Fear, adventure, unknown, let go, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, mentor, ministry, nonprofit

Into the Unknown: Letting Go of Fear and Embracing Adventure

Leaving the safety of what is known requires risk. Step out into the unknown. Here is what will be experienced in a life of adventure…



My husband and I had many adventures during the first several years of our marriage. There was the move to Atlanta, hang-gliding, backpacking in the Appalachians, backpacking in the Rockies, the move to Chicago, starting a coffee shop, and then having a baby. After that our adventures took on a different form. Still adventures, but a little closer to home.

So for my husband’s fortieth birthday this year, I felt an adventure was due. I took him to a high ropes course, complete with zip lines. What in the world was I thinking? This adventure-loving gal apparently does not like adventure high up! My husband was so patient with me as I shakily took each scary step a mile up in the sky (not really, but you get the point, and I’m awful at estimating distance).

There were five stations. At all times, throughout each station, we were attached to a cable with our safety harness. Each one began with climbing up a ladder that was just wooden rods on rope. This was the part I most hated, having to leave the safe comfortable ground below; the pulling of the safety cable thing-y climbing up, figuring out how to get off the ladder and onto the platform. And this is before ever facing an obstacle…

Leaving the safety of what is known requires risk. Step out into the unknown. Here is what will be experienced in a life of adventure... Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional | Christian Nonprofit #devotional #scripture #fear #adventure #unknown #LetGo

Into the Unknown

Then came the obstacles. Some were just walking across boards that were spaced out. Sometimes the boards were not fixed and would swing. There were cargo nets, tight rope walking, and tree-hugging. The craziest obstacle was the Tarzan swing. After hooking my safety harness safely into a super safe rope, I stepped off the platform into… nothingness. There was NOTHING below me. We were told to bounce once against the net, then grab onto it once we swung back. On the first bounce, the net grabbed my shoe! It was hanging on only by my toes. Frantically, I used my other foot to push it back on and was able to grab on as I swung back.

I was screaming like a banshee when I stepped off that platform (never in my life has someone referred to me as quiet). After completing that obstacle, my husband reveals to me that the Tarzan swing was the difficult option, and I actually could have skipped it. I acted like I was mad, but I wasn’t.

The final obstacle had two additional ladders to climb, taking us even further from the safety of the ground. Each station ended with a zip line. But of course, the biggest zip line was last. There was a reason I needed to climb up those two additional ladders. I needed to be higher so I could go further, faster.

The Adventure

All of our lives are full of adventure, of stepping out into the unknown. Perhaps it is moving, or going to school – again, becoming a missionary, having a baby, writing a book, facing a health crisis, or opening up your heart and home to new friends.

The pull…

When we are leaving the comfort and safety of the known (even if it is a situation we don’t like), we feel the pull on us to return to safety. Those first decisions can weigh us down with anticipation, dread, fear, or waiting.

Unsure…

Then we arrive at the place where we need to take a step. Our footing is unsure. We are shaky, and beginning to question our decisions. It seems too big, too overwhelming.

Trust…

There will come a point when we will begin to trust, not our footing, but the One who holds us. We will end up slipping, falling, feeling that we are about to meet our demise, but knowing that we are held safe.

Risks…

Because of the trust being built, we begin to take greater risks. We know that it is not our strength that makes what we are doing possible. It is His strength, and we can have exuberant joy as we trust in it.

Un-expectations…

We will be able to readjust as unexpected circumstances arise. We gain a new perspective, and do not worry about doing everything the “right way.”

Pressing on…

But just because we have already left the safety of the known, does not mean that we won’t continue to fight the pull to go back. The pull is not as great, and it is honestly too late to back out anyway, so we continue to press on.

Perspective…

After pressing on we gain a different perspective. Sure, we are more exposed, more vulnerable, but the view is worth it. And so is the feeling of letting go and having the wind rush against us. We know we need to go higher so we can go further, faster.

Go…

We also know to not get too comfortable, because there is always more life to explore. After all, we are not called to arrive. We are called to go.

Stepping Out

What adventures are you having? Where are you on this never-ending cycle of adventure? I leave us now with this confirmation, this promise…

I have chosen you and have not rejected you.
So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Isaiah 41:9-10, NIV
We are not to get too comfortable, because there is always more life to explore. After all, we are not called to arrive. We are called to go. Click To Tweet

Leaving the safety of what is known requires risk. Step out into the unknown. Here is what will be experienced in a life of adventure... Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional | Christian Nonprofit #devotional #scripture #fear #adventure #unknown #LetGo

unsplash-logoCasey Horner
fear, influence, Holy Spirit, impact, God’s guidance, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, mentor, ministry, nonprofit

Impact with Fear: Preparing to Influence Others for the Kingdom

We are called to positively influence everyone we come into contact with for God’s Kingdom. Preparing to act even through fear comes only through the guidance of the Holy Spirit. We can impact with fear.



Some of my favorite time spent with my husband is late at night, snuggling under the covers, having meaningful conversation. Recently during one of our pillow talks the Lord convicted me when we were in the middle of a conversation about a friend who doesn’t know Jesus.

We are called to positively influence everyone. We need to be prepared for this and know how to act even through fear. We can impact with fear. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional | Christian Nonprofit #devotional #scripture #fear #GodsGuidance #guidance #HolySpirit #impact #influence

Stewardship

I’m a believer in being a good steward of the things the Lord gives us. Just as I believe in being a good steward of our home and our finances, I believe that the people in our lives are there strategically. We are called to be good stewards to them. How many days go by where we hardly think anything of that?

Both hands raised, I’ll be the first to admit that I’m guilty of overlooking people placements and just focus on me and my day. But actually, every lunch appointment, every barista, every stranger that we pass in the post office, every neighbor, all of those people are strategically in our path for that day.

Hear me: I’m not saying we should walk around stopping every stranger. I’m simply suggesting we consider this question: what would happen if we learned to be more sensitive to the guiding of the Holy Spirit? Movements? Maybe even miracles?

In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.

Proverbs 16:9, NIV
People in our lives are there strategically. We are called to be good stewards to them. Click To Tweet

Great Commission

“Go, therefore and make disciples of all nations” Matthew 28:19. This is the Great Commission, it’s a command to us from the Lord. So why are we so stagnant in this regard? Why do we mosey around like we’ve got all the time in the world? We don’t. Job 14:5 says our days are numbered, Friend.

I listened to this speaker once who gave the most perfect visual of earth versus eternity. In his talk he had a rope. The first five inches or so were red. The rest of the rope, which seemed like miles long, was white. He said that the red part of the rope represented our time spent on earth and the white part of the rope represented the time we spend in eternity. His emphasis was on sharing Jesus because we are not given much time here on earth.

It created an urgency for me. It put things into perspective. The things I claimed to be important, couldn’t compare to the importance of this: Souls. Hearts. Eternity. We, as Christians, are to be salt and light. So what are we waiting for?

Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.

Hebrews 12:1-2, NIV

Impact with Fear

As our pillow talk conversation got a little deeper, I shared with my husband that I haven’t always been able to freely talk to people about the Lord. Until about the age of seventeen, I was incredibly shy. Over the years boldness developed. That boldness came from encountering the Lord, growing my confidence in Him.

It used to be, if I came across someone with a different belief or someone who didn’t have a personal relationship with God, I just didn’t talk about Him. I know that it’s not all in the talking. But I realized the reason I didn’t talk was because of fear.

Fear is paralyzing. I was afraid of what other people would think of me. Afraid that they would be mean to me because I believed differently than them. And the worst, I was afraid that they would ask a hard question about Jesus that I wouldn’t be able to answer.

Well friends, the truth is… none of us have all the answers. I had to learn to trust the guidance of the Holy Spirit and just share what He has done in my life. And what the Lord has done in my life is far too great for me to stay silent about it. I have also learned that it is more about loving someone well instead of “convincing” them into Christianity. Love will take you farther than persuasion ever will. We can love even though we are afraid; we can impact with fear.

Holy Spirit Guidance

I encourage you, the next time you are around that table with your family, on that bike ride with your friend, bumping into that neighbor while at your mailbox, or grabbing that coffee from the barista, lean into the Holy Spirit and trust His guidance.

When you don’t know what to say or have no response to a “God question”, silently ask Him to give you the words. Trust that He will give them to you. Let Him work through your vulnerability and be willing to be bold. Let Him guide you to impact with fear. After all, you may just experience something pretty amazing.

So let us keep on coming boldly to the throne of grace, so that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

Hebrews 4:16, ISV

We are called to positively influence everyone. We need to be prepared for this and know how to act even through fear. We can impact with fear. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional | Christian Nonprofit #devotional #scripture #fear #GodsGuidance #guidance #HolySpirit #impact #influence

unsplash-logoAnnie Spratt
fear, vulnerable, vulnerability, let go, God’s guidance, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, mentor, ministry, nonprofit

Let Go of Fear: Vulnerability Allows God’s Guidance

Fear is the enemy and the answer is becoming vulnerable. That seems crazy, yet God calls us to be a little crazy. Let go of fear and embrace God’s guidance. 



“I don’t know.”

Why do these three little words cause such fear and anxiety in us? I hate saying these words. They make me feel weak, vulnerable and most of all like a failure.

Fear is the enemy and the answer is becoming vulnerable. That seems crazy, yet God calls us to be a little crazy. Let go of fear and embrace God's guidance. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional | Christian Nonprofit #devotional #scripture #fear #GodsGuidance #LetGo #vulnerability #vulnerable

It’s Okay to Struggle

As I’m writing this I’m listening to my son try to work through a hard coding problem and he is really struggling. He has worked on this problem for at least four hours. I keep hearing things like: What do you mean? Ohhh now I get it! Why won’t this thing work? Can’t you just…

But here is what I am learning by watching him struggle – he keeps struggling. Eventually, he will get it, because he doesn’t give up. As a young kid, I don’t know doesn’t fill him with fear. He is okay not knowing the answers. He accepts that as a child, as a student, he is learning. I don’t hear I don’t know followed by silence. He quickly follows up with a question, a wondering, or a workaround.

Isn’t that what God is calling us to – to be like children? He wants us to realize we don’t know it all. To ask Him for help, wonder and search for the answers in His name, and call on Him to be our guide.

Whoever then humbles himself like this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes a child like this in my name welcomes me […] Woe to the world because of stumbling blocks! It is necessary that stumbling blocks come, but woe to the person through whom they come.

Matthew 18:4-5,7 NET

Let Go of Fear

We can’t fear I don’t know. Vulnerability is not easy but we must embrace it and let God lead us. Sometimes the path to the answer is long and difficult, full of those stumbling blocks. Sometimes the struggle is the answer. That can feel difficult and leave you wondering if it was worthwhile. I find myself struggling with many uncertainties in times like this. The fear and vulnerabilities of I don’t know often creep in.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, we must get rid of every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and run with endurance the race set out for us.

Hebrews 12:1, NET

This verse is the answer to my feelings. Feelings of not wanting to say those dreaded words. Cling to those who are steadfast in God’s corner. Let them be my touchstones and have faith in the journey. It’s not a sprint. Ask questions, be vulnerable, admit when you are unsure. Don’t be a stumbling block for others, but be a witness to God’s endurance.

Be Vulnerable

A friend and I were talking recently and sharing some hard-fought truths. What struck me most was that despite being hurt and broken at times in her life, she was not bound to that in her faith. Her faith is strong and supersedes any hardships life has given her. I read a quote recently in Tim Tebow’s book Shaken: “God will never waste pain that’s offered to Him.”

But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

2 Corinthians 12:9, NIV

My friend has such a child-like spirit and asks a million questions. She is always searching for God’s answer, His will. Truly, she is a beautiful example of running the race with endurance and grace. Being vulnerable is her gift and she shares it to God’s glory. I want to be more like that.

Get to Work

Admitting our limitations gives God room to work. He is the one that makes all things possible. But I am such a sinner. I need to be vulnerable. I need to find the edge of my possibilities so that I can stop relying on myself and trust in my Creator.

Wow, that is a powerful lesson I feel God working to teach me in this season of my life. Trust in God, be vulnerable, and put fear aside.

So I am in a battle of wills over this, right now. I know in my heart that this is right and good. It is God’s will. My head keeps getting in the way though. I hold on to fear: not knowing the answers, letting God lead my life, trusting in a future that sometimes seems murky.

Admitting our limitations gives God room to work. He is the one that makes all things possible. We need to be vulnerable. To find the edge of our possibilities and fully trust in our Creator. Click To Tweet

Vulnerable Prayer

But every day I am walking upright. Praying this prayer:

Dear God,

Help me loosen the fist of fear that lives inside of me. I am so weak and can’t do it. You have to do it for me. Let me, let You be strong for me. I know that You are my answer. I feel that truth in my heart. Quiet the doubt that creeps into my head. Thank you for the encouragement you place in front of me. Thank you for not abandoning me when I waiver. You are my rock and foundation.

love,

me

If you are on the journey to vulnerability with me, bless you. It is hard. But have faith in our Creator. And remember His promise:

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

Romans 8:28, KJV

Fear is the enemy and the answer is becoming vulnerable. That seems crazy, yet God calls us to be a little crazy. Let go of fear and embrace God's guidance. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional | Christian Nonprofit #devotional #scripture #fear #GodsGuidance #LetGo #vulnerability #vulnerable

unsplash-logoAnnie Spratt
fear, envy, compassion, comparison, isolation, love, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, mentor, ministry, nonprofit

Love Defeats Fear: Replacing Envy with Compassion

As we listen to the lies inside, the wedge of fear begins to grow, leading to anger, self-pity, and envy. And that fear can destroy love. But love defeats fear.



I have a confession. Sometimes I feel jealous. Of my husband. His life just seems so glorious to me.

What I see is that he gets up, goes to the gym, goes to work, and gets to go on business trips. In my mind, this translates as he gets up and gets ready without children hanging on him, gets to do what he wants to do without dragging children with him, goes to a place with other adults where he is respected and valued. When he travels (which has been happening more often) he gets to go out to eat at restaurants and sleep alone without being woken up.

In his mind, he has to get up super early, not getting enough sleep, so that he can stay healthy, has to go and talk with adults who act like children, and when he travels he has to be away from his family, eating unhealthy food and not able to sleep in a strange bed.

As we listen to lies inside, the wedge of fear begins to grow, leading to anger, self-pity, and envy. And that fear can destroy love. But love defeats fear. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional | Christian Nonprofit #devotional #scripture #fear #comparison #envy #love #compassion #jealousy

Revelations

It’s easy for me to play the martyr. I can easily feel sorry for myself, thinking that I alone bear the burden. What I am craving is appreciation. I want to feel valued. I want to feel loved. And it is easy for this to lead to a division in my marriage because I am only focusing on myself.

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast;

1 Corinthians 13:4, ESV

Instead of throwing another fit, I decided to talk about this need with him. Then a revelation hit me: we were both throwing our own pity parties. We were both playing as we had it “worse” than the other. And that’s when we decided to stop complaining. We stopped trying to make ourselves look “better”. Instead, we began to focus on how much the other one was juggling.

Isolation

Feeling envious occurs when we are fearful and insecure, which in turn leads to building up our defensiveness. We are trying to protect ourselves, but in doing so we end up in isolation. People need people. Strange things happen when we are isolated. In isolation, we to listen to lies being whispered in our heads.

At a recent Gathering, a lady mentioned that we know they are lies if they begin with “I”. I think there is truth in this. Also, we can pinpoint the lie when they are in absolutes like never, always, only, etc.

I am the only one who does anything.”

I am the only one who feels this way.”

I never get to have time away.”

I am always the one stuck doing this.”

Love Defeats Fear

As we listen to the lies, the wedge of fear begins to grow, leading to anger, self-pity, and envy. And that fear can destroy love. But love defeats fear.

Hallelujah! Love defeats fear.

Here’s a dose of truth for you: Your Heavenly Father loves you. You are loved. You may not feel like it, but that doesn’t mean it’s not true. And the best way to feel loved is to show love.

Be patient with others, showing kindness. Stop talking about yourself, and listen to them. Do what other people want to do, and enjoy it. Don’t be happy when others mess up. Put up with the annoying things they do, appreciating the good. And never, ever stop doing these things. (Adapted from 1 Corinthians 13:4-7)

As we listen to the lies, the wedge of fear begins to grow, leading to anger, self-pity, and envy. And that fear can destroy love. But love defeats fear. Click To Tweet

Compassion

Now when my husband is out of town, I show compassion for what he is having to deal with rather than complaining that I am home with the kids. And you know, my attitude about being home with the kids has changed. Now, I try to make it something fun, doing things that we normally wouldn’t do. (But I absolutely still look forward to him coming home!)

As we listen to lies inside, the wedge of fear begins to grow, leading to anger, self-pity, and envy. And that fear can destroy love. But love defeats fear. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional | Christian Nonprofit #devotional #scripture #fear #comparison #envy #love #compassion #jealousy

unsplash-logoAnnie Spratt
fear, faith, trust, mystery, faithful, unknown, safety, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, mentor, ministry, nonprofit

Walking in Mystery: The Holiness and Fear in Not Knowing

Walking in mystery can feel very much like stepping off the abyss. Yet, if we choose a life without mystery, we’ve chosen not to see beyond the surface of God, ourselves, or others.



The lack of mystery in our modern life is our downfall and our poverty. A human life is worth as much as the respect it holds for the mystery. We retain the child in us to the extent that we honor the mystery. Therefore, children have open, wide-awake eyes, because they know that they are surrounded by the mystery.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, God is in The Manger, Reflections on Advent and Christmas

Walking in mystery can feel very much like stepping off the abyss. If we choose a life without mystery, we've chosen not to see beyond the surface of God. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional | Christian Nonprofit #devotional #scripture #fear #faith #trust #faithful #mystery #safety #unknown

Literature

I love to read novels. All the major bookstores have long discovered that Dodie Smith is a sucker for books. They send me ads and coupons accordingly. Some of my fondest childhood memories are of my mother taking my brother and me to the library.

She also loved to read. She loved it enough to walk long city blocks with two young children to and from the local library so that we, too, would have the opportunity to enter the adventurous, mysterious world of books.

In the past, I read mostly literature and women’s literature, but for some reason, I’m tired of those. Many became too politically correct for me, I think. For several years now, I can lose myself for hours in a murder mystery.

Like my dad before me, I usually wait to read until an hour or so before bed; otherwise, I would never accomplish anything else! The nuances of discovering ‘who done it’ usually captures my mind rather quickly. If the plot moves too slowly or the main character isn’t likable, I move on to another book. Life is too short to stick with a boring book!

Mystery

Mystery. I often wonder why we lose the awe and wonder of childhood. At what point in life do we begin to feel the need to explain – or have explained to us – every, single detail of our existence? When did we decide that we wanted to be lord of our own lives…and over everything and have it all at our disposal, (Bonhoeffer).

I mean, that’s what it means, doesn’t it? The incessant, gnawing, obsessive need to know and understand everything…isn’t that a desire to be lord? To deny the presence of any mystery in our lives?

Yet, our God is and has always been, a God of mystery.

But there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries, and He has made known to King Nebuchadnezzar what will be in the latter days. Your dream and the visions of your head as you lay in bed are these:

Daniel 2:28, ESV

»«

Can you fathom the mysteries of God?
Can you probe the limits of the Almighty?

Job 11:7 NIV

»«

Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.

Ephesians 5:31-32, ESV

Misty Fog

In Bible days, it was unfathomable to live without certainty. The people of God were surrounded by this God who spoke from a cloud of glory or from the mouth of a donkey and raised people from the dead. But they never expected to understand it; the mystery was hidden from them. They were not given eyes to see…as we have been.

In reading this, then, you will be able to understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, which was not made known to people in other generations as it has now been revealed by the Spirit of God’s holy apostles and prophets.

Ephesians 3:4-5, NIV (emphasis added)

»«

Now to Him who is able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery kept secret since the world began

Romans 16:25, NKJV (emphasis added)

Yet, Jesus came on the scene and told His disciples:

…Because it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven…

Matthew 13:11, NKJV

God, through His Son and His Holy Spirit, graciously…magnanimously opened our blinded eyes and allowed us to see through the mist, the fog, the cloud and behold His mystery!

I have become its servant by the commission God gave me to present to you the word of God in its fullness – the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the Lord’s people. To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.

Colossians 1:25-27, NIV

Walking in Mystery

Hallelujah!

On one hand, mystery has been revealed to us – the mystery of the gospel, the greatest mystery of all. On the other hand, each day God invites us to walk in mystery with Him, in faithful not-knowing, resting securely within the secret place of the Most High. However, He never forces our hand into His.

Walking in mystery can feel very much like stepping off the abyss…every day – during some seasons of life. Yet, if we choose a life without mystery, we’ve chosen not to see beyond the surface of God, ourselves, or others. In some situations, it can feel more comfortable or expedient. In reality, despite what we profess, we’re expressing that we prefer a calculated life, and perhaps a god we can tame or even control.

I’d never call Him a tame God, but the God of mystery is always, always safe.

Walking in mystery can feel very much like stepping off the abyss. If we choose a life without mystery, we've chosen not to see beyond the surface of God, ourselves, or others. Click To Tweet

Walking in mystery can feel very much like stepping off the abyss. If we choose a life without mystery, we've chosen not to see beyond the surface of God. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional | Christian Nonprofit #devotional #scripture #fear #faith #trust #faithful #mystery #safety #unknown

unsplash-logoEvie S.
fear, faith, trust, anxiety, fear not, hope, overwhelmed, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, mentor, ministry, nonprofit

Fear Not: God’s Power and Love Frees Us to Lament

Fixating on heartache invites anxiety. But God commands us to fear not. Understanding His power and love frees us to lament in hope.



Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

Psalm 23:4, ESV

A great deal of life seems to play out in the valley of the shadow of death. As a matter of fact, I am currently in a season of darkness. Why not throw in the towel? How can I continue to take joy in the God of my salvation, when following Him places me on the front lines of battle?

Hope, for one; but not as an afterthought. Because flippantly telling someone to have hope in the midst of a trial is like telling an exasperated man “patience is a virtue.” Yes, thank you; I am aware…

Fixating on heartache invites anxiety. But God commands us to fear not. Understanding His power and love frees us to lament in hope. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional | Christian Nonprofit #devotional #scripture #fear #faith #trust #overwhelmed #FearNot #hope #anxiety

Fear not…

It would be easy to fixate on my current heartache, but that gives birth to anxiety. However, God’s word has a lot to say in response to fear. Over and over in Scripture, we are told to fear not. But it isn’t dismissive in nature like, why can’t you keep it together? I’m God, remember? No; He commands: fear not, and then tells us why we don’t have to be afraid.

FEAR NOT:

  • I am with you
  • I am the One who helps you
  • I have redeemed you
  • I am your shield
  • I hear you
  • I am working righteousness in you
  • I fight for you
  • I go with you into battle to give you victory
  • I am with you wherever you go
  • I give victory
  • Stand firm and see the salvation of the Lord

Lament…

Notwithstanding, neither can I ignore or control the incapacitating sorrow weighing down my soul. I must lament. Because the act of lamenting faces me toward God. While in His presence I am able to share honestly all that grieves and worries me.

Within His capable arms, I can say: This is too much! I feel overwhelmed! Remind me of your faithfulness. Open my eyes to see where You are working this for Your glory and our good. Fight for us! Protect us. Help me to stand firm on Your promises.

When we act like we can handle our suffering on our own, we commit idolatry — acting like we are God, capable in ourselves. Lamenting is relearning our humanity. Lamenting is admitting that we can’t handle it, knowing we need God’s power, mercy, and grace. If we could handle our sufferings, we wouldn’t need Jesus, his cross, his power, and his resurrection. Lamenting is how we grieve as those who have hope.

J.A. Medders, Redeemer Church Tomball, TX
Neither can I ignore or control the incapacitating sorrow weighing down my soul. I must lament. Because the act of lamenting faces me toward God. Click To Tweet

Limitless…

Relearning my humanity leads to understanding my limits. Finally, it is there I remember I belong to a limitless God. Furthermore, I can only dream of what God has prepared for the future. But even now, in His mercy, I am seeing collateral blessings rise up out of this dark valley. So I find as I rely on our limitless God, hope is catching like wildfire…

Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort…For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead. He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again.

2 Corinthians 1:7-10, ESV

Fixating on heartache invites anxiety. But God commands us to fear not. Understanding His power and love frees us to lament in hope. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional | Christian Nonprofit #devotional #scripture #fear #faith #trust #overwhelmed #FearNot #hope #anxiety

unsplash-logoAdrien Olichon
fear, faith, trust, fearless, freedom, risks, uncomfortable, living boldly, God’s promises, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, mentor, ministry, nonprofit

Taking Risks: Christ’s Freedom Allows Us to Live Fearlessly

Taking risks is scary, but in order to live a bold life, taking risks is often necessary. Thankfully we have the freedom to take risks, and this is why…



My daughter’s recent birthday inspired lessons on fearlessness…

Taking risks is scary, but in order to live a bold life, taking risks is often necessary. Thankfully we have the freedom to take risks, and this is why... Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional | Christian Nonprofit #devotional #scripture #fear #faith #trust #fearless #freedom #risks #uncomfortable #bold

My Girl

Y’all, let me tell you about my little girl. She is absolutely the brightest part of my day. I am crazy about my boys, but I am gushy with her! The moment I go to get her up in the morning, she is beaming with joy. When she comes down the steps, she greets everyone with “g’mornin’!” Wherever we go she says “hello” to anyone and everyone we pass, and waves her farewells when we leave. She spreads joy like it’s jam.

She also will have a meltdown when I take the spoon that she was handing me. She knows she needs help, but desperately wants to do it on her own. She has begun to refuse to hold my hand on the sidewalk and goes noodle limp when I make her hold my hand in the parking lot. She’s the only child of mine who has been in trouble for hitting another kid in childcare at the YMCA.

At 8 months old, army crawling around the house, she would smile at me while she did something she knew she shouldn’t. She still does this, and it drives me bonkers. She will yell at her brothers if they are touching something that she has determined should be hers. Heck, she yells at me if I have my hands on the shopping cart where she doesn’t want them.

Taking Risks

She is also fearless. She is the one who will try to climb out on the roof. She is the reason I’m feeling nervous that there is a second-floor balcony over our foyer. She is why I cannot relax at the pool. She knows how to get out of the puddle jumper, and she will jump right into the pool. Lord help me.

I even dunked her underwater in hopes that it would discourage her from going in alone. Did it work? Nope, she thought it was fun! When we were at the beach, she dove face-first into the waves. Only because she didn’t care for the saltwater, did she not try that again.

As much as her boldness and strong-will tire me out, I love it. I want to live with that kind of fearlessness, just without so many melt-downs.

The Freedom

In my attempts to “warn” my daughter about the water, I think I actually emboldened her. By dipping her under the water, and bringing her up, she knows that she can trust me. By letting her dive face-first into the ocean surf, and then scooping her up, she knows that she can try new things (even if she doesn’t want to do it again).

I could have kept her away from the water, but I wanted her to experience it within my grasp. I was ready to “rescue” her, anticipating the dive. I want her to live fully, and be willing to take risks.

Boldly Living

This is how we can live boldly in life. Trusting that the Lord will pick us up when we fall. He doesn’t keep us from falling. Then we would never learn how to swim. We are free to take risks because we can trust that when we fall, we will be met with compassion, and a deeper intimacy in knowing who the Lord is, and who we are.

One of my favorite songs to run to is “You Can’t Stop Me” by Andy Mineo. Yes, I run to rap. Yes, I rap out loud with my hands in the air. And yes, I’m a scrawny little white girl. Anyways… there is a line where he says, “My God is good, He is not safe.” This is how I want to live. Not safely, but boldly. I’ve experienced a deeper life with the Lord by taking risks. Yes, it is uncomfortable, but I am not willing to trade it for safety.

I want to dive face-first into the ocean.

We are free to take risks because we can trust that when we fall, we will be met with compassion, and a deeper intimacy in knowing who the Lord is, and who we are. Click To Tweet

From the Editor…

Republishing Rachael’s words sparked some inspiration to dive into God’s Word. As I searched and read on living boldly, Ephesians 3:11-12 stood out to me…

This was his eternal plan, which he carried out through Christ Jesus our Lord. Because of Christ and our faith in him, we can now come boldly and confidently into God’s presence.

Ephesians 3:11-12, NLT

Isn’t this the boldest action we take? Allowing Christ to save us, accepting His sacrifice, professing Christ as King, and surrendering our lives at the throne of God. This gift of salvation is the biggest, safest risk we take in this life. We are bold because HE is bold.

Taking risks is scary, but in order to live a bold life, taking risks is often necessary. Thankfully we have the freedom to take risks, and this is why... Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional | Christian Nonprofit #devotional #scripture #fear #faith #trust #fearless #freedom #risks #uncomfortable #bold

unsplash-logoMaksim Shutov
fear, faith, trust, oath, preparation, prepared, God’s promises, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, mentor, ministry, nonprofit

Faith Over Preparation: Can Preparation Get in the Way of Trusting God?

Preparation is not a wrong value, but it is when I put it over faith. God has made an oath to His children and He can be trusted. We can have faith beyond our preparation.



Preparation is something I value. But with 4 kids, it can be fleeting. I mean as in impossible

Preparation is not a wrong value, but it is when I put it over faith. God has made an oath to His children and He can be trusted. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional | Christian Nonprofit #devotional #scripture #fear #faith #oath #preparation #trust #promise

Distanced Rally

It was 6:30 in the morning. My daughter was texting me that her load of clothes for school had just come out of the dryer with ink all over them.

“Ruined,” she said. “What can I do?” she asked.

“Is your Dad dead?” I asked.

Silence. 30 minutes later she calls…

“You didn’t order my lunch.”

The lunch she has to order because she is at a charter school that only buys enough food for what is ordered and paid for. Yikes. She is realizing this as she and my husband are walking out the door.

Did I mention I am 10 hours away? I’m about to move her brother out of the hospital, into a Ronald McDonald house to stay for 2 months and I am beyond scared. So, what do I do? I panic, and panic for me looks like a ‘rally the troops’ situation. In an effort to fix the problem, I message, Facebook, and text everybody I know in the county. It’s full-blown attack mode. Solve the problem. Find a solution. Plug somebody into the problem. I can’t figure this out.

Preparation’s Oath

Then I get it. I wanted this problem off my radar because the problem with my son was really demanding my attention. But, if I am honest, this whole situation was really revealing a bigger problem. Could I trust God with even this?

See, my husband and I are really good together. He does a lot of stuff and I do a lot of stuff. I can, however, kind of try to overcompensate. Ok, take over. It starts small and before I know it, I just do it all. He doesn’t ask me to. He doesn’t expect me to. It’s really a subtle irony. Rodney is maybe the easiest-to-please-person I know.

But, I’m not. I want to feel productive, prepared, together. I like knowing I took care of things…10 hours away. I couldn’t take care of things. The fear ruling my heart: Would I be able to replace the clothes if they were ruined? Budget is tight. Things are scarce. God had already had people step up and buy these school clothes once. What was I going to do? Trust that if she needed more clothes that He was and is big enough to supply them again.

God’s Oath

As long as I am responsible for the clothes, or my son’s health for that matter, I will be racked with fear. Fear is not a happy place to be. It says it’s up to me. But thankfully the cross says a different story! God’s oath to us:

So God has given both his promise and his oath. These two things are unchangeable because it is impossible for God to lie. Therefore, we who have fled to him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us. 19 This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into God’s inner sanctuary.

Hebrews 6:18-19, NLT

Jesus tore the veil that stood between God and myself, so I could trust in something greater than the Law. The law, which says I have to measure up and be good enough.

Faith over Preparation

Any time I think that I am about to look less than good enough, I have to remember Who is better than and not just good enough. I think this is summed up beautifully in the hymn “A Mighty Fortress is Our God”:

And though this world, with devils filled
Should threaten to undo us
We will not fear, for God hath willed
His truth to triumph through us
The Prince of Darkness grim
We tremble not for him
His rage we can endure
For lo his doom is sure
One little word shall fell him.

I know for me, confidence in 3 words is beyond enough. Jesus uttered the words, “It is finished.” Hallelujah! I am grateful that He reminds me over and over. I can trust Him with inky clothes, with a sick child, with being 10 hours away, with my sin, with my future. Thankfully, you can too! Faith over preparation!

Fear is not a happy place to be. It says it’s up to 'me'. But thankfully the cross says a different story! Click To Tweet

Preparation is not a wrong value, but it is when I put it over faith. God has made an oath to His children and He can be trusted. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional | Christian Nonprofit #devotional #scripture #fear #faith #oath #preparation #trust #promise

unsplash-logoPeter Oswald
Afraid, unafraid, fear, fearless, living boldly, boldness, God’s love, brokenness, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, mentor, ministry, nonprofit

Becoming Fearless: Brokenness Leads to Living Fearlessly

Fear and rejection can leave us feeling paralyzed. But it is our brokenness that will ultimately lead to becoming fearless.



My earliest memory of fear occurred when I was a child of six. On a warm summer evening, my family went to the home of some good friends of my parents for dinner. All my brother and I cared about was that they had kids close to our age – two boys. (It seems none of my parent’s friends had girls, but that’s another story!)

While the adults chatted after the meal, we children happily played outside on the swing-set laughing, yelling, and probably arguing. Suddenly, I felt something stinging my face; the pain was immediate and intense. Jumping off the swing, I ran screaming to my mother, who soothed me and quickly assessed I had at least two bee stings on my face. Her friend made a paste of baking soda and water to apply to the stings while I rested on mom’s lap.

Fear and rejection can leave us feeling paralyzed. But it is our brokenness that will ultimately lead to becoming fearless. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #devotional #scripture #afraid #fear #fearless #LivingBoldly #boldness #unafraid #brave #brokenness

Becoming Fearful

Within several moments I was ready to return playing with our friends, but no words came out when I opened my mouth to speak. I tried once again but to no avail. Panicked, I got mom’s attention and she realized my body was swelling. Things moved quickly from there.

Fear spread throughout the group as they were preparing to take me to the hospital. Fortunately for me, mom had recently read an article regarding deadly allergic reactions some people had to bees and that a new desensitization process was being offered by the medical community. That article saved my life.

Needless to say, despite several years of shots to alleviate my reaction to bees, I spent decades being deeply afraid of them. I’m blessed to say I’ve raised perennial flower beds for 15 years now.

The Lord is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; Of whom shall I be afraid?

Psalm 27:1, NKJV

Rejection

In high school, I wanted to be popular…translated – liked/loved. As a result, I became a cheerleader, joined clubs, became editor of the newspaper, etc. Guess what? There were still people who didn’t like me. Shocker, I know.

For reasons unknown, I can recall one particularly vicious phone call I received from a popular girl about something I didn’t do, but she thought I did. Even though I professed Jesus, I was looking for acceptance at the wrong addresses.

Listen to Me, you who know righteousness, You people in whose heart is My law: Do not fear the reproach of men, nor be afraid of their insults. For the moth will eat them up like a garment, and the worm will eat them like wool; But My righteousness will be forever, And My salvation from generation to generation.

Isaiah 51:7-8, NKJV

Paralyzed

When I was a young mother with a baby, my husband worked a swing shift. I didn’t like staying alone on the nights he had to work, but I spent most evenings at my parents’ until it was time to take my son home and put him to bed. But then one night while we all were out, our home was burglarized. My husband and I felt violated.

After that, fear blossomed like a sunflower in my chest. I heard every noise, real or imagined, in the house or the basement. It’s embarrassing to remember the times I would call our neighbor over to check the house because I thought I had heard something. (He and his wife were very gracious!) This fear lasted so long it was making me physically ill – I was trying to stay awake all night, begging God to keep us safe. I was thinking of escape plans should someone break-in. It was difficult.

Delivered

During this time, I was working with first graders in Sunday School. One week we made a prayer wheel out of paper plates. For every need on one side of the wheel, there were Bible verses on the other side that applied to the need. “Coincidentally,” my husband worked nights that week, which I dreaded with a vengeance.

In desperation, one night I pulled that children’s prayer wheel out and turned it to fear, looking up each verse. I told God I was so weary of living this way, and I knew that He didn’t want me to anymore. (He does say, “Fear not” 365 times in His Word!) From that night forward, the paralyzing fear left me. Has it attempted to return? Sure, but God has delivered me from the stronghold of fear each time.

I, even I, am He who comforts you. Who are you that you should be afraid of a man who will die, and of the son of a man who will be made like grass? And you forget the Lord your Maker, Who stretched out the heavens and laid the foundations of the earth; You have feared continually every day because of the fury of the oppressor, when he has prepared to destroy. And where is the fury of the oppressor? […] But I am the Lord your God, Who divided the sea whose waves roared – the Lord of hosts is His name. And I have put My words in your mouth; I have covered you with the shadow of My hand…

Isaiah 51:12-16a, NKJV

Becoming Fearless

I believe we all battle with fear in one form or another. Otherwise, why did God mention it so often? Sometimes I wonder if our fear isn’t used by God to help bring about needed brokenness…because only out of brokenness comes fearlessness. And isn’t that what we really want – to become fearless? Even Paul asked the Ephesians to pray for this in him in Ephesians 6:16-20.

Louie Giglio said in a sermon at 2012 Passion, “Minimize your fears by maximizing your one fear and realizing this: I’m already chained to Jesus Christ. The only thing I’m afraid of is living an insignificant life.”

Amen!

Sometimes fear is used by God to help bring about needed brokenness…because out of brokenness comes fearlessness. And isn't that what we really want – to become fearless? Click To Tweet

Fear and rejection can leave us feeling paralyzed. But it is our brokenness that will ultimately lead to becoming fearless. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #devotional #scripture #afraid #fear #fearless #LivingBoldly #boldness #unafraid #brave #brokenness

unsplash-logoJason Blackeye
Afraid, unafraid, fear, fearless, living boldly, boldness, God’s love, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, mentor, ministry, nonprofit

Feeling Afraid: Boldly Living Because God’s Love Drives Out Fear

Many situations in our lives have left us feeling afraid. How can we overcome these fears and live boldly? How do we allow God’s love to drown our fears?



For a time in my life, I was afraid of the down escalator. So bizarre. I actually panicked once trying to get on it. I had to turn away, walk a loop, and then try again. I succeeded the second time. I still can’t help feeling afraid whenever I have to get on, but it’s much better now…

Many situations in our lives have left us feeling afraid. How can we overcome these fears and live boldly? How do we allow God's love to drown our fears? Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #devotional #scripture #afraid #fear #fearless #LivingBoldly #boldness #unafraid #brave #GodsLove

Feeling Afraid

A bigger fear I have is cockroaches. For real. Even if there is one dead I can’t pick it up. I have to use the vacuum, or more likely I’ll leave it for my husband to pick up. One time I sucked one up with the vacuum but it was still alive, so I took the vacuum outside until my husband got home. When we were first married, he tried to “cure” me of my fear and have me pick a dead one up with a pair of tweezers that were on the end of a super fancy fly-swatter (why did we have a fancy fly-swatter?). His “cure” ended up with me in tears, begging him to not make me do it (we have come a long way in the past 15+ years).

The peak of this fear was when I was painting an apartment that we were going to be moving into while we lived in Chicago. I went to remove a smoke detector, and as I was twisting it, all this dust started to fall. When I saw that it was actually roaches falling to the floor, I had a full-blown panic attack. Thankfully they were all dead, otherwise, I probably would have busted my head as I passed out and fell off the ladder. Unfortunately, I have several stories like this. For some reason, they only try to attack me, never my husband.

(Just for the record, our first place was new construction, which results in these bugs coming indoors. The Chicago apartment was truly infested, but we had a pest control service come and get it under control. Now we live in the country, and bugs are just a part of life.)

Real Fear…What If’s

I fear rejection. What if I put myself out there and no one responds? What if I pursue a friendship and get the cold-shoulder? What if I tell someone an idea I have and they don’t share my excitement?

I fear missing out. What if there is an opportunity and I don’t take it? What if it would have been a great thing? What if the opportunity never presents itself again?

I fear that I won’t always like my children. What if they disappoint me? What if they make choices I don’t agree with? What if I don’t want to be around them?

I fear that I will no longer be attractive to my husband. What if he doesn’t want to be with me? What if he wants a wife with bigger boobs? What if my heart gets broken?

Is there truth in fear?

There are things that happen in our lives that shape us, good and bad. Perhaps our friends, a spouse, or even a stranger has rejected us. Perhaps opportunities have passed that we regret not taking. Maybe we have developed an idea in our minds that is not realistic or attainable.

We need to get control of our thoughts and acknowledge that we have listened to lies. LIES!! They are all lies!!

We need to replace the lies with truth.

The truth is, our perfect God loves us with His perfect love. You dear momma/dear lady/dear one, are loved. Fully, completely, no-need-to-fear loved.

There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.

1 John 4:18, ESV

Are people going to hurt us? Yep.

Are people going to let us down? Yep.

Are our children going to disappoint us? Yep.

We are all messy humans, and we are all going to mess up and cause messes.

But our identity, our confidence, our self-worth… it does not come from other people or situations. We can live boldly because we have been loved boldly. We are fiercely loved. And in that love, fear can no longer remain.

Afraid…but GOD has loved me.

So what are you afraid of?

The truth is, our perfect God loves us with His perfect love. You dear momma/dear lady/dear one, are loved. Fully, completely, no-need-to-fear loved. Click To Tweet

Many situations in our lives have left us feeling afraid. How can we overcome these fears and live boldly? How do we allow God's love to drown our fears? Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #devotional #scripture #afraid #fear #fearless #LivingBoldly #boldness #unafraid #brave #GodsLove

unsplash-logoAnnie Spratt