy tries to put upon me. I need to remember that I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength (Phillipians 4:13).

And what I am coming to know is this: the more we face our fears, and do the hard thing that we think is impossible, the more courageous we become. Not because we think more of ourselves, but because we think more of our God. And all that He is doing through us. All because we got over our fears, embraced His plan, and lived our life as He willed. And that is life to the full.

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