fear, surrender

Fear of Missing Out

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My schedule had ballooned, leaving me fighting for air. Though I managed to juggle all the demands and responsibilities bombarding me each day, I made numerous errors. I epitomized the phrase, “Jack of all trades but master of none.”

Or perhaps that’d be better phrased as “Doer of all but proficient in few.”

My joy, peace, and relationship with Christ was suffering. In my constant rush to tackle one task after the other, my prayer time had shifted from treasured and protected soul care to something I squeezed into my already rushed day, out of guilt and obligation rather than a desire to genuinely connect with my Savior.

Though I claimed God’s sovereignty over my present and future, my schedule and mistakes—my choices, my will—became my God.

If I did X, Y would happen. If I failed to do C, D would never occur. And if I stepped down from a certain role that, potentially, led to promotion, my life’s dreams would be irrevocably derailed.

In other words, when I evaluated the root of my busyness, it came down to this: Fear of missing out. Fear that if I said no to a particular opportunity, I was potentially robbing myself of something good that could lead to something even better.

My fight for control and fear of missing out, of in some way hindering God’s very good plans for me, revealed deep-seated, faulty views of God.My fight for control and fear of missing out, of in some way hindering God’s very good plans for me, revealed deep-seated, faulty views of God. Click To Tweet

Either I believed He was sovereign or I didn’t. And if I did, then I didn’t need to stress over the small stuff or my ever-changing circumstances. Instead, I’d rest in the One who walks beside me, stands behind me, goes before me, and holds me secure.

Either I believed He was supreme and worthy of all my praise, or I didn’t. If I did, then I’d recognize that everything I engage in or pursue on earth is but a shadow of what God has prepared for me. I’d remember how insufficient temporary pleasures were in filling my deepest needs and heart’s desire.

My schedule revealed my priorities—my true gods. But perhaps most convicting, my stress and fears revealed what I truly believed about God, His heart, and ability to care for me.

That realization empowered me to make changes. I analyzed my thought processes and the things that caused anxiety in light of truth, and I asked God to center me in reality.

Text pulled from postHere’s reality—God is in control. 1 Chronicles 29:11-12 says , speaking of God, “Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is yours. Yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and You are exalted as head above all. Both riches and honor come from You, and You rule over all. In Your hand are power and might, and in Your hand it is to make great and to give strength to all” (ESV).

Because God is bigger than any obstacle or setback I might face, and no matter how things might appear today, in the end, He wins.Because God is bigger than any obstacle or setback I might face, and no matter how things might appear today, in the end, He wins. Click To Tweet

Let’s talk about this! Do you struggle with a fear of missing or disrupting God’s plans for you? How might focusing on obedience help you find peace in the uncertainties and abundance of opportunities assaulting you each day?

For those participating in our Becoming His Princess Bible study, if you’re on week four, which deals with overcoming fear, you can listen to the audio segment HERE. If you haven’t grabbed your free copy yet but would like to, you can do so HERE. You can watch the videos for sessions one and two HERE.

fear

When Others Deem Our Actions Foolish

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Sometimes the best choices are the hardest to make. Sometimes wisdom appears foolish and faith fanatical. As a young mother striving to live for Jesus, I quickly learned just how contrary the things of God can appear to some.

When I chose to stay home, some deemed me lazy.

When I attempted to follow the Holy Spirit’s guidance and guard our daughter’s influences, I was accused of sheltering her. I was told my actions would ultimately harm her and leave her maladjusted.

My attempts to explain, or perhaps more accurately, to defend my choice, didn’t help. My discussion of God’s leading—of His gentle voice, spoken softly yet clearly to my heart—and the deep assurance that followed made no sense to those who had never heard Him or hadn’t learned to discern His voice.

Perhaps some even found me delusional:

“She claims to hear from God,” they say, with a raised eyebrow and slight smirk. “Does she talk to the Easter Bunny too?”

Over time, I learned to be a little more cautious regarding what I shared and with whom. And honestly, I hate that. I hate that I so often allow other people’s opinions to hold me back. I wish, like Paul, I could boldly and consistently say, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes …” (Romans 1:16, ESV) and then back this up with my actions.

I’ve been ridiculed by my peers. He’d been imprisoned for his faith. I’d stood against cultural opposition to raise our daughter. He stood against the religious elite and angry mobs. I’ve been excluded from certain groups due to my “passion for Jesus”, but he’d been smuggled out of Berea in order to save his life.

There’s a lot of reasons I could give for why, at times, sharing the gospel makes my stomach knot and my palms text image using quote pulled from postget sweaty, and yet, in each instance, it comes down to this—whenever I stifle God’s message within, I’m putting my pride above someone else’s salvation.

When I look at it that way, my concerns and fears seem petty at best.

I imagine Paul felt as I have, on many occasions. Otherwise why the need to make such a bold and declarative statement—for I am not ashamed. Unless maybe he’d been tempted to feel ashamed in the past—perhaps when mobs of angry people shook their fists at him, spit on him, and hurled stones at him. Or perhaps others, maybe even believers in Rome, had demonstrated that they were ashamed of him. Or maybe he was simply stating a fact with all the courage the Holy Spirit allowed—I am not ashamed! No matter what others say, no matter how foolish or irrational my words appeared, I choose to speak life.

Even if it costs me mine.

Lord, help me have that same confidence Paul demonstrated again and again, regardless how others respond or how unpopular Your message appears. Because life’s too short and there’s too much at stake for any of Your children to remain silent.

Life’s much too short and Your love for the broken too strong for any of us, Your mouthpieces, to live afraid.

To the contrary! As ambassadors of the sovereign King, we can walk into any and every situation with our heads held high, our voices sure, and our message clear: “I am not ashamed, and I refuse to be, because the words I speak have power and life.”

Let’s talk about this! When has obedience caused you to look foolish in the moment or left you misunderstood? How did you gain the courage to step forward in faith? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below, because we can all learn from and encourage each other. And make sure to engage with us on Facebook and Instagram where we post daily snippets of encouragement!

fear

Fearing Forward with Jesus

Heart pounding. Dry mouth. Hands shaking. Words fumbling. Anxiety at its finest. The first time I spoke in front of an audience about God was a total flop by earthly standards. I rushed  through as fast as possible so I didn’t have to stand up there alone for one more second. I had let fear take over and drive me into failure. Or so I thought.

I went home and cried.

Why did God call me to write, speak, and encourage others in His name if I couldn’t physically do it? Didn’t He know  I wasn’t capable of this? Didn’t He know I’m comfortable hiding right here in front of my computer?

He did know that, but He also knew I needed to learn an important lesson before moving forward. That none of this– the failures nor the wins– are about what I am capable of alone. It’s about Jesus working with me for my good and the good of others as we  step forward in faith.

After seeing their beloved Jesus die on a cross, I imagine His followers were confused and afraid, too. Maybe they even felt abandoned in the faith they were once so sure of. Jesus, knowing every one of their fears, showed Himself to His disciples to encourage their faith and to instruct them.

Some followers believed when they saw Jesus, others needed help believing so they could move forward in faith.

“And when they saw Him they worshiped Him, but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations…teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age’” (Matthew 28:17-20 esv).Matt28-20Blog

When faced with fear, followers of Christ have a choice to make — will we doubt His presence? Or believe Jesus is truly with us in the struggle? What we choose determines if we can overcome our fears.

Many times I’ve doubted in my life. I’ve believed I was alone in parenting struggles, marriage lows, job crises, health scares — and most recently the first time I stood in front of an audience. Somehow I got the idea that God was here for the overall picture but not the day to day ugly. Wrong.

I poured over Matthew 28:17-20 thinking about how Jesus tells to go out boldly in his name. It struck me that before Jesus asks His disciples to go, He tells them all authority in heaven and on earth belongs to Him. This is important, not just because it allows us to trust that we have a powerful God, but because of the words that follow.

“And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” If Jesus is with us, that means His power is too.

As a language teacher I know words cannot be translated perfectly. I wanted to know exactly what that meant that “I am” would be “with” us “always”. So I looked up the original Greek to better understand these important words of our Savior.

Here’s the gist….

The word here for “I am” is “ego eimi” which is the same name Jesus refers to himself when He says “I am the way” in John 14:6. Interestingly, the Greek word for “with” in this passage is an active with. It’s a “with” that means Jesus is working in us, not just standing by watching as we labor solo . Lastly, “always” means each and every part of the total. Each moment that makes up our entire lives. Not just the pretty ones.

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Putting this all together, Jesus promises to work with us every time He calls us to step out of our comfort zones.

Knowing this breaks down my fear when I step out in faith. Believing Jesus is working behind the scenes every time I put myself out there in obedience grows my confidence and propels me forward.

We’re not alone, but when we feel as if we are, let’s remember Jesus’ promise. The great I Am will be working with us in every moment, always.

 

Read more from Andrea at www.afruitfulwoman.com

 

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Let’s talk about this! How is God asking you to step out in faith? Do you believe that He will work in that area with you? Tell Jesus your doubts and fears through prayer and ask him to strengthen you when you are unsure.

If you enjoyed today’s post, would like more inspirational content sent directly to your inbox, and want to stay up-to-date regarding what’s new with us, make sure to sign up for our free quarterly e-mailing. You can do that HERE.

And make sure to connect with us on Instagram and Facebook!

 

Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION(R), NIV(R) Copyright (c) 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. (R) Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

fear

The Most Dangerous Fear

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I made my kid throw a boot at a spider because I was afraid to go near it. I hate ferris wheels for fear I will fall out. And tornado sirens make me stop in my tracks. All of us are afraid of something. But I’m guessing if I asked you your biggest fear, you wouldn’t automatically respond, “People!” even though it’s the most dangerous fear there is. 

Deep down we are approval seekers. It’s the reason I check how many people like a post on social media, or why I change my outfit three times before going out.  We want to be liked, approved of, accepted. The question is, by whom?

The Bible clearly states we have two options, we can fear other people, or we can fear the Lord– meaning we can live for the approval of others or live for the Lord.

 Our choice determines if we live ensnared or set free.

Proverbs 29:25 warns that “Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe”. That word “snare” in original Hebrew is “yaqosh or moqesh” which means a noose or hook to snare, catch, or trap animals.

Let me tell you, I have lived snared. I have let others opinions drag me down into negativity, tie me up in anxiety, and gag me in fear to put myself out there in faith. Being afraid I won’t measure up to this world’s standards has kept me stressed and overwhelmed instead of living like an empowered child of God. 

Fear of man keeps us focused on man’s unattainable agenda instead of God’s will. But what is it that God cares about? What does it look like to “fear the Lord?”

I found the answer in the Old Testament. After the Israelites had worshiped man made objects instead of the one true God, they needed a new direction.  

Moses told them, “And now, O Israel, what does the Lord your God ask of you but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to observe the Lord’s commands and decrees that I am giving you today for your own good?” (Deuteronomy 10: 12-13 NIV) 

Fearing the Lord instead of man looks a lot like walking daily with God. Steering our actions to love God and others. Serving with strength and humility, and following God’s good ways instead of what we think is best. The last line is so important. For our own good. 

I used to be afraid to follow God because I didn’t know if I could trust him with my life plan. But God isn’t a mad parent telling their kid to follow, “Because I said so!” He calls us to live close to Him because He wants something good for our lives. Because He is a Father who loves His children. That makes me trust and want to follow Him.  

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So everyday I try to let go a little. I want to release myself from what I think I should be and hold onto what God says I already am. What we already are. Loved. Chosen. Called. Purposed. Empowered…all in Christ. 

We have nothing to prove. No agenda to meet. No earthly standards to live up to. We get to live free and bold knowing God is after our hearts, not our resume. 

When we start living on purpose with the Living God, Philippians 2:15-16 says you and I will “shine” like “stars” as we give the good news of Christ to others through our actions. To me, that’s a life worth living.

Let’s talk about this! How have you been stuck in the fear of man? How would living in, and for, God’s love set you free?

If you enjoyed today’s post, would like more inspirational content sent directly to your inbox, and want to stay up-to-date regarding what’s new with us, make sure to sign up for our free quarterly e-mailing. You can do that HERE.

And make sure to connect with us on Instagram and Facebook!

Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION(R), NIV(R) Copyright (c) 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. (R) Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

fear, Heart Issues

How Jesus Helps Us in Our Fear

quote from Sarah pulled from the post.

Did I hear God right? Leave our family and move half way across the country on our own? With a nine month old?

Leave the only hometown we’d ever known?

Where were we going to live? How were we going to make new friends? I was scared of the unknown. I was nervous and unsure. I wanted to stay where I was—comfortable, where everything felt familiar.

About 5 1/2 years ago, my husband and I were shopping in Hampton Virginia when my old boss phoned me. He’d recently moved to Omaha, Nebraska to be the Vice President of Marketing of a senior health organization. We’d kept in touch, so the call wasn’t out of the ordinary, but the reason for his call was. His company wanted me to spearhead their marketing for an expansion project.

My first thought was, Omaha, Nebraska? What do they do there? Farm? Grow corn?

At that time, my parents and my husband’s parents lived a mile from us. They were our safety net. Always there and available to help. The thought of moving and leaving where we’d grown up, a house we’d recently purchased, our parents, our friends, our church, and our life group felt overwhelming. Yet after much prayer, we felt certain we were being called to the Midwest. Even though we knew we were following Christ’s leading, we still feared the unknown.

I was afraid the job wouldn’t work out. I was afraid we wouldn’t make new friends. I was afraid my husband wouldn’t find a job. I was afraid it was a huge mistake.

What do you fear the most? Do you trust God’s provision?

Even Jesus’ disciples, struggled with fear and trusting the Lord. In Matthew 14:30-31, Peter and the disciples saw Jesus walking on water. Peter questioned if the man they saw truly was the Son of God, and said “‘Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.’

“He said, ‘Come.’

Peter got out of the boat and walked towards Jesus. “But when he saw verse image Matthew 14:29b-30the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, ‘Lord, save me.’

Jesus immediately reached out His hand and took hold of him, saying to him, ‘O you of little faith, why did you doubt?’”

Peter let fear paralyze him when he was walking on water. But Jesus comforted him with an outstretched hand.

When we step out in faith, despite our fear, God does the same for us.

I didn’t know why Christ was leading us to Omaha. I just knew in my heart we were supposed to be there. Fast forward a little over three years, and we learned why. In early 2016, I had a stroke while sitting in the waiting room at Children’s Hospital with my daughter. The medical community in Omaha is fantastic. Within fifteen minutes of our home, we have several nationally recognized teaching hospitals with every specialty imaginable.

These options were not close to where we previously lived in Virginia. I would’ve most likely had to drive to Baltimore or North Carolina to receive the medical treatment so readily available in Omaha.

If I hadn’t taken that phone call in Marshalls, and if I hadn’t listened to God’s calling to relocate to Nebraska, I may not be alive today. My fear of moving could’ve cost me my life.

When has God called you to the unknown? Were you fearful? Unsure? How did you push the uncertainty away? Let’s talk about this!

If you enjoyed today’s post, would like more inspirational content sent directly to your inbox, and want to stay up-to-date regarding what’s new with us, make sure to sign up for our free quarterly e-mailing. You can do that HERE.