Over the past few weeks I have been struggling a lot with fear. So much so that I’ve been turning my blessings into burdens. Let me explain…
For a long time I’ve been praying for God to use me in really big ways. I’ve been praying for God to turn me into a leader, and use me in the church. I’ve been praying for God to advance me in my career. I’ve been praying for God to mature me and mold me into a warrior for his kingdom. And God has answered my prayers.
God has recently been giving me opportunities to get more involved in church, and given me huge responsibilities in work. And I have been absolutely terrified to take them!
It’s so odd. I pray for God to turn me into a leader and to use me in bigger ways. And yet when he does or gives me the chance to I get filled with this enormous fear and anxiety. I worry so much that I won’t be able to live up to God and people’s expectations. I feel unready. I have this overwhelming fear that I will fail and that people will look to me and I won’t be enough.
I’ve got to say that fear is very crippling. It keeps us from trying new things, and doing things I know will be good for me. It keeps me stuck in one place rather than moving forwards. Instead of growing, it makes me want to revert back to old and comfortable ways. It keeps me from taking risks. Fear is powerful.
So when God started answering my prayers and giving be these blessings of opportunities I would always mess them up, because of fear. These exciting new experiences God has in store for me, I warped into fretful nightmares. As God gave me chances to lead, I hesitated. As he gave me the chance for new relationships, I feared the commitment. When he gave me an entire newspaper, I complained that it was too much work. I keep on turning God’s wonderful blessings that I should’ve been thankful for, into burdens that weighed my soul’s joy down.
So what’s the antidote? How can I combat this fear that keeps me in a prison, unable to move? The answer is faith. For me, this has always been my greatest issue. I have such little faith and trust in God. I continually fail to trust in him and depend on him.
But thanks be to God! Because faith isn’t something we ourselves can muster up with our own might. But faith is a gift from God. And if we ask for it, he will give us more faith.
“Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” Romans 5: 1-2
When God answers our prayers to grow, and change us, mold us into better followers and image bearers of his light, it’s not a storybook process. It can be painful. It can be filled with doubt. You can be met with the decision to choose comfort over sacrifice. But through it all, if we pray for greater faith, and we choose God over the easy way out it will result in beautiful things that we have yet to imagine for our life.
I also feel like a step towards greater faith is action. We need to use the talents and passions God has given us to serve God and his people. That’s what God has really been showing me through all of this. I’ve been praying for God to use me, and this is how we do it. We act and we serve with what God has given us.
“Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them; if prophesy, in proportion to our faith, if service, in our serving, the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness…Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.” Romans 12: 6-8, 11-12
In order to lead people, God needs to first turn us into an example of him. We need to grow firmer in faith. We need to use our gifts to serve him. We need to become less like ourselves, and more like him. And that is a process. But through it all God’s grace is on us. And that’s really all that we need.
So I know that I need to fight this fear. I need to fight it by actively turning away from fear, and turning to God. Because when we depend on him rather than ourselves, there is nothing to fear. Because God is a God who keeps his promises and answers our prayers.
Although I feel like fear was plaguing my life for some time, God’s blessings and patience with me was greater than my own shortcomings. I recently had this vision. Jesus and I were climbing up this mountain together. But I kept on wanting to stop and go down the mountain. But rather than Jesus being angry at me. He waited. He reached out his hand for me until I was ready to climb up again. It was such a beautiful reminder that Jesus is loving, kind, and extremely patient with us. In times of fear all I need to do is depend on Jesus to get me through it.
I think overcoming fear is what takes us from immature followers, to mature adults in Christ who live by faith. That’s what I’m dealing with now. I’m learning. I’m still making mistakes. But I know that God has been challenging me for my own good. In order to live a big life for God, you have to take the steps to get there.
I could go on and on, but I’ll stop there. I hope you enjoyed this mini-confessional of mine on the topic of fear. Thanks for reading! Until next time!