Face Your Fear

Gideon was well acquainted with fear. He was hiding from his enemies when God came to him. He felt weak and ill-equipped when God laid out the plan.

Save Israel from the hand of Midian… – Judges 6:14

Gideon considered himself the lowest of the low in terms of potential warriors for the Lord. It seemed that God was really scraping the bottom of the barrel on this one. All he wanted to do was hide and survive.

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It’s a tempting way to live – hide and survive. But, when God calls you out, it is no longer a satisfying way to live. Even when the task at hand seems far more than you are capable of – especially then.

God looked at Gideon hiding from the world and called him a “mighty warrior” while he was still hiding. Knowing how God viewed him gave him the courage to step out and choose more for himself.

It’s tempting to stay within the comfort and familiarity of these walls. In a way, I hide from the enemy. And, the more I stay tucked away inside my safe place, the scarier it seems out in the world. Everything in me wants to simply hide and survive. Yet, I feel God pulling me.

It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of something and follow a crowd. That’s what happened with Gideon. God called him to save his people and all of the people gathered as if they were prepared and willing to help. Until God gives them an out.

Whoever is fearful and trembling, let him return home and hurry away from Mount Gilead. Then 22,000 of the people returned, and 10,000 remained. – Judges 7:3

Here’s your chance. If you want to give in to your fear, you can go home. And 22,000 did just that. The first people eliminated from being a part of what God was about to do were those who lived as slaves of fear.

Then comes one of the best verses in Scripture.

And the Lord said to Gideon… – Judges 7:4

Why is it one of the best? Because, after 22,000 men had fled from fear, Gideon was still standing beside the Lord awaiting his next instruction.

Gideon was not going to go home. In fact, he was going to face the very enemy he had been hiding from when God first came to him.

I don’t know about you, but I want to be a part of what God is doing. I want to be counted among those who stayed to fight.

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Happy Monday, my friends!

Stacy

 

 

The Thick Darkness

candleIf we think that following God means a life that never extends beyond our comfort zone, we have greatly misunderstood Him.  Often, God calls us to do the very thing that sends fear coursing through our body.

What then?  How will we respond when God commands us to face our fear of failure or rejection? What if God calls us into the dark place of loss and devastation?  We must be willing to go wherever He is.

Now when all the people saw the thunder and the flashes of lightening and the sound of the trumpet and the mountain smoking, the people were afraid and trembled, and they stood far off… – Exodus 20:18

There is a passage in 1 Kings that I have read many times and I’ve heard many sermons preached from it.  It talks about God being, not in the earthquake and fire, but in a whisper.  That is true – sometimes we look for a big production from God and miss His still small voice.

How do we respond, however, when He does come in thunder and lightening?  We like the idea of a gentle whisper, but are we still anxious to draw near when there is a smoking mountain and a thick darkness?  What happens when fear stands between where we are and where He is?  What then?

The people stood far off, while Moses drew near to the thick darkness where God was.  – Exodus 20:21

As people of God, we must draw near to Him wherever He may be.  We must have the faith that says, as did  Mary Gardiner Brainard, I would rather walk with God in the dark than go alone in the light.  

When God is calling us into a place that seems dark and scary, we cannot stand far off in fear.  We must, like Moses, embrace the thick darkness if that is where we find Him.

Trusting God’s Provision

Lack of provision is my biggest fear.

It seems, no matter how many times God provides for my needs, I fear that this time may just be the time that He doesn’t come through. It’s a constant cycle of me fearing, God providing, me repenting, only to end with me fearing once more.

Here I am in Exodus following the children of Israel through the wilderness. I hear their grumbling and, for the first time, recognize it as fear. He freed them, but would He protect them? He protected them, but would He feed them? He fed them, but would He remain with them?

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Then the Lord said to Moses, “Behold, I am about to rain bread from heaven for you…” – Exodus 16:4

The Lord promises His provision. He tells them that, come morning, they would be filled with bread. You would think that they would have rushed out at sunrise to gather up the bread. God had never failed to keep His word to them.

Yet, they seem to look around hesitantly. They see something on the ground, but it isn’t something they have seen before.

When the people of Israel saw it, they said to one another, “What is it?” For they did not know what it was. – Exodus 16:15

As I read those verses, I just kept thinking that we do not always recognize God’s provision. Perhaps, it’s because we have our preconceived notions of how we thought He would provide. God’s way of providing often includes something new. Maybe it’s a new job that we didn’t even want. A new city. New friends. Sometimes, God may take away something that was no longer working for us in order to provide something better. It can be scary. We have to ask ourselves, “Do we want God to provide or not?”

bread

Make no mistake; God will provide.

Just don’t be afraid when you look around and think, “What is it?”

Grab Fear by the Tail

I only have a few moments this morning. Two children are doing math, two are playing and the baby is crying. It is very loud at the moment, y’all!

I just wanted to share a quick little word from my reading this morning. I have made it into the book of Exodus (yay, me!) and read the conversation between God and Moses. Basically, it went something like this:

God: Go and speak.

Moses: Why me?

God: Go and speak.

Moses: I can’t.

God: Go and speak.

Moses: They won’t listen.

God: Go and speak.

Don’t you love how our excuses never change God’s instructions?

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Then, God tells Moses to throw down his staff. Upon hitting the ground, the staff becomes a serpent. Moses took off running because, hello, snake on the ground.

Moses ran from it. But the Lord said to Moses, “Put out your hand and catch it by the tail.” – Exodus 4:3-4

The staff becomes a snake. Moses runs in fear. God says to grab it by the tail.

I wonder what it is that you are currently running from. What is it that you fear and are not wanting to deal with?

Perhaps, God is calling you to reach out and grab it by the tail.

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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 ❤