Change is hard.
Stepping out is hard.
Obedience is hard.
God has called me to do something I don't want to. Well, He's called me many times to many things I did not want to do but you get to hear about this one! Admittedly, and, ironically, I'm afraid. This is a daunting task that I do not believe I'm equipped for, that I'm not disciplined enough to do, and I'm not sure how it will go. However, when God says "go", what else are we to do but obey? So, here I go...
Quite a while back my husband was asked to fill in on a Sunday and preach while our pastor was out of town. The topic of his message was "fear not" and he shared the "fact" that the particular phrase, in various forms, is listed in the bible 366 times; once for ever day of the year including leap-year. He emphasized that if God felt the need to reiterate something that many times to us then it must be vitally important. Now, notice I used quotations around the word "fact"... that's because, at this moment, I'm not sure it actually is 366 but I'm going to find all I can!
I have been ruminating on this little "fact" for months now, pondering the insidious role fear plays in our lives, and feeling increasingly burdened to write about it. I tried a while back to cram my thoughts all into one post and it's been sitting in the "drafts" category for a long time because it just wasn't coming together. Then, back in November, I felt God pressing me that I should endeavor to seek out every one of those supposed 366 instances in scripture pertaining to this subject... and, blog about it every. single. day.
I balked. I haven't even been able to blog every MONTH much less daily! Further, when I started searching via online bible resources, the compiled lists of others, keyword searches, etc. I had trouble finding the full "leap year" of scriptures. (And to clarify, I did not just search "fear"; I went all kind of thesaurus and searched related terms like "anxious", "worry", "distress", and many others, as you will (hopefully) see).
On top of all this, another admission, I had been feeling like I had some kind of wisdom in this area to impart to others, including you, dear reader, and let me now, humbly, sincerely, ask for your forgiveness, please? See, I had been going along for a while now thinking I had conquered fear. I used to be terribly afraid of some major things that I was forced to face and choose faith instead. Let me tell you now, if you struggle with any form of anxiety, the freedom that God can bring you in this area is unreal. You want it, I promise! However, something I'm realizing lately, the treatment for this particular malady of the soul is not a one-time treatment. In fact, I'm not sure it isn't a permanent condition that could be considered an autoimmune disorder of the soul. Regular therapy of God's word, prayer, and wise counsel are the best ways to keep the condition in check and in a "latent" status. The reason I speculate so is because 1) while there may not be 366 instances in the bible, God does have to command us so often not to fear that it must be that common of a problem and 2) because of my own experience (which is not for you to base your own faith on, only as the disclaimer of the humanity from whence these words come!). To reinforce that point, and to explain the admission I started above, I was reading a testimony the other day from someone God had healed in many facets of her physical health. Part of said testimony included how fear-filled she had been living and I thought "Well I don't have that problem."... Almost immediately I felt that "still, small voice" in my heart that said "Oh, really?? What about your fear of failure? What about your fear of the expectations of others? What about your fears of being lonely?........" (There were several others)
Hmm... Well... uh... ok, yeah, I guess there's that... No! I don't have... ok, well, maybe I struggle just a little... well, maybe, yes. Yes, you got me. I still struggle in those areas.
I have a lot more issues with fear than I realized. I concoct confidence. I have bogus bravery. I feign fearlessness.
I've been pondering this concept since my husband shared it, and it struck me that if we trace back every sin issue we have, I'm thus far convinced that it's always rooted in some form of fear, worry or anxiety that provokes us to act outside of God's will. Fear, worry or anxiety, after all, is the belief that God either can't or won't meet whatever need or want we might have. Which, thereby, I suppose, is, in and of itself, a sin of unbelief. Sins tend to beget more sins and, perhaps, akin to medical maladies, rarely does a person have just one condition; often one issue has either stemmed from or causes another. Important to note here that sometimes, He indeed, will not meet our wants or needs as we see them to be, but, they are still not for us to take into our own hands. Faith and peace in His Word tell us that He has a plan, nothing that can come up in our lives will surprise Him, He knows better than we can fathom what we truly need in any given instance and, thus, has a reason for not meeting that need/want in the way we have in mind. So far I have yet to come up with a sin issue that does not have some root fear attached to it. I realize that's a very bold statement but if we search deep in our hearts and address that fear, then the sin issue will resolve.
The next post after this I will begin to go through the list of scriptures, one at at time, to see what God has to say to me (us) about our fears. My conviction is to go for an entire year searching out these scriptures and their correlating promises. I am yet undecided whether to split passages verse by verse where there's two or more in a row commanding fearlessness OR to group them together; we will have to see where God leads when we get there.
As we set off on this journey, I ask your prayers: this is the biggest undertaking I have ever stepped into in my very limited study of God's word. To do this I am having to delve into scripture in a way I never have before, I will need a diligence for this blog like never before, I need to change my sleep patterns so I can rise and write before my sons start their day (I have never been a morning person!), and all of this while we as a family juggle a lot of other stuff in our lives.
I do not know why God has asked this of me; I'm just a random wife and mom with a lot of chaos, a scattered brain, and no qualifications. However, He also called a murderer to be a deliverer, a shepherd boy to be a king, fishermen to be leaders, and harlots to be heroes... why not me? Why not you?
Today I'm praying for/about:
Today, (in no particular order) I'm praying for...
- Fresh ideas, inspiration and diligence to post regularly again
- My dad fighting mesothelioma too far away for me to hug him
- Children, parents, and teachers everywhere preparing to return to school
- My single friends as they seek God for His guidance in relationships
- Broken relationships; for grace to abound where grace has been withheld
- You; I'm praying for every single person who views this blog.
Thank you for standing in agreement with me for these precious souls!