Dare to be Disappointed

And Israel said to Joseph, “I never expected to see your face; and behold, God has let me see your offspring also.” – Genesis 48:11 ESV

As far as Israel knew, his son had been dead for years. He had no reason to expect to see Joseph’s face again on earth. No reason to hope for a surprise reunion. It would never have even occurred to him to ask for such a thing.

Isn’t that just like God to go above and beyond?

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Have you ever looked at your life and thought, “I never expected…”? I know I have.

And I can’t help but wonder what other mysteries I may have missed out on.

You do not have because you do not ask. – James 4:2 ESV

Why don’t we ask? Many times, we fear disappointment. Our longings come from this tender place within us and we fear the damage that another disappointment may cause.

What if we didn’t fear disappointment? What if, instead, we lived boldly unafraid?

Then, we too could say, ” I never expected…and, behold, God…”

Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think… – Ephesians 3:20 ESV

What are you not asking for because you fear disappointment?

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Stacy ❤

4 Steps to Living Unafraid

Adam was afraid in Genesis 3 and he hid in the bushes.

Sarah was afraid in Genesis 18 and she lied.

Lot was afraid in Genesis 19 and he hid in a cave.

Isaac was afraid in Genesis 26 and he lied.

That seems to be the go-to response to fear. We hide or we lie. Sometimes, we do both. What else are we supposed to do?

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How should we respond when fear rears its ugly head? When we get that diagnosis? When there is more month than money? When friends walk away? When jobs are deleted? When hearts get broken and dreams get dashed?

We could lie.

Everything is fine.

I can handle it.

We could hide.

We could stay in our pajamas and binge-watch Making a Murderer on Netflix. We can skip church and cancel plans with friends.

The enemy would love for us to lie and hide. The problem is that lying and hiding never takes away the fear. It only covers it in shame. What should we do when we feel the anxiety creep in and the tension take over?

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Jacob and Esau were brothers.  Many years ago, Jacob had lied and stolen his brother’s blessing. When he learned that Esau intended to kill him, Jacob fled for his life. Now, after much time had passed, God told Jacob to go back home.

Then Jacob was greatly afraid and distressed. – Genesis 32:7 ESV

Not just nervous. Not a little uncomfortable. Jacob was greatly afraid. He did four things that helped him be obedient in the face of his fear.

4 Steps to Living Unafraid

  1. Turn to God. “And Jacob said, ‘O God…” (Genesis 32:9.) What if our first response to fear was prayer?
  2. Acknowledge your place before God. “I am not worthy…” (Genesis 32:10.) What if we didn’t try to solve our own problems and, instead, realized that we were never meant to go it alone?
  3. Confess your fear. “I fear him…” (Genesis 32:11.) What if we didn’t play the I’m-okay-you’re-okay game?
  4. Remember God’s promise. “But you said…” (Genesis 32:12.) What if we stopped focusing on our fears and, instead, pondered God’s promises?

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Let’s begin, today, living unafraid.

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Stacy ❤

 

 

Fear of Failing as a Parent

One of the areas where I am most sensitive is my role as a mother. If my husband asks something homeschool related and the girls don’t know the answer, I immediately feel like I am failing them.

I just want so much for them. I want more for them than I, with my human limitations, can provide. I am afraid that I am a bad mother. I think that is the appeal of things like Instagram. We can post a picture of something we have done well, receive affirmation and feel good about ourselves in that moment. Please do not read any judgement in that. We all need someone to say, “Good on you.” every now and then.

As I live intentionally unafraid this year, I am tracking fear through Scripture. I am amazed at how often it is mentioned and I haven’t even made it out of Genesis.

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I have been thinking about Hagar for a couple days and how she was sent off into the wilderness with her child, Ishmael.

And she departed and wandered in the wilderness of Beersheba. – Genesis 21:14 ESV

Eventually, the meager supplies she set out with ran out. Hagar, convinced that the boy is about to die, places him under a bush. Scripture tells us that she “sat opposite him, lifted up her voice and wept.” Is there any cry quite like the cry of a mother who can do nothing to help her child?

Something about the story kept coming back to me.

And God heard the voice of the boy…

“What troubles you, Hagar? Fear not, for God has heard the voice of the boy where he is.” – Genesis 21:17

Do you see it? Hagar is the one crying out and twice in one verse we are told that God heard the boy.

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It’s as if God is reminding Hagar that she is not the only one watching over Ishmael. We are afraid to fail as parents because we are, often, under some delusion that we are the ones ultimately in control of their lives.

We want to take all of the credit for their successes and all of the blame for their failures. We forget that the God who knew them before He ever created them is more than capable of caring for them.

We can know that, whatever mistakes we make as parents, God hears our children where they are.

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Stacy ❤

Separation Anxiety

The question keeps coming back to me.

Why was Adam afraid?

I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid… – Genesis 3:10 ESV

What was it about his nakedness that caused him fear? Granted, I can’t think of anything more horrifying than suddenly realizing you were standing in the middle of a garden without a stitch on. Yet, in this case, it had to be more.

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Then, I read about Cain.

from your face I will be hidden…and whoever finds me will kill me… – Genesis 4:14 ESV

When Cain realized that part of his punishment was being banned from God’s presence, he feared for his very life.

There it was – this link between fear and separation from God. Perhaps, that is what Adam saw coming as he hid in the bushes from God. Did he fear a break in the perfect fellowship he had previously had with Him?

There is no security apart from His presence. Fear will pounce anytime we separate ourselves from God. We can not have the protection of God without the presence of God and, somewhere deep inside, even Adam knew that was a dangerous situation.

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Several generations later, Jacob is told to take his family to Egypt. Knowing that Jacob may feel some anxiety, God instantly reassures him.

Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt…I myself will go down with you… – Genesis 46:3-4 ESV

There it was again – that link between the presence or absence of fear and the presence or absence of God. God’s presence is the antidote to fear. His perfect love casts out fear. I’m realizing that, when I begin to feel fear and anxiety creep in, it is because I have begun to hide from His presence.

Like Adam, I know that I have disobeyed and I hide. I become afraid because, like Cain, I know that a life without the presence of God is a dangerous thing indeed. So, when fear begins to rise I remind myself that, like Jacob, I am promised God’s continual presence.

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Stacy ❤

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Living unafraid for 365 days

Fear of Missing Out

FOMO – it’s a thing. It stands for “fear of missing out.” While the slang term is new, the feeling is as old as time.

It began in the garden with the serpent calling God’s motives into question. Satan planted the smallest seed of doubt and, just like that, Eve feared that she was missing out on something. She became convinced that God was withholding something good from her.

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It’s possibly the greatest danger to come along with the use of social media. We have this glimpse into people’s lives and we forget that we are only seeing what they want us to see. We forget that every image is filtered and cropped.

As we study other people’s activities and relationships, Satan begins to plant seeds of doubt.

You are missing out.

They are having a great time.

Their lives are so much more fun than yours.

It wasn’t true in the garden and it isn’t true now. Can we all just accept that no one is having a great time all the time? We all have good times. We all have bad times. We are not missing out.

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Just the other day, I was scrolling through my Facebook feed and saw that several people I knew had gotten together. My first reaction was that I was missing out on something fun. I feared that because I wasn’t involved in that particular gathering, I was going to be on the outside looking in from now on.

FOMO.

Thankfully, I have been pondering fear and my determination to live unafraid for 365 days. I stopped that thought train right in its tracks. I am finding that to be the key to living unafraid – taking every thought captive.

take every thought captive to obey Christ. – 2 Corinthians 10:5 ESV

It isn’t as easy as it sounds. But I’m getting better.

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Stacy ❤