Viewing entries tagged
fear

All These Things

All These Things

Have you ever been frustrated, looking for your keys, while you’re late for work, and haven’t had the chance to have breakfast or your coffee? Or how about having a looming deadline, and your kids won’t go to sleep, and all that stands between you and the deadline is a quick proof reading and hitting the send key?

What about this; being at your wits end in that relationship, feeling under appreciated, and feeling as though you are holding the weight of that relationship.

Aren’t those situations the worst?

The Worthy Unworthy

The Worthy Unworthy

What's keeping you from reaching your true God-given potential? Scripture says this, "Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible." (Matthew 19:26)

We talk about legacy at Freedom and what it means to leave something positive behind for our family, our community, and our world.

How excited do you get when you hear a story about a young person being the first in their family to graduate? Or a non-profit celebrating an anniversary of helping people for "X" number of years? Or a country gaining precious freedom from oppression?

What Motivates Your Response?

What Motivates Your Response?

How do you respond to disappointment? I ask this because disappointment is inevitable in life and I'm learning that how you respond makes all the difference. There was one major disappointing factor that I was not prepared for. The truth is, this should not have caught me by the surprise. But it did.

In my city. The place where I am raising my children. The place that I feel called to spend the rest of my ministry career, if it is in the Lord's will... I was hit by a menacing racial slur.

Get Up and Go

Get Up and Go

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Have you ever taken a look around and witnessed everyone around you moving while you stay stagnant? Picture a small bud in the middle of beautiful flowers. It’s stunted. It won’t grow. Connected to the same vine, yet for whatever reason, it is unable to burst forth with rich color. Have you ever felt like that? Many of us do. We are told the the cliche lines:

“Don’t compare yourself to other people.”

“Don’t worry you will hit your stride one day.”

“Oh, they cut corners, you are just going about things the right way.”

While there may be some truth to those comments, I think there is another dimension to us not reaching our goals we try not to look at.

Plainly, we don’t grow because we don’t go.

We talk about it. We pray about it. We read books about it. We make plans about it. But we don’t do anything about it.

I’m reminded of a story in Acts about the Day of Pentecost. The awesome time where these once scared and weak-willed rejects became bold witnesses of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus which resulted in God adding 3,000 people into the family of Christianity.

Maybe you’ve heard about the main character of the story, Peter--this dude was an epic failure. He talked a good game about standing for Christ even ‘til death. Then when death was presented, this guy ran like a pack of gazelles when the cheetahs show up!

He was a failure. But by the time of Pentecost, Peter boldly proclaimed JESUS to thousands of people, many of whom crucified JESUS.

What made this bud turn into a bold, rich in color, vibrant proclaimer of soli deo gloria? What can we learn about how to move from inaction to action? What encouragement do we get to help us reach our goals for the glory of God (because any other striving is vanity)?

  • Do the last thing God told you to do. And if He didn’t tell you to do anything, then ask what He will have you do. Jesus told the disciples to wait in Jerusalem until the Holy Spirit came. So they went to Jerusalem and stayed in Jerusalem.
  • Wait actively. They didn’t just sit there with their feet up complaining about society watching Fox News. They were actively waiting and praying and hoping and planning for the work ahead--for this new thing God was about to do.
  • Jump on the opportunity once God opens it up. This is unfortunately where it falls apart for most of us. We can be obedient and wait. We can even plan out everything down to the T or the last penny. But when the gun goes off, we stay at the starting line frozen in fear.

How do I know? Because I have done this time and time again (and again and again).

Look at the end of the story...

When the Holy Spirit fell, the Apostles and friends began speaking in foreign tongues and people thought they were drunk. Just then, pitiful Peter, with all boldness and power, got up and preached his heart out! People were convicted and God called people from death to life! Boom. New life, new ministry, God’s glory!

So why does everyone else seem to be progressing and reaching their goals in life and you’re not? Maybe, just maybe, it's not because you’re not qualified. Maybe it’s not because they are more connected than you are.

Maybe it’s because you’ve been slow to the punch.

It could be fear, laziness, doubt-- whatever it is, it’s paralyzing you. IT has to go! If not, kiss the sunshine goodbye because every dream you have will die.

So, you have two choices: continue to watch others live the life you’ve always dreamed of or live it yourself.

Invaded

Invaded

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Have you ever had a day when you felt off and you didn’t know why? I’ve been having these a lot recently, so after a few weeks of trying to figure it out on my own, I finally asked God. He’d been waiting patiently, of course, as He does for me from time to time. (to time to time… I’m not a very good “ask for help”-er.) He said, “Invaded.”

And I said, “Huh?” (Profound, I know. He gets me.)

He said, “You feel invaded.”

“By what exactly?”

“Everyone, including me.”

Ouch.

I never want God to feel like He’s invading me.

I want Him to have free reign to guide me and teach me, and yet here I was feeling interrupted and encroached upon by my very best friend, teacher, Father, and Creator. But I was also feeling the same with everyone else. Further reflection revealed two things:

  1. God was interrupting on purpose
  2. I had become a turtle.

Turtles are solitary creatures until it’s time for the baby making, and then they socialize and figure it out, but generally they prefer to be alone. When they feel violated, threatened, or afraid, they pull all of their vulnerable pieces into their shell and wait for danger to pass.

I was a turtle.

The past six months have been trying, to say the least. You don’t need details to understand, but, in short, my heart had been broken repeatedly. Forgiveness was offered, but the memories and the fresh sting were still very real and present. Trust was broken, relationships were severed, and my stress was skyrocketing. I knew all of these things were weighing on me, but I still felt like there was something else that was off. There was something happening internally that I couldn’t keep ignoring--the invasion.

I began to pull all of my vulnerable pieces inside my shell.

Once I was safely tucked away, the only thing I could do was digest. And even though I felt protected from people, I had also shielded myself from Jesus. I wasn’t letting anyone in. I became over-analytical (another favorite pastime of mine), unhealthy, and discouraged.

In order for a turtle to move, it has to be vulnerable, extend its soft pieces into the soil, stick its head and neck out, and push forward. It’s the same for us. We can’t grow inside our shell. We can’t move forward or backward or around in a circle until we get out of our comfort zone and allow something to happen. It might be bad, and that’s the risk, but it might be extraordinary, and that’s the gift.

“You feel invaded,” He said.

But He didn’t say it in a caring, empathic tone. He was not invited to my pity party, nor was He interested in attending. He was, however, interested in His daughter and why she was allowing herself to rot in a shell when He had given her so many gifts that were now going to waste.

“Are you done yet? Let me in,” is really what He meant. I extended a shaking paw and allowed my Father in, and He began to arm me.

The enemy loves to make us believe that he is in control. He makes us question each other, doubt each other, and hurt each other. He helps us make bad choices and revels when we really muck it up. He loves to see us in pain and in bondage and wrapped up “safely” in our turtle shells. He cultivates fear and then waters it and makes it hover over and suppress us.

But God arms us. His protection is physical, mental, emotional, environmental, and spiritual.

I have love to offer, joy to spread, and inspiration to share, but I can’t do it from inside my dark shell. He reminded me of that.

The invasion of others is inevitable.

Someone will hurt you. Someone will lie to you. Someone will betray you. People don’t always respect healthy boundaries. But God will protect you. God will heal you. God will remind you of truth. Because someone else will love you. Someone will be honest with you. Someone will honor you. They will respect your healthy boundaries, and in doing so, will allow you to feel safe in coming out of your shell.

Are you feeling invaded? Pray this with me today:

“Father God, I desire to have healthy relationships with myself, with people, and with you. I know that my shell is false safety and I want to fearlessly use my gifts for you. I receive your protection today. Your peace is my serenity, and I will allow it to guide my relationships, my decisions, and my thoughts. Invade me with Your presence, God. You are all I need. Thank you for teaching me, Lord, and for transforming my fear into faith. I love you, Jesus. - Amen.”