Joshua 1:9 – Haven’t I commanded you: be strong and courageous? Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (HCSB)
Fear can give a quick jump in heart rate that soon passes or fear can be paralyzing. Fear can be amusing or life altering. Fear can take control of a moment or control of your life. Recently I realized I have allowed fear to become my idol, giving it more power than God in my life. Several years ago I felt God giving me a directive, but instead mimicking Isaiah’s “I’m ready to go” (Isaiah 6:8), I was more like Moses with “I can’t do that.” (Exodus 3:11). God answered me much like He answered Moses – “I’ve taken care of everything. Don’t worry about it.” (Exodus 3:12), but I allowed Fear to build on the foundation of my low self-esteem to create a wall of panic and doubt. Some of my fears proved to be true, which made the wall even more substantial. Time after time I was Gideon asking for a sign (Judges 6). Time after time God answered, but Fear told me I needed more. When I should have been fierce, I was frightened. I continued to question God and continued to point out the flaws in His plan. I was so focused on the “what if” my eyes lost sight of the “I AM”. In Judges 6:15 Gideon asks “How can I save Israel?” and then went on to explain his shortcomings. Instead of being electrified, Gideon was terrified. He used the words “how can I”, but he was saying “I can’t”. In verse 16 God answers “I will be with you.” Instead of thinking, “Well, that changes everything!”, Gideon is thinking “yeah, but” and begins to ask for proof that it really is God talking. Often, like Gideon, I feel that I need to explain things to God and give Him a clear picture of the situation. God answers and I ask for a sign ….. and another sign ….. and another. I may begin to march out with self-confidence and tenacity but Fear blocks my way and I become shaken and timid. I knew that I could not accomplish anything on my own, and I was right about that, but He never even hinted that I was on my own. Isaiah 41:10 says I don’t need to be faint-hearted because He is God and He is holding my hand. Peter was able to walk on water until he took his eyes off Jesus and then Fear took over (Matthew 14:29-30). Fear kept Gideon’s eyes focused in the wrong direction, but he had to turn his eyes away from himself to see God (Judges 6). When my eyes are on Fear, I am focused on people’s criticisms, comparisons, and even my own opinion of my abilities. When I turn my eyes to God those things are no longer in my line of sight. To paraphrase Paul in Romans 9: 31 “since God has my back, what difference does it make about what people think or do?” Fear is a bully waiting to pounce, but God says “Don’t worry. I’m with you and nothing can take Me away.” (Romans 8:35-39)
Exodus 3:11a – but Moses said to God, “Who am I, that I should go……..”
2 Corinthians 12:9 – “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
I am drinking my coffee this morning and still smiling from the events of a conference I recently attended. I was included in a gathering of women – women of various ages and at various stages in their lives. We laughed; we cried, and oh, how we talked! The theme for our meeting was “words”, and there were plenty of words – words of prayer, words of sharing, words of encouragement, even a new word that sprang from a mispronunciation of another word! At one of the sessions, glass tiles were randomly placed before us so that we could each make a necklace. My tile had the word “believe” on it. When I saw my word tile, I had no words of my own because I am convinced that my random word tile is actually a word from You. I am the modern day Moses of Exodus 3 and 4. I believe in You, but I need to believe in what You can do through me. I believe that You told me to do something, but I don’t believe I am accomplished enough to do it (Exodus 3:11). I believe that You are above all others, but like Moses, I believe that I am too inferior to accomplish anything. I believe there are people who speak in Your name, but I don’t believe that I am one of them (Exodus 4:10). I believe that You tell me to step out, but I don’t believe I can do more than take tiny steps (Exodus 4:1). I believe You are there when I am sure of the direction but sometimes forget to believe You are also there when I am unsure of the next path. I have come to believe that my reluctance is not a sign of my inabilities, and especially not humility, but instead is a type of unbelief. I now see and believe that I have been refusing to join You in Your work, and in doing that, I was not believing in Your ability to work through me. I believe that You remind me as you reminded Moses, that You gave me the gift to speak and You tell me to use the gift You gave to me (Exodus 4:11-12). When I question and offer excuses, You answer “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness’” (2 Corinthians 12:9). When, like Moses, I argue that You need to send someone else, I am hinting that I don’t want to do it because I don’t believe You will come through with Your promise to make me capable. I believe that You are capable of equipping others but need to believe that You are capable of equipping me. Through obedience, Moses became a powerful leader—powerful enough to change the course of history and a powerful man of faith. I don’t know that I’ll ever be a powerful leader, but I do believe I can be known as a powerful woman of faith. I believe that You are Creator of the Universe, and I believe that You are the creator of me. I believe that You knew me before I was even formed in the womb (“I chose you before I formed you in the womb; I set you apart before you were born.” – Jeremiah 1:5) and I believe that You knew my shortcomings. I believe that You are capable of equipping me for the work to which You have called me. Thank You, Lord, for Your words.