Don’t be Scared to Follow

Picture1Fear is a subtle and sneaky thing. It steals good things, and turns them into bad things. It takes joy and excitement because of “what could go wrong.” And it happens so easily, and it happened to us a little while ago when we were trying to sell our house, and unsure why it hasn’t been moving.

And then through a series of unforeseen events, our house became sold. Which was great! This is something I had been stressing and worrying over, and it happened. But then rather than being excited, we got worried that we now have only have a little while to find another house.

All of a sudden this good thing, became almost a bad thing. All of a sudden something to celebrate became something to worry about. This is what fear does, but it also does something subtler and even more dangerous. It steals our gratitude towards God. Because all of a sudden rather than thanking God for what he did, we began to ask him about this worry or problem. Rather than appreciating the gift of our house selling, in his timing, we rushed forward to yet another issue for him to fix.

All of a sudden our focus shifted from God’s hand working in our lives, to what else we needed him to do in our lives.

But God is gracious, and good even when we miss the point.

So the next morning I went into my office to do my daily devotions. Still feeling a little apprehensive about everything. Knowing in my mind that God has the details worked out, but wanting to really know that in my heart. And the passage for my daily Scripture reading was, Number 13:31-14:25. A passage all about trusting, and not giving in to fear. A passage all about following where God has called you to go. A passage all about how God will provide, do miraculous things, and surprise you with the blessings he has for you when you trust. And in the margin I had wrote previously, “TAKE GODLY RISKS, Don’t be scared to follow”.

And while some people might just say it’s a coincidence that was the reading for today. Or some people might say I’m just reading into this, or it’s just random chance. All I can say to that is that it doesn’t feel that way. It feels like God was reminding me that he is with us, and has a future for us. It feels like God is reminding me that trusting in him is never wasted. It feels like God is drawing the attention back to him, and deepening my trust in him because that’s what it’s about.

So I share all this to just remind you of a few things. Don’t let fear steal the future God has for you. Don’t let worry shape your mind so much, that you lose trust in God. Don’t let the “what if’s” of life cloud the fact that God is with you, and for you. Don’t let our anxiety, and uncertainty stop us from taking Godly risks. Or as I needed to be reminded myself, “Don’t be scared to follow” in whatever it is that God has for you. Because the Israelites found out that fear just leaves you wandering in the desert, but trust is the thing that moves you forward.

Take the bite out of fear…

scooby-toy-1516278-640x480Here is the truth: fear drives us more than we’d like to admit.

For so many of us, myself included, fear can tempt us to make safe but not the best choices. Fear can tempt us into limiting what we reach for, or to not take the step we feel compelled to take. Fear seems to dampen our lives, to where we live with less expectations and simply seek to make it through. I believe that in general, fear always makes us live less than we are called to live.

But I believe too that the real power of fear is in how it lives unexamined. We let it whisper but don’t really let it speak. We let it tempt but not really acknowledge what it says. And I’ve found that through examining exactly what fear is sharing is one of the most helpful ways in overcoming it.

So what I do when I hear fear whisper, is I address it through asking…”what’s the worst”?

Because fear whispers to us that the worst will happen, but is never explicit about what the “worst” actually is. And that’s the power of fear, the unexamined and unnamed ominous “worst” out there. But once you name it, it loses its power.

So for example Krista and I are making a large change in our lives. And making this decision wasn’t easy because our lives are wonderful – but we felt called to something new and different. But here is what fear would whisper to me when we were praying about taking on a new job, new role, and new place of work:

  • What if you fail?
  • What if you can’t hack it?
  • What if you move, give up everything that is amazing here, and lose it all?

But honestly if you look at that what’s the worst? I fail, face some shame, have to start over, and if we lose everything and have to move in with my mom. I mean the literal worst is that we tried something and failed.

And this is how you beat fear.

You let fear tell you what’s the worst that can happen, but then never give it the last word. You think about the best, you think about what could come out of it, and you take the bite out of fear because normally the worst isn’t all that bad.

Fear wants to make it seem worse than it is, so you settle. But what if you don’t settle? What if you launch out and try that business, try that dream, try that thing you’ve been thinking about? Because settling never leads to your best, and fear is all about settling.

So push past it and see what happens.