Posted in Fear

Enough?

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He scooped me up, smiling mischievously. Within seconds he bolted – with me in his arms – straight into the pool. 

To some it would have been no big deal. They would have laughed it off, perhaps plotting secret revenge. But despite my longing to be that person, I am not.

Instead, the little girl inside of me cringed as insecurities began to resurface. I stepped out of the pool. Without a word, I made my way into the house dripping wet, not allowing my sobs to surface until I reached the quiet of my room. There I stood, all alone, wondering why such an innocent prank on his part threatened to leave me in such shambles.

I pondered my thoughts.  I wrestled with my feelings.  Much to my surprise, I identified the source behind my pain – the very raw emotion of not being enough. Not fun enough. Not adventurous enough. Not out-going enough. Not spontaneous enough. Not enough like the rest of my people.

Satan has been hammering me with this lie most of my life, and sadly, I’ve believed him. I wonder if you have as well. What untruth is he continually hurling in your direction? What falsehood is he pounding into your heart? What victory is he claiming over your life?

Sweet sister, we must learn to stack Satan’s lies side by side with God’s truths. They absolutely cannot measure up.  While Satan will use our weaknesses and insecurities to cripple us, God will use them to strengthen us.  And though Satan desires to use our mistakes, fears, and heartaches to ruin us, God desires to pour His grace out upon us, drawing us to Him, helping us to become the women He has called us to be.

So when you’re not certain you’re happy being you, remember it’s okay.

You are loved just as you are -flaws, quirks, and all.

And though we should always strive to be better tomorrow than today, we must never forget …

We were perfectly crafted by God himself, and …

We are enough.

 

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 Fear

Being You is Okay

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I’ve never been much of a talker, always more of the quiet type.  As a child and young adult, I was extremely timid and shy.  I would sit in a classroom tormented because I knew the answer to a question posed by the teacher, but lacked confidence and courage to lift my hand and let my voice be heard. 

In social settings, I labored to find my voice when I knew something should be said.  Many times when I would muster up the courage to speak, I would regret having done so.  Either I had chosen the wrong words or spoken them at an inappropriate time, somehow making a fool of myself.  Once again confirming it was best for me to remain quiet.  And so it went ….

And then along came the boy God had chosen for me (later to be called my husband).  We couldn’t have been more different:  he had absolutely no problem talking.  He could talk to anyone, anytime, anywhere.  He was a magnet.  People were drawn to him.  He had a way of making others feel comfortable – even complete strangers. He would often leave them with a bigger smile and a better perspective than when he had found them.  Oh, how I longed to be more like that.

Yet here I am, years later, still not much of a talker, still more of the quiet type.  And believe it or not, I’m finally starting to realize it’s okay.  After all these years, I’m beginning to like who I am and how God made me.  I’m accepting that He actually has a purpose in creating me exactly as He did.  I’m learning to be more thankful for who I am. 

Yes, I’ll admit that sometimes I still wish this whole getting-to-know-people-better thing was simpler for me.  That my ability to engage others in meaningful conversations didn’t feel so awkward; and that reaching out to others face-to-face wasn’t such a struggle. 

But here’s the beauty in it … because it isn’t my natural tendency, and because I can’t easily pull it off on my own, I find myself talking to God quite a bit through my day.  “Lord, show me what to say to this friend who is discouraged; Father, give me words of wisdom for my husband as he deals with this situation; Dear God, give me courage to speak up and take a stand on this issue as you see fit.”  And so it goes ….

And so it can be for you too, my friend. 

Whether your problem is having too little to say, or saying too much, go to the One who made you.  He will teach you how to use your quietness, or your talkativeness, to point others to Him.  And in doing so, you’ll come to realize that being you – the you God created you to be – is more than okay.

Posted in Fear

Struggling with Fear

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Fear has always been a struggle for me.

I don’t recall when we first met, but I do know that being shy and introverted provided ample opportunity for fear to show up and take root.  So many occasions, in fact, that it became a regular companion of mine.

I experienced fear as a young child over things that seem silly now.  Fear as a teenager concerning things that weren’t quite as silly, some of which would probably still frighten me today.  Fear as a new mother, and sometimes as the seasoned mother I am now.

Fear, fear, and more fear.

Sometimes it is very subtle, only a random thought passing quickly through my mind. Other times it consumes me as a pounding reality, causing me to squirm and panic.

I don’t like fear. It makes me weak and vulnerable. It hinders me from thinking clearly.  It robs me of sleep and steals peace from my day.  It is a monster, working hard to shut me down.

But something amazing happened in my life. I began to realize fear could be bridled.  Courage could be found. Help was available.  All I needed to do was grab hold of the power accessible to me through my relationship with Jesus.  Somehow I knew this power would enable me to overcome the debilitating effects of fear.

By digging into the word of God, one verse at a time, I learned that God’s people knew a thing or two about fear.  So I memorized a few scriptures such as Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”, and Psalm 56:3-4, “When I am afraid, I will put my trust in You. In God, whose word I praise, in God I have put my trust; I shall not be afraid… ”

And do you know what I discovered?  The truth and power of God’s word is tougher than fear’s grip.

Yes, fear still rattles me from time to time, but it doesn’t paralyze me.  When it begins to get the upper hand, I unleash my go-to verses, and fear must back down.  After all, it is no match for the One who created me, and loves me, and wants His best for me.  No match at all.