"I was brutish and ignorant; I was like a beast towards you. Nevertheless, I am continually with you, you hold my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will receive me to glory.
Fear. This is something everyone deals with. Something that continually holds us back from doing things we should be doing, want to be doing, and wish we could be doing. Fear is such a strong weapon of the enemy, and he's good at using it! So many of us are drowning in our fear; we can hardly move. And then we can't obey the Lord when He calls us to do something because we're so busy worrying about what's going to happen! We're afraid of the unknown. We're afraid of people. We’re even afraid of being afraid! Maybe for you, you've been stuck in your fear for quite a while, but have been trying to break out of it for quite some time. And maybe some of you are stuck in fear and don't even want to get out, because it seems safer somehow.
I feel you- I've been there. And I've definitely dealt with fear before!! And to be honest, it's also really, really daunting and scary for me to share so much about myself - especially knowing that a lot of my friends and family are going to read it. I'm afraid that people will think it's wrong, hypocritical, that it'll be taken the wrong way or that I'll be judged by my weaknesses. It's hard to be transparent. It's hard to share my innermost struggles- but I do it because I know God wants me to, because He sees something in me that I don't. He knows that somehow, someone's going to be impacted by these words that I write, even if I never know. And most of the time, I don't. It's kind of better that way, 'cuz it's easy for me to become proud of "my" accomplishments! It's all God though, really. Anything good that you ever see in me is 100% Him- 0% me. I'm not exaggerating.
But, back to fear, though I have learned some tweaks and tricks to help me deal with it, He's definitely still working on me!! I try my best to listen and fight the fear, but it's definitely not easy! But a lot of times, I've given in to that fear…
Rewind to early March or February of 2018: I had a really good friend whom I texted pretty much every day. We shared our struggles, our praises, our hopes. We prayed for each other and learned from each other. But here's the thing: we almost never talked to each other in person. It was completely online and in texting! For almost a year, we kept this up, even though we'd see each other once a week. But despite only texting, we were pretty close. We knew each other's secrets and fears and everything, and we were pretty much equivalent to best friends (meaning, we were that close!) And I loved it. I enjoyed talking with him - texting - and we both pretty much assumed we'd be friends for a looong time. One day, we decided that we should prooobably talk in person! So, at our homeschooling group's co-op, we decided we'd eat lunch together and talk that week.
So, the day comes, and I'm reaaally excited, and he is, too. The first class periods go by fast and before I know it, it's lunchtime. I grab my food and start to head in his direction. And then I freeze.
I can't remember why. I think he was talking with someone or sitting near other people, and fear swept over me. I guess I was afraid other people would start talking about us, even though we didn't like each other in that way and were just friends (or more like a brother-sister relationship).
And so…I went to eat with my normal circle of friends and we didn't end up talking.
That night, I think, we laid out our disappointments -in ourselves- and resolved to try again next time. Well, the next week at lunch, I again started to walk over to him when I saw that he was still talking (quite seriously) with a friend. So I waited until he was done…and again couldn't work up the nerve to walk over to a person I was very good friends with! So again, I went to sit elsewhere, my fear taking control of me and holding me back, with the excuse of "I'll do it next week."
That night, I decided that the next week I would not let fear overcome me. I resolved to go over and talk with him, no matter what! With new-found confidence, I went to sleep that night excited for the next week.
Fast forward to the day we were to see each other again: I'm super excited, I'm singing, smiling, almost dancing. Literally ten minutes before we get into the car, I find out he's not coming back to co-op. Like, ever.
And just like that - BOOM - I deflate like a balloon. Why, whyy hadn't I just gone over those last two weeks?! Why didn't I at least say hi? Why did I delay it? What did I have to be so afraid?! I was so upset with myself, and to this day, I have to admit that I still beat myself up about not going up to him.
That was the last time I saw him. We still texted each other, but there was so much I wanted to tell him in person. Talking online doesn't do face-to-face conversations justice. But the question I constantly asked myself, was, Why didn't I go up and talk to him? What stopped me?
I've discovered two factors that kept me from a potentially significant conversation: fear, and more fear. And using that old excuse of, "I'll do it next time." When our enemy tempts us, it doesn't always appear black and white, that's right, and that's wrong. No, in 2 Corinthians 11:14-15, it says that "even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light." I've been reading C.S. Lewis' book, The Screwtape Letters, which I HIGHLY recommend next to reading the Bible, and one of the things that hit me was the way Screwtape reminded his nephew to merely distract the "client" and give him excuses, and he'll easily be strayed from the path of becoming a Christian and things like that. It seems quite harmless, giving an excuse for doing things, but no, that's a trap from the devil! His highest goal is to keep you from God and from doing what God wants you to do. By entangling you with fear and constantly giving you ways that seem to help you escape, he's pulling you away.
But that doesn't mean there's no hope! 1 Corinthians 10:13 says that, "No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it." Listen, friends, you are not alone! Whatever temptation you are facing, someone else is experiencing the same thing! And God has not left you on your own to deal with it, no, He will not let Satan tempt you beyond what He knows you can bear! And He'll show you how to escape it and avoid sinning - sometimes it's as simple as walking away from the temptation. Walk out of the room, avert your eyes - pray that He'd give you the strength to say no. And that fear- it can be overcome, too. Remember - God has defeated that already, along with death and Satan and evil! It has no power over you unless you let it have power over you. I pray that you'd rebuke the fear in the name of Jesus, and take a step in faith today. Tomorrow is never guaranteed - don't let fear hold you back from doing the things God is telling you to do.
Please don't let fear take over, and don't listen to the excuses Satan is feeding you! Remember, Satan may be strong, and smart, and cunning, and he may be all that much more than you, but God is STRONGER than our enemy!!
"I have said these things to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation, but take heart;
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"I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all of my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds."