Dear Fear,

 

Instagram is by far my favorite social media platform, it is clean, and uncluttered. I have found so much inspiration there. (Now if only I could just bring myself to ditch that time waster of FB). I was scrolling through my feed on my lunch break at work the other day and came across the above image re-posted by a friend of mine. It literally took my breath away for a second. So good.

Addressing your fear, acknowledging it, giving it a voice, but not giving it control. (Even of the radio.) Fear is something I have dealt with throughout my journey, at different times and in different ways. It is indeed familiar. So familiar that sometimes it sneaks right in and starts making suggestions without me even noticing. But I have gotten better at recognizing it over the years, and better at shutting down those suggestions before they start taking me on detours. But every time some new situation or choice arises, it is there, that familiar tightness in my chest, that ‘what if,’ worse case scenario playing in my head,

The sooner I recognize it, the easier it is reason myself back to reality, a process that sometimes has to occur multiple times a day. Sometimes that requires listening to fear and walking with it for a while. In one of Beth Moore’s bible studies, she says something to the effect of, to break fear’s hold on you, sometimes you have walk out with it to the end. This seems counter-intuitive, but in order to do this you first have to recognize what it is that you are specifically afraid of. Often times we have a fear response but we can’t really put into words what exactly it is we are afraid of, and we just end up with this vague anxiety that paralyzes us. Secondly, once you realize what exactly you are afraid of, you go there. You go there in your mind, you walk with fear down that horrible path of ‘what if’. When you get to the end you sit and look around and see if it really as bad as you thought. Is it really the end of the world as we know it?

For me, this is what this looks like: Ok, this would hurt, this would be hard, this would be difficult, BUT if I end up here, is God still in control? does he still love me? will he teach me and guide me and give me the strength I need to walk through this?  And once I have sat in that place and looked fear in the eye, the answer is always, yes. Yes, He will be enough even in that place, and suddenly fear loses all control.

It goes back to the question I have asked myself every step of this journey. “If I really believe what I say I believe, then what? If I believe what I say I believe, then I simply can not let fear drive.

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Build the Cities

Have you ever read something many times and then something suddenly jumps out at you? And changes the way you think about things? I began reading a Beth Moore book this last week and the main passage is Isaiah 61:1-4. I wrote it out and highlighted the parts (italics here)  that she pointed out were part of Jesus job description, thinking that would be key to focus on, the things that God is going to do for me.

 

The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me,

because the LORD has anointed me

to preach good news to the poor.

He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,

to proclaim freedom for the captives

and release from darkness for the prisoners,

to proclaim the year of the LORD’S favor

and the day of vengeance of our God,

to comfort all who mourn,

and provide for those who grieve in Zion

to bestow on them a crown of beauty

instead of ashes,

the oil of gladness

instead of mourning,

and a garment of praise

instead of a spirit of despair.

They will be called oaks of righteousness,

a planting of the LORD

for the display of his splendor.

They will rebuild the ancient ruins

and restore the places long devastated;

they will renew the ruined cities

that have been devastated for generations.

Isaiah 61:1–4

 

I taped it to my mirror and started reading it. But after several times through what jumped out at me were not the highlighted portions, it was the plain black section at the bottom. The parts that start with “they,” meaning, our part, not Gods. It doesn’t say God will rebuild the ruins, it doesn’t say he will restore the devastation. It says we will.

God’s part is to comfort and heal our broken hearts. God’s part is to set us free. God’s part is to give us joy instead of sadness. Once he has built us up, it is OUR job to build up the rest. We will be the ones to take the ruins and rebuild something new and full of life. We will be the ones to change the generational devastation. This is our job, not God’s.

Now don’t get me wrong, God plays a part. Obviously. He frees, and heals and strengthens us, without Him we would not be able to do a single thing. But once he has done his work in us, in our hearts, it is then our job to go out and do the work in our lives, in our families, in our world. To build the cities and bring him glory.

As this just hit me while reading the passage this week, I am still working out what exactly this means for me. What it is God is trying to teach me. But it seems, on the surface, that I should do less waiting for God to drop the perfect life in my lap and more creating of a life that will bring glory to Him who healed my heart and set me free.