Tag Archives: fear

Learning to Leave Behind

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I want to say that I have left everything behind while I seek to share Jesus. The fact is, I haven’t.  It is a process.  Gideon, when God told him to tear down the idols, built by his very own father, was so afraid that he did it in the middle of the night.  Leaving behind old fears and patterns takes time.  Here are a few things Im learning to leave behind.

 

Perfection.  I want to be a perfect mom, perfect wife, perfect friend.  I can’t be.  Perfectionism does not make us available to be used by God.  It is through our weaknesses that God’s strength is shown.
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Speaking Out

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I did not think I could do it. Actually, in fact. I knew I could not do it. I absolutely abhor getting in front of people. As a child that was mainly homeschooled, lets just say I did not have much practice getting in front and speaking to others. In college, I distinctly remember my required Oral Interpretation class (memorizing monologues and performing them without notes). I lost my voice a few days leading up to my speech, and then bombed my monologue. It was so bad, my professor kindly asked me if I would like to perform it again another day. My thoughts? Absolutely not, thank you very much.

I talk about how I felt my voice taken from me here.  Writing has been a way to find my voice again. This blog has been a blessing to me in that this is a way I can give my voice to the world. It has not been as scary as I thought it would be. I still fear though, every time I hit the “publish” button. However, God has infused me with his courage. It is only through Him that I have found the courage to speak here.

I was asked to speak in front of our Women’s ministry at church. A lot of people would probably not be intimidated by this. I was. I knew God wanted me to speak the minute I was asked, as I had already contemplated taking a speech class because I wanted to get better at speaking about God. I was ready to start preaching to a couple of eighteen year olds if that is what it took. However, God had different plans, as He normally does. I was asked to speak in front of our women’s ministry-not a large group, but anything with a microphone and fifteen or twenty minutes  of speaking scares me senseless. My fear incapacitates me. My fear closes my mouth. My fear renders me useless. I become paralyzed.
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Listening to the Shepherd

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When I hear a scripture 2 or 3 times in a row within a week, I stop and listen.  I am learning that this usually means God is trying to tell me something.  John 10, the sheep and the shepherd have been on replay in my mind.  I have heard it in a sermon, on the radio, and in my morning devotional.  I wake up in the middle of the night to the scripture singing:
My sheep hear my voice and I know them, and they will follow me, and I will give them eternal life.

 

Jesus, If the sheep hear  you voice, why did I not listen to your voice for so long, even though you have been my shepherd for a very long time?
I don’t know the answer, but I do know this.  There are things that seem to drown out God’s  voice.  Busyness.  The millions of voices both good and bad.  Hearing what God is calling others to do, and focusing on that, instead of listening, really listening to what God is calling me to do.
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Set our Voices Free

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My voice was gone, like a puff of smoke. It vanished. I felt like I was screaming silently, unable to stand up for my self. I felt that my voice meant nothing, was nothing. And then, I sit in the chair and she asks “Where do you feel pain?” I answer, “Right here”, and I clutch my throat. She pauses and says,“That is interesting, because most people feel pain in their stomach, not in their voice”.

 

It will not be until years later that I feel that God has given me back my voice. It comes through small things, like writing a note to someone. It comes through speaking up in a group of peers. From being told that I do matter and that my opinion counts. Most importantly, my voice begins to be restored to me when I choose to believe that God can restore it. God did not take my voice away.  He is the Restorer, and he promises to restore all things.  I choose to believe Him instead of the lies of the enemy.

 

I started to believe God again when I started to believe that He personally wanted to speak to me through His Word . For the first time I truly let myself believe He was still alive and active in this world, that His words were not just meant as a rule book.  His words were living and breathing. When I started believing Him, I started feeling alive. I started speaking up. I stopped quieting the Spirit inside of me that urged me to talk and to give voice to my opinion. I could feel it welling up inside me, this desire to speak. I had to fight though, I had to fight every minute to speak. I had to force the words out, but my friends were kind and would listen. I shared my story and I wasn’t laughed at or judged.

 

I felt though, that I still had more to say. I had more to do in this world. I wanted to make a difference. I believed that God could give me back my voice, but still, I was scared and afraid.

 

I am still scared and afraid.   Quite frankly, I am not sure I will ever conquer my fear totally.   Every time I offer my words to the world, it is like I send a piece of my heart out to be rejected. It is scary. It is vulnerable. It sometimes seems easier but then it becomes daunting again. But I believe that God has given me a voice. I believe it, because he says He has chosen me and not rejected me.

 

I believe God has given everyone a voice, so I must choose to believe He has given me one too. I so desperately want others to know that they have a voice to be used too. That everyone’s voice matters. You have a voice, and that voice may be advocating to the poor in a country that I can’t reach, or for someone who can no longer speak for themselves. It is to speak for anyone and everyone whose voice has been silenced and they need you to speak up and speak out. It is to speak the truth that God lives and He loves you! You have a voice to speak the words of truth, that bring healing, hope and light to all of us that so desperately need it. I want so much for everyone to know that their voice matters.

 

The enemy comes to steal, kill, and destroy. But Jesus has come to give us a full life. The enemy wants to steal your voice. He wants to silence it. He wants you to believe that what you have to say does not matter. Do not believe him. Keep pressing on. Keep fighting, and do not stop fighting.  He will do anything and everything to stop your voice.

 

Never stop fighting. There are children out their who are suffering who need your voice to advocate for them. There are old souls that need protection because they cannot voice themselves. There are people who need to know that God loves them and can bind their wounded heart. Let your voice ring out. Let it not be silenced. This life is too short for our voices to be quieted. We need to share what God is teaching us. We have to use our voices to offer protection, comfort, and encouragement. We need voices that speak to the pain of abuse, and set it free.

 

I read this poem as a child. It has stayed with me for all of these years, in the back of my mind. My dream. Whether you use your voice at home, at school, in the office, at church, in the counselors chair, or with your pen, this is what we are all called to do:

 

Make me poet laureate…..
For those too weak to argue
For those who have no tongue
For those too old to matter
In a world which loves the young
 

Not for presidents and queens
Who are overwhelmed with choice
But for those whose mouths are stopped-
Those who can’t afford a voice.

 

Lord God, may we use our voices for the good and not for the bad, may we proclaim freedom for the poor and suffering, for those that are chained not only outwardly, but inwardly in the soul. God may you set our voices free to speak life. May we breathe you in and breathe out your words. Let our words be used for healing. May you set our voices free. Let us use them boldly in a world that needs hope.

In Jesus your name most precious,
Amen

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Bible Reference: Isaiah 61:1-4, John 10:10, Hebrews 4:12, I Thessalonians 1:8
Excerpts from Poet Laureate by Steve Turner

Thoughts on Bravery

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Bravely going on the waterslides

 

 

God loves small things.

 

He loves faith as small as a mustard seed.

 

God loves to multiply. When a boy had five loaves and two fish, Jesus turned that small offering into something that could feed over five thousan people.

 

There is a song that says “ A spark can start a fire.” As I was doing my quiet time a few days ago, I read the following in Jesus Today: “I will multiply your small act of bravery, I will strengthen your heart.” Bravery is about taking small steps. It is about going to your first Bible study, it is about telling someone the truth instead of continuing to lie to them, it is about eating alone when you have never eaten alone before. It is willing to take risks, a risk that you may fail or a risk that you may try something that you don’t like. King David took the small steps. He was brave when he was a shepherd, alone with his sheep. He defeated a lion and a bear that would have killed his flock. He was faithful with the smaller matter of being a shepherd. Because he took on the lion and the bear earlier in his life, he was later able to defeat Goliath when all the other Israelites continued to tremble in fear because of the giant. We have to defeat the small stuff and be brave with the small daily minutia before we can take on the larger Goliaths that we face in our lives. We need to be brave to….call a new person we just met, say hi to that lonely person in church, speak up in our book club instead of staying silent. We may need stop doing something that isn’t benefiting our spiritual, emotional or physical health and replace it with something life giving.
When we offer to God a small act of courage, he can multiply it into something much larger later in our life. He can strengthen us in the midst of our weakness and fear. Jim Cymbala says “God is attracted to weakness.” God may be attracted to weakness, but he constantly asks us to be courageous. Start small. Whatever feels overwhelming, whether it be eating more healthy, speaking in front of others, sharing your faith, getting to that organization project or art project, working on your marriage or anger management, start with the first tiny step. God will be with you every single step of the way. He will hold you by your right hand. Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.

 

 

Lord, please make us a people of bravery. Strengthen our weak hearts that want to run away from even the smaller things in life. Help us to have the courage to face each day, to face the daily tasks that we face in our families, in leadership and in our workplaces. Give us grace when we cannot take the small step and we cower in fear. I know all to well how hard it is to be brave. But you have called us to be brave for your Name. You have called us to keep trying when we think we can no longer try. Thank you for your love and mercy, thank you that you call us out of the darkness into your glorious light. I love you my Lord Jesus, Amen.

 

What area is God calling you to be brave?

 

Bible Reference: Joshua 1:9;Psalm 31:24 ;I Peter 2:9