Overcoming fear is hard, but it can be done. Good news: You don’t have to do it alone. As the song says, “The God of Angel Armies” is always by our side. In His strength we stomp out this enslaving enemy emotion that desires to keep us in bondage.
This bondage to fear keeps us from realizing and developing the awesome God-given potential that He placed in each one of us. Staying in the place of fear enslaves us so there’s no opportunity to experience the many joys that can come with the gift of just being alive. It keeps us from trying new things. It keeps us from the enrichment we can receive from meeting and getting to know new people. It keeps us stuck where we are so we don’t continue developing the amazing person we are. It keeps us from hope. The opposite of living in fear is living with courage driven confidence.
So how can we move forward to a place of courage and confidence?
- Believe the truth about ourselves. We are wonderfully and uniquely made by God. We all have good gifts and abilities that God in love gave us.
- Find ways to develop our gifts and abilities and use them to bless others.
- Say no to comparison thinking or competitive motivation.
- Get rid of negative, self-defeating thoughts. Say no to the lies of the enemy!
- Be willing to take risks and do new things that are out of our comfort zones. Don’t allow the worry of failure to keep you from moving forward. If it’s not perfect, it’s okay and you’re still okay.
Decide today to do something that will move you forward in conquering any fear that may be immobilizing. We gain courage by action. We gain courage by right beliefs. We gain courage by faith in what God says. “I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.” Isaiah 41:11
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During the hot days of summer I sometimes walk on the indoor track above the gym at my church. During one of my Wednesday walks I heard a basketball coach give a strong speech to the young men he was training at a basketball camp. His words were powerful and are applicable to anyone desiring to win in this journey called life. The speech was full of “Ifs”.
- If you say I’m tired, you’re tired.
- If you say I can’t do this, you probably can’t.
- If you say I can’t get better, you probably can’t.
- If you know it’s Hump Day and are thinking “Yea, it’s Hump Day, this is nearly over”, then these are wasted hours.
- If you say, I can improve my skills, you will.
- If you say, I’m going to conquer this weakness, you will.
- If you really get into these workouts, you will get stronger.
- If you work in unity as a team, you will succeed.
I knew these words were meant not only for these young athletes, but for me as well. Life is difficult. Today and everyday of my life I need to get into the game to win, not just to get by, barely holding on. Unfortunately, some of my days are lived that way. But, the good news is I don’t have to live that way. I’m to live it with gusto and with Jesus I can. He is my strength and joy who gives me all that I need to really live. He is my “yes you can”!
I will never forget October 23rd, the day my mother went to be with Jesus. I was very grateful to be there during her last two and a half weeks of life. We kept her at home and it was a privilege to be there when she stepped from this life on Earth into the arms of Jesus, her Savior.
The morning of the 23rd, I woke up about 2:00 a.m. All of a sudden I had a memory I’d not thought of in ages. I remembered as a little girl catching Mother sneaking under the Christmas tree, unwrapping a gift, and then rewrapping it. She was so curious and eager about gifts that she just couldn’t wait until the 25th. That memory evoked such joy inside me. I was so excited because I knew she was getting ready to experience Christmas everyday. Christmas is all about Jesus and she was going to see Him face to face very soon. I had visions of her getting ready to start unwrapping gift after gift. I knew that the unwrapping of those gifts was going to continue for eternity because she had put her complete faith in Jesus for her salvation. “For by grace you are saved through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift.” Ephesians 2:8
That morning as I was sitting by her side, she took her last breath. Oh the unspeakable joy Daddy and I had in that moment and throughout the day. I will never forget the words out of Daddy’s mouth at the end of the day, “It’s been a very good day!”
What gifts have you opened, lately?
“Live your life with eternity in mind” is a main theme of The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren. That truth made an impact on me. However, I realize that, somewhere along the line, I lost that focus . . . but I want to return. The thought that’s been going on in my head and spirit is that I need to invest time every day intentionally unwrapping the incredible gifts He has already given me. I believe that focusing daily on these “best gifts” will translate into becoming more eternally minded.
- His perfect love for me. His love is unconditional, unending, accepting, relational and intimate. His love is not dependent on anything I do. His is a love that’s with me in the happy times and carries me through sorrow and the messy trials of life. His love overwhelms and satisfies me.
- God’s gift of salvation that was bought at a great price through the death of God’s perfect son, Jesus. This gift forgives my sin, makes me His child, and ensures I can live abundantly every day and will one day go to heaven.
- God’s constant amazing presence. In His presence there is fullness of joy.In this new year of 2015 may a day not pass that we don’t thank our Heavenly Father for these three amazing gifts.
Photo courtesy of www.flickr.com/photos/pictoquotes/10618627255/
A few weeks ago I was cleaning out a drawer. I always stand amazed at how many different things I can stuff in one drawer. Needless to say, I threw out a lot and the drawer needs to be gone through again as it is still quite full. I never know what I’ll find when I tackle a drawer. That day I found a copy of something that captured my attention. I found a copy of a letter I had written to someone whom I love very much. I mailed her a copy and for some reason, I made a copy for myself. Maybe God knew I needed to re-read it one day. It was written on September 18, 2006.
We had had a phone conversation that left me saddened. I was saddened for this one who felt very insignificant. She had the habit of speaking very negatively about herself and no matter how much I would try and encourage her and build her up, it was to no avail. And for some reason, it seemed she had regret over things . She is one of the most beautiful women I’ll every know. She is talented, kind, sweet, and the list could go on and on. She is admired by many who know her. So, after the call, I wrote her a letter. These are some of the words I wrote:
From our phone conversation it seemed like you were having a day where you felt unloved. I’m so sorry you felt that way. I think we can all have days like that at times. That’s why I believe understanding the deep love God has for us is the only remedy to the desperation and misery we feel on those days. He loves me, warts and all. He loves you, warts and all, no strings attached. It’s not a conditional love, its an unconditional love. There’s nothing you nor I could ever do that will change that fact. We all do things we regret. God has provided the most wonderful way to live. It’s forgiveness. Life is a journey and part of that journey will include times where someone injures us or we injure others. With God’s help, we can forgive those who have hurt us and we can seek to be forgiven by those we have hurt. God forgives us when we mess up. On this life journey we learn, we grow. Hurts can be healed. Broken hearts can be mended. We will stay connected to each other, but I do have a favor to ask. Please try to focus on the positive things in life, with the most important thing being to understand your value in Christ. That’s where your self worth lies. You are infinitely loved and accepted by Him. I pray you will understand the depth of God’s love and accept that love through faith.
I believe that letter made a difference in her life, even though we never discussed it. I knew I was to write it and I prayed the truths seeped down deeply into the pores of her soul. It’s so easy to seek to find validation and worth from things and people. We will always come up feeling empty, lacking, and discouraged when we seek for love, acceptance, and value in those places. These places are temporal and imperfect. There’s only one perfect place to find it. And, He has a name: Jesus.