A question was asked of me: Are there any good fears? Immediately, I knew the answer. Yes. My last blog was titled Fear Displaced. It discussed how fear loses its place within us when we focus on Christ, but this question deserves a response for all to read as well. Fear, in the context of this blog, is to revere.
There are many benefits to living in this day and age. There are many comforts available. There are freedoms that allow us to be who we want to be and do what we want to do. It’s interesting to me that, along with the luxuries, haughtiness is powerfully present. The more we have, the more we feel we deserve. The higher we achieve, the poorer we treat those we feel to be less worthy. There is no reverence within to offer anyone or anything. It’s as if money, prestige, and wealth is the hierarchy of human existence. These have become the answers to many things, and yet they have brought us to a point of unintended self-importance and superiority.
In our blessings, we’re losing sight of one another as created beings. We forget that we’re all people trying to make it through, day to day. We’re failing to respect each another, let alone lift one another up. However, this observation needs to go a step deeper. Our poor behavior all stems from a lack of reverence toward God. In our enjoyment of present day living, we have become our own focus.
We act as though we are the creator rather than the created, as though we deserve what we’ve worked so hard to achieve. We treat God as though He had nothing to do with our accomplishments, and in our disregard, have grown cold to reverence.
I don’t want you to try, in your own power, to be kind to others, to appreciate what you’ve been blessed with, or to revere God who has blessed you. I simply want you to come close to Him. I pray that you choose to look to Him, focus on Him, talk to Him, get to know Him, and grow in Him.
When we are close to our Maker, when He becomes the center of our world, we can’t help but experience awe in Who He is and what He’s doing in and for our lives. Once we ask His Holy Spirit to fill us, His qualities overflow from within, bringing us to our knees in worship of His might and love. We revere Him so deeply it becomes a part of our very being. This relationship allows us to gain a respect for others that He has also created. We see what others do, we have compassion on them and their circumstances, we offer love and kindness, we notice, all through God’s eyes.
I pray that God opens our eyes and ears, not so that we live in fear of failure, but so that we can embrace fear, reverence, for Him, the Maker of heaven and earth, sea and sky, and the Creator of each one of us.
Fear. It doesn’t just cripple the moment, it taints all aspects of life. It distorts truth. What is perceived as real is far from reality. It hinders. It chains and oppresses. Fear is an entity, a life-robbing being which drapes its wrath about you, impersonating comfort until you’re comfortable in it.
Fear touches the vast crevices of life so that it’s something that can’t be disregarded or discarded. It seems as though it’s imbedded and permanent, part of the very thread that makes up the fabric of who you are and the life you’re living.
Fear. It influences decisions, dictates relationships, and designs schedules.
Consider what sways your decisions, and think on how much of your choices are controlled by fear. We fear others’ opinions, what we are lacking, what our choices today will mean for our tomorrow. We fear for our health and that of our loved ones and friends. We are afraid of death and dying and loss and sorrow. We are overcome by mind-altering grief due to fear that robs us of life and makes us ill.
Are you ready to live life? Are you ready to live fear free? Are you ready to open up your world? Are you ready?
I want us to instead focus on God. Talk to Christ always. Invite His Holy Spirit to dwell within you and grow in a deeply intimate relationship with Him. With the Holy Spirit living inside, God can guide you, encourage you, and fill you with His peace. Also, as He becomes more of a focus in your life, fear is naturally diminished. When we have Christ, first and foremost, at our center, when we choose to keep our eyes on Him, regardless of the circumstances in our life, His qualities fill us to overflowing. Though I know this and encourage it for others, I must confess my own shortcoming.
I’ve been terribly afraid to travel. For whatever reason, the passenger seat of a vehicle makes me overly anxious. During the drivers training of my two older daughters, they both asked me not to ride with them ever again as I was too anxious. It’s never fun to be in the passenger seat where the brake pedal just doesn’t exist. Believe me. I’ve searched for it many a time. My husband has dealt with my anxiety on trips and has at times pulled over and told me to drive.
I desperately want to not feel this way. Interestingly, I trust God with my life, and though I may not understand it, I do desire His will to be done, even when the day comes that it means my earthly death. My husband and I have talked often of traveling the country in the future so I can market my books and speak to audiences about that personal relationship with our Lord. I’m super hesitant, because I’m afraid to be the passenger in our RV but I’m also afraid to drive it. Additionally, I’m petrified to fly.
Ultimately, fear has made my life rather small. I am a homebody. I claim it and enjoy it, but deep inside, I wonder if it is so because it caters to my fears.
About three weeks ago, my second daughter turned twenty-one. She moved to the Los Angeles region just more than a year ago. She’s come home a couple times to visit and often suggests I visit her in LA to which I simply smile, knowing it’ll never happen. That makes me sad though. I’m feeling the limitations fear has put on me and the support I want to show my child. I’m not good at gift giving. I’ve always disliked the idea of giving out of obligation, and I struggle with finding the right gifts. Since Hannah was turning the magical twenty-one, I purchased her two tickets to the LA Winefest, a wine tasting in an outdoor setting in Los Angeles. I felt that her reaction was one of, let’s say, not excitement. She did suggest, however, that I come to it with her as there were two tickets.
I felt bad. I knew that the best gift was something I couldn’t give, my visit. After a lot of prayer and a discussion with my husband, I offered to fly out to see her. Her reaction was precious. From that day on I was anxious. I was filled with fear. Days were spent worrying about the flight, the drive into the city airport, parking, finding the right terminal. Never was I envisioning actually being with my daughter. Perhaps I feared death was imminent before reaching her.
This fear continued for nearly two weeks. I wasn’t excited in the least. My anxiety spread into many areas of my life. Peace was present but it was more of a resignation. One day, my husband was talking about my upcoming trip and commented about how great and relaxing it’ll be to be on vacation. Vacation, I questioned inwardly? Vacation? Never, in all this time, had I considered it vacation. Fear, death, an accident, yes, but vacation in beautiful California with my dearly loved daughter, no.
That word, vacation, hung with me all day long, and I realized that I wanted to believe that. Desperately I wanted to believe that. That was so much more wonderful a belief than the fear that had imbedded itself into my being. At some time that night, I felt like God freed me. I was able to be excited for a few days prior to my departure. On the day I was to leave, I woke early, showered, put my bags into the car, kissed my husband goodbye, drove my son to school, and headed out on my journey. The drive was wonderful as I worshipped and rejoiced, singing along with praise songs on Pandora. When I got close to the city and the traffic got more congested, I had no fear. When I saw a plane overhead, my heart leapt. I would’ve thought it was butterflies from fear, but it wasn’t. I felt, in that moment, that I had just opened a present and that present was the world and an extreme excitement filled me. The fear that had crippled was now unable to stop me from seeing how much bigger life was than just my own home. That revelation, the power of God in me overcoming my fears, caused tears to flow!
I arrived at the airport, got to park in overflow parking which cost less, made my way through security, and sat down to a light lunch fear free. I waited for my flight, boarded the plane, sat between two wonderful people who I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know, watched a movie, saw amazing sights of the country far below (part of which is in my next novel), and arrived to be hugged by my wonderful daughter!
I am sitting here in her living room in Burbank, California, sharing how awesome life is when we fill ourselves up with God so that His Being displaces the false realities of fear. Fear cripples a moment, God relaxes it, and the view of reality transforms. No longer hindered, anything is possible. Fear’s chains can no longer oppress. The comfort impersonated becomes a weight lifted. The view is so much greater now. I pray you, as well, can be filled to overflowing, displacing fear in the process and enjoy the life God has designed for you.
Ladies, You Are Valuable!
Many women are missing something in this life: value, empowerment, strength, the ability to be bold. Ladies, you are valuable! However, that value must come from God in order for empowerment, strength, and boldness to be supernatural and cause change. We must first realize we are valued daughters of the King!
To be the catalyst for change, we women must rely on Christ. We must recognize that we’re nothing without Him and that we’re valuable in His sight. He’s the Answer to any question or problem. He’s the Rock on which we stand, and we can trust Him completely. When we remain focused on Him, He fills us, and His qualities of joy, hope, peace, and love give comfort. There’s no greater blessing possible. In this Spiritual relationship, with His Spirit filling us to overflowing, we become beacons of light.
Women are Celebrated each March
Annually, March marks the celebrations of International Women’s Day, Harriet Tubman Day, and National Women’s History Month. In 2017, the International Women’s Day campaign theme was #BeBoldForChange which also certainly described Harriet Tubman who helped to free many slaves in her day. Her work was valuable to the lives of many! The theme for National Women’s History Month in 2017 was “Honoring Trailblazing Women in Labor and Business”. As I’d read through the Honorees found at the website of the National Women’s History Project (www.nwhp.org) something came to mind.
There are so many opportunities that God creates for us to excel as these women have, not only for ourselves but for the good of others. No matter our backgrounds or perceived limitations, when He is guiding us, God’s plans will be successful. He’s able to position us where He needs, reveal how valuable we are to Him, and nudge us to be bold!
Love, the Driving Force for Action
God is powerful. His direction is keenly sensed when we keep focused on Him. We understand we’re valuable and endeavor to demand that claim for others as well. This is why we challenge one another for better, boldly rise up for change that is good, and share in one another’s struggles. When Christ is at the center of such acts, we are able to be fearless in pursuit of His will so that many can experience joy and peace.
Love is and should be the driving force for such action, God’s love. His is a love that seeks to encourage and humbly support yet passionately advocates for freedom. Harriet Tubman stated that she could’ve freed many more slaves if they’d only known they were enslaved. Certainly, not everyone who’s struggling is aware there’s such a thing as freedom or that they’re even lacking it. Due to that, my prayer is that many seek God, get to know Him, and effectively remove Satan’s ability to impose fear in their lives.
From Us Individually to Us Corporately
God reaches each of us in His time. It’s a circle really. God draws us to Christ. In turn, Christ brings us close to God. He fills us with His Holy Spirit, directly impacting us with His love every day. A revelation of God’s love completes us. We understand how valuable we are, and we’re not afraid of conditions that would have restrained us from action previously. When He leads us, we can step boldly. In this, He has the ability to move us, shake us, change us, from us individually to us corporately. One light shining spreads to many, creating movement that is brilliant and bold.
Let me prod you to change, ladies. Focus on Christ, first and foremost, and let Him change you from the inside out. Take time to become filled with Him, filled with love for Him, grow to trust Him. Ultimately, God will emanate through you when your relationship is strong. At that point, when He prods, you won’t be afraid to act. With your Creator directing, you’ll move mountains!
Valuable ladies move mountains, whether they’re found in a home or a school, a relationship or an addiction! God may intend for you to be the strength and support of your family or be the creator of a corporation that employs many. He may have you care for those in your small sphere of influence or speaking encouragement to people in far off lands. Wherever it is that He guides, seek His will, and be obedient when He calls. Not one role is any more precious than another. You are valuable wherever He has you positioned! Remember, with Christ at your center, you can #BeBoldForChange.