Posted in Fear

Brave?

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Brave. That is the word you keep speaking to me, God. Brave.

But I am not brave. No, this girl of yours is far from brave.

I want to be. I try to be.
But fear. Fear always pushes its way into my mind, hoping to shut me down.

God? I hear you whispering to me. Your voice is soft and gentle. It’s as if you’re speaking to a precious child, one whom you love dearly. And for this moment, your full attention is on that one child.  A child who desperately needs approval and affirmation.

Lord, I am that child.

You gently lean in toward me. You pull me close. Your words are spoken kindly and clearly. The warmth of your love encircles me. And in the midst of the moment, you lovingly remind me, “Dear child, courage is not always the absence of fear.”

You intentionally speak those words to me again.  “Brave. Child, you are brave.”

I am brave, God? This girl so unsure of herself? Is she really brave? Is it even possible?

Are you sure, God?

I am familiar with the sayings about courage and fear. That courage is moving forward despite your fears. That being brave doesn’t necessarily mean you’re not afraid.

Yet, I suppose I did not believe they applied to me. I suppose I had forgotten how many times-with God’s help- I did not give up. How many times I pushed my way through fear until it finally loosened its grip on me, refusing to allow it to paralyze me any longer.

Yes, I had forgotten.

I did not believe this thing called bravery could ever be mine.

Yes, God, I see now what the enemy has done. He has been the driving force behind my fear. He has fed me this lie much of my life. Through the words of others. And even worse, through the words I have spoken to myself.

And all this time I believed him.

I accepted this label he fastened to me, and although I’ve succeeded at concealing it at times, I never once realized I had the power to remove it.

I believed fear would always be my companion, my struggle, my label. I believed I would never -could never- be truly acquainted with bravery.

But God.  God is writing me a different story today. He has gone to great lengths to capture my attention. He has spoken His goodness to me -about me- in undeniable ways. He has revealed the enemy’s tactics to me. And in doing so, He has given me a new hope. He has revealed to me a new label.

I must learn to wear only the labels He sets aside for me. I must tear off that old label of fear and replace it with that which declares God’s truth about me …

I am brave.   I am strong.   I am courageous. 

 All because I am His. 

Thank you, God. You are indeed a good, good Father.

 

 

Posted in Faith

Struggling to Trust

old boat

I have no idea what to write today – where to start or what to say.  As I sit here staring at a blank screen, my words abandon me. Silence is all I hear and it is deafening.

In all honesty, I have been a bit withdrawn lately. From my husband. From friends. From God.  And for no obvious reason.  I’m not angry. I’m not hurt or disappointed. I’m not much of anything, except distant.  Hidden away in my thoughts. Stuck in my exhaustion. Lost in my weariness. I am present physically, but distant emotionally.

I dislike encountering myself in this place.  This place which threatens to hold me hostage in my fear and leaves me feeling lonely in the midst of my busyness.  This place where I wrestle with surrender and struggle to trust God fully with the many unknowns looming ahead. This place of overwhelming unrest. I don’t belong in this place, yet I slide into its crevices so easily and comfortably.

Maybe you, too, are familiar with this place.  That in-between point we find ourselves in when we’re aware of what we should be doing, but not yet brave enough to jump in and do it.  Or maybe for you it’s not a matter of bravery, but instead it’s an inability to relinquish control or unwillingness to step into unchartered territory. 

Whatever the case may be, we all end up here – in this same position – at one time or another.  On the brink of change. In the shadow of growth and maturity. So close to stepping into that life we desire … the kind of life which pours out an abundance of meaning and purpose everywhere it goes.  

The choice for this life is ours. It always has been. 

With that in mind, where will I go from here? Will I stay in this place of discontent a while longer, or will I choose to climb out even if it’s only one or two steps at a time?  Will I grab hold of my calling, embracing it through the good and the bad? Will I choose to trust Him regardless of the outcome and in spite of the what-ifs?

This is my greatest desire, yet it is far from easy for me. That’s why I’ve been hiding out as Jonah did in the belly of the fish.  Much like Jonah, my delayed “yes” has landed me in a not so happy place.  And much like Jonah, I will finally accept my assignment (as scary as it may seem) and move forward in obedience… writing one word at a time, one blog at a time, one book at a time. 

As I strive to do so, may God give me the words to speak, courage to be vulnerable, and an audience to hear.  And may He always be honored and glorified through it all.

God bless you all sweet friends, and thank you for embarking on this journey with me!