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
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
obedience, Ezekiel, speak, truth, bold, Oh Lord Help Us

Obedience: How Do We Speak In A Culture That Isn’t Listening?

Today we are living in a time of spiritual drought. God told Ezekiel, His prophet, to stand up and speak out. He calls us to the same obedience.



Today I had coffee with a sweet friend. She and her husband recently visited the Creation museum, which is located in northern Kentucky. They both admired the attention to detail and beauty of the garden, but what completely awed her was how one man’s disobedience (Adam), and another man’s obedience (Noah), changed the course of mankind. Throughout the story of man, God raised up judges, prophets, and kings – some who were obedient to His voice, and many who were not. The results of each reverberated like tremors of an earthquake.

Today we are living in a time of spiritual drought. God told Ezekiel, His prophet, to stand up and speak out. He calls us to the same obedience. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional

Drought

Does it ever feel to you as though we are living in a time of drought? Not literally, although Californians might beg to differ, but spiritually. Do you experience the tremors of a peoples’ disobedience?

With the latest surge of news concerning Bill Hybels and Willow Creek last week, and the recent indictments of the Pennsylvania Catholic church concealing more than 1,000 cases of clergy abuse of children, it’s one dry heat wave rolling after another. My heart breaks.

In my lifetime, our nation has gone from praying and displaying the Ten Commandments in schools and government buildings, most people at least believing in God, to the nearly opposite end of the spectrum – suing Christian businesses for not conforming to post-Christian cultural norms (i.e. paying for abortions, etc.). Adhering to Christian principles is mocked, equaled to “privilege,” and shamed on many college campuses, and Christians are sometimes referred to as bigots. As the people of God grow more comfortable in our bondage to the culture, it becomes increasingly difficult to stand up or speak the words of God to a rebellious people…which may cause us to become rebellious, too.

And Satan loves it so…

How can a holy God look upon this people and spare us? How does He continue to have compassion on us? How do we move forward when those we trusted or followed or admired have fallen in such disgrace? Why doesn’t Jesus return before we utterly and completely forever tarnish His name?!

God’s Response to Dryness

And He said to me, “Son of man, stand on your feet, and I will speak to you.” Then the Spirit entered me when He spoke to me, and set me on my feet; And I heard Him who spoke to me. And He said to me: “Son of man, I am sending you to the children of Israel, to a rebellious nation that has rebelled against Me; to this very day. For they are impudent and stubborn children. I am sending you to them, and you shall say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God,’ As for them, whether they hear or whether they refuse – for they are a rebellious house – yet they will know that a prophet has been among them.

Ezekiel 2:1-5, NKJV

Wow; it sounds like God is speaking to us in the present day, doesn’t it? Rebellious, impudent, stubborn children.

Israel was living in exile in Babylon at this time. One would think they would be desperate for God to deliver them, desperate enough to listen to His priest and prophet, desperate enough to be obedient to His Word. But no. Like us, they had grown comfortable in their bondage…in their dryness…in their sin. They liked blending in with the culture which held them captive.

Our Response- Obedience

Consequently, Ezekiel knew his message, or rather God’s message would not be popular.

“And you, son of man, do not be afraid of them nor be afraid of their words, though briers and thorns are with you and you dwell among scorpions; do not be afraid of their words or dismayed by their looks, though they are a rebellious house. You shall speak My words to them, whether they hear or whether they refuse, for they are rebellious. But you, son of man, hear what I say to you. Do not be rebellious like that rebellious house; open your mouth and eat what I give you.”

Ezekiel 2:6-8, NKJV

But remember, like Ezekiel, we are living among scorpions. (I hate those suckers! They sting like crazy, but they are not deadly!) We are not to be afraid of their words or dismayed by their looks – and sister, you know the LOOKS you can receive when you talk about Jesus in the public square!! However, God told Ezekiel he had to speak whether Israel listened or not.

Our fearlessness comes from the certainty that it isn't up to us. Everything depends completely on God. Click To Tweet

God Speaking Through Us

But here is the great part: God doesn’t want you to speak unless HIS HAND IS UPON YOU! We aren’t instructed to babble incessantly to anyone who crosses our paths. (You know someone like that, don’t you?)

The hand of the Lord came upon me and brought me out in the Spirit of the Lord, and set me down in the midst of the valley; and it was full of bones…And He said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” So I answered, “O Lord God, You know.” Again He said to me, “Prophecy to these bones, and say to them, ‘O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord! Surely I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live”…So I prophesied as I was commanded.

Ezekiel 37:1-7, NKJV

Oh, dear sister! We, too, are living in a valley of dry bones. There are absolutely no words in any human language that will convince the dead souls around us that they are dead. However, when the hand of God is upon us He gives us His words to utter and they are filled with the holy breath of Life. It is never up to us to conjure up the perfect words to say! Hallelujah, amen, right?!

Our fearlessness comes from the certainty that it isn’t up to us. Everything depends completely on God. We are to do as Ezekiel was commanded – obey His voice.

So you might wonder what obedience looks like in a place of dryness. It isn’t really difficult. In the words of Brennan Manning:

Christ wants Christians to live in the present, to love now, to touch this person in these concrete circumstances.

Whose dry bones is Jesus asking you to love, speak to, touch today?

Today we are living in a time of spiritual drought. God told Ezekiel, His prophet, to stand up and speak out. He calls us to the same obedience. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional

Sources:
http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/ct-met-willow-creek-elders-step-down-20180807-story.html
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/acts-of-faith/wp/2018/08/14/pennsylvania-grand-jury-report-on-sex-abuse-in-catholic-church-will-list-hundreds-of-accused-predator-priests/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.501b0862cfe1
http://www.beliefnet.com/news/home-page-news-and-views/are-us-colleges-hostile-to-christian-students.aspx
http://www.beliefnet.com/news/home-page-news-and-views/are-us-colleges-hostile-to-christian-students.aspx
lament, fear not, joy, Oh Lord Help Us, ministry, Christian, women

Lament: Fear Not, Limitless Joy is Available in the Midst of Struggle

Feeling sorrowful does not necessarily indicate lack of trust. Having a right understanding of God’s limitless power and love frees us to lament with hope. Joy is unshakable in the midst of struggle.



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.

Feeling sorrowful does not necessarily indicate lack of trust. Having a right understanding of God's limitless power and love frees us to lament with hope. Joy is unshakable in the midst of struggle. #lament #fearnot #limitlessjoy

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

Feeling sorrowful does not necessarily indicate lack of trust. Having a right understanding of God's limitless power and love frees us to lament with hope. Joy is unshakable in the midst of struggle. #lament #fearnot #limitlessjoy

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

Limitless…

Relearning my humanity = 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

Relearning my humanity = understanding my limits. Finally, it is there I remember I belong to a limitless God. Click To Tweet

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Fear: Brokenness Ultimately 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.

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 were moving 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

Fear: 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

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

Fear: 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. Its 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 for my son and I should someone break in. It was difficult.

Fear: 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

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

Fear: Be 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 be 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.


If you have found this inspiring, share the encouragement…

Even though I professed Jesus, I was looking for acceptance at the wrong addresses. Click To Tweet

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

Luke Matthews


I was afraid, but God… loved me.

This is one of the truths you will learn in the study, but God…Where the Story Changes.

but God, study, lies, truth

Fearless: The Freedom to Take Risks

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…



Last week we celebrated my daughters 2nd birthday!

 

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.

 

 

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 salt water, did she not try that again.

 

 

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


The freedom to take risks…

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 me 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, and anticipating the dive. I want her to live fully, and be willing to take risks.

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.

Right now my favorite song 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.

The Lord does not keep us from falling. But He will pick us up when we do. Click To Tweet


Your turn…

When was a time in your life you took a risk? What happened? How did it change your relationship with the Lord? Tell me in the comments, or on Facebook, or on Instagram. I can’t wait to hear about it!

 

 

 

Anastasia Taioglou