Last week on my Instagram stories I asked people to share with me their fears - specifically the ones keeping you from diving into what you feel the Lord is asking you to do.
I'm reading a book called "You are the Girl for the Job" by Jess Connolly which is basically an encouragement for women to rise to whatever it is the Lord has placed on their heart, to stop doubting yourself, and move forward in faith knowing the Lord has brought you to this point in your life. I've been reading a chapter a day (or as often as the quiet moments allow) as part of my Bible study and last week I read the chapter all about fear and failure. This is something I think every single person on the face of the planet deals with! These fears however have the amazing ability to keep us from taking even the slightest tippy toe forward. They have a way of locking us up in chains convincing ourselves the risk just isn't worth taking.
Isn't that what the enemy wants though?
Friends, if the enemy sees you as a powerful woman of God and knows he doesn't have an ounce of a chance at derailing your relationship with your Heavenly Father, you better believe he will keep you questioning your purpose and distracting you with fear.
The majority of the fears my community wrote to me about had to to do with failure, disappointing yourself and others, being unqualified, being rejected, and misinterpreting what you think God is saying to you.
And because I asked y'all to share your fears with me, I'll share my fear with y'all. My biggest fear is not being enough. I fear getting to Heaven one day and God saying to me "You could have done more, Miranda." Not only do I fear this with my relationship with God, but I also fear this with my relationship with my husband and children. This fear causes me to work, work, work, work, work to the point of thinking I can outwork God all in an effort to please Him. Its sinful, its misguiding, its a trap the enemy wants me to fall into over and over again.
We can't understand God's ways. The Bible tells us in Isaiah 55:8 "My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither or your ways my ways." And as women of God, we know this, but instead of trusting the Lord with the desires of our heart, often times we tell ourselves "Well since I can't figure it out, I won't do anything." We convince ourselves doing nothing is better than moving forward in a way that we have no ability to understand. Let me reference the parable of the talents in Matthew 25. Before leaving for travel a master entrusted three of his servants talents - to one he gave 5, to another he gave 3, and to the last he gave 1. When the master returned he asked the servants how they used the talents. The first two servants put their talents to work and doubled their portions, but the last servant told his master he hid the talent because "he was afraid." In the parable the master calls the last servant "wicked and slothful" and took the talent and gave it to the first servant.
What talent are you hiding because of your fear?
What calling on your life are you buying because you are afraid?
ACCEPTING THE FEAR
I am gonna start here by sharing with you a coping mechanism I have come up for with dealing with difficult things in my life including fear. I have used this on myself for years and this is also how I work with my children on dealing with their own fears. You have to start by validating your fears. One thing I've learned from years of living with anxiety and depression is I have to first acknowledge the fear and then give myself a reason as to why that fear is real in my life.
For example, one of my children has been extremely anxious about attending a new school. This child goes around and around about it in their head, losing sleep over it, convincing themselves they simply can't do it. In working with my child, I first tell them "Yes, it will be hard..." I acknowledge the difficulty of the situation and we talk about the things they are most fearful of happening in the situation.
Regardless of how logical or illogical our fears are or how crazy they may sound to someone else, those fears feel VERY real to the person feeling them. If we try to diminish or move past them without acknowledging them, the fear will only grow. But if we take the time to look the fear square in the face, see it, validate that it is gripping us, we realize the fear is nothing more than an emotion.
I then tell my child, "You can do hard things." We talk about bravery and walking through hard times and how they make us grow stronger. We talk about how every season of life brings us to a new road and we must decide to take the road or sit in the fear of moving forward.
Take a moment to do that right now. Think about the fear that is keeping you from stepping fully into His calling on your life. Look at your biggest fear square in the face. Acknowledge it. Play the What If game with it asking yourself "What If I fail?", "What if I'm Not Qualified", "What if I've heard the Lord Wrong?", "What if someone talks about me after I do it?" Tell yourself how difficult that fear is. Tell yourself failure sucks....People talking about me would suck....Being rejected would feel awful...Putting myself out there to have no one even acknowledge my hard work would feel terrible. Whatever it is take a second to have a moment with your fear. How ever long you need, take it, but just know when you start reading again, you will never get to do that again.
I can tell you with great confidence that if for some reason you have heard the Lord incorrectly, He will still love you. Hebrews 13:5 tells us "He will never leave us or forsake us" and it doesn't have a clause saying "unless of course you hear Him incorrectly." Lean into the promise given to us in Proverbs 3:6 "In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your path."
THE OTHER SIDE
I am a firm believer that every single thing in life has two sides. If you are going to so whole heartedly STOP movement in your life according to what God has called you to do because of fear, you have to be just as willing to look at the other side. What is the opposite of fear?? COURAGE.
Courage is the side that doesn't hold fear. It moves in confidence. It is a side that isn't debilitating and it sure doesn't look to what other people are saying or thinking. On this side, we don't even care if failure is an option because we are walking boldly in faith.
A really good friend of mine who is an entrepreneur gave me some amazing advice 10 years ago that has stuck with me for years. She probably doesn't even know she impacted my life so much with this one statement. She was talking to me about when she decided to open her own hair salon. She asked herself if she decided to say YES is this big decision would she be okay if she failed. Ultimately she said yes. She was willing to risk failure because she was just as equally willing to risk success.
Now take the time to sit on the side of courage. Look courage directly in the eye. Feel it. Accept it. Tell yourself how great it would be to be walking according to what the Lord has asked of you. Think about that for a second -- being used by the Lord because you are following His path for your life. How awesome would it feel to succeed, to grow, to become something you never thought you could be? Allow yourself to live in this moment. Have a moment with courage. Doesn't if feel so much better than fear?
Friends, this is a daily practice for me. I'm not naturally courageous. I question so many things in my life. So many times I have been willing to let really good things go because the good got hard. Moving through hard things has always been difficult for me. I am very much so a "live in the moment" type of person so if that moment doesn't feel the way I want it to feel, I want to run away as fast as possible. I'm learning though HARD doesn't necessarily mean BAD. Sometimes the best things in life lie on the other side of hard.
I hope this has been an encouragement to you to not sit in fear. The longer you sit in fear, the more comfortable you become and accept it as a part of your life. Fear was never meant to control our life. Perfect love drives out all fear!
Before I go I want to acknowledge those with anxiety. Anxiety in itself can be debilitating and many times it has absolutely nothing to do with fear. If you find yourself feeling anxious often and are able to easily talk yourself out of everyday situations because of your anxiety, I encourage you to talk to someone and get help. There are professionals that can help you function so your anxiety doesn't control your life.