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Posts Tagged ‘fear’

The Saturday between Good Friday and Easter can be spent in a frenzy of activity, scrambling to buy jelly beans and chocolate bunnies, baking hams and pies, scrubbing bathrooms, and laying perfect dinner tables.

Or maybe this day was spent in reflection, contemplating the hours the disciples mourned their rabbi, their Messiah, hiding in fear for their lives after watching an innocent Jesus crucified by the Roman soldiers.

Holy Saturday. Black Saturday. Joyous Saturday. The day of despair, hopeless, fearful, wondering “now what?” It is easy for us to skip over the importance of this day. We know the story. We know what’s ahead. Sunday’s coming. Easter will bring new life, our resurrected Savior.

But the disciples didn’t know. They heard what Jesus told of this time but how do you really prepare yourself for this day? Do you hope? Do you hide? Do you leave? Do you stay?

Did they trust? Did they believe the One who poured Himself out, teaching, praying, healing?

Maybe your life is currently sitting on a Black Saturday. Your dream seems dead. You’re fearful, hopeless, despairing. You grieve and hide, questioning “now what?”

Do you trust? Do you believe the One who poured Himself out for you? Stand firm and know – Your Easter is on the horizon.

“I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you. A little while longer and the world will see Me no more, but you will see Me. Because I live, you will live also.”

‭‭John‬ ‭14:18-19‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

“Most assuredly, I say to you that you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice; and you will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will be turned into joy.”

‭‭John‬ ‭16:20‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

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Running

4th of July race in Cedar Rapids

Though I’ve announced I’ll soon end my tutoring “career,” I’m continuing with my brave adventures. Wish the weather would cooperate.

I’ll soon be back out on the trails, taking those long walks, getting back into some sort of running shape so I can tackle a 10K this year. A year ago I said I’d do a different length race each year. I’ve done plenty of 5Ks so there is no challenge left there (I guess if I cared about speed, I could work on that, but I don’t). After completing a 10K, I’m looking at a pretty big milestone for this late-in-life runner…in the year I turn 60, I want to run a half-marathon. Some would say I’m stupid (that may be the voice in my head, I’m not sure)…I choose to say I’m being brave.

To me, bravery is facing the giants in our lives…no matter if they are just in our heads. What do I fear? What do I see as insurmountable? What do I see as impossible? Do I allow my age to hold me back from potential adventures? Do I think it’s too late to try some new things? Not yet.

I’ve got a few things in the works to stretch my “fear factor” but I’m not going to allow the argument “I’ve never done this before” to be the deciding factor. Now, I’m not silly. I know my limitations physically. I won’t be taking up any extreme sports or gladiator challenges. Not yet anyway.

I hope you are cheering on those around you who are venturing out of their comfort zones to take up new exploits. My inner cheerleader shouts encouragement when I see my friends stand up and go forth and conquer fear.

I hope YOU are taking up new things. Maybe it’s beginning a fitness program, or letting go of an addiction, or learning a new skill. Don’t allow fear or insecurity keep you from reaching out and grabbing all that God has in front of you to do. I’ll be cheering you on!!

Not_Too_Old_Late

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It’s not even a word – but it so accurately describes my life. I have a lot of unexpectedlies – every day. And so do you. At first, I was blindsided by happenings in my life that I never planned for. Death. Accidents. Job loss. Broken relationships. All these and more kept me off balance, sometimes teetering on the edge of grief and despair. I felt more fear than faith – dreading the next bend in the road.

One weekend TrailI had an epiphany. I came to realize, with the wooing of the Holy Spirit, that these unexpectedlies are opportunities. Opportunities to find blessing in the midst of sadness. Joy in the midst of sorrow. Healing in the midst of pain. Instead of finding the gray on the backside of every cloud, I really do attempt to find the silver lining.

This past month, three close friends have passed away. One was my beautiful daughter-in-law’s father. He was a huge influence in my life, in the lives of my friends and family. Another was a man who helped me navigate the stress of my first radio job, moving from co-worker to great friend. He and his lovely wife gave me support in the hardest time of my life and for that, I will be forever grateful. Just this past Tuesday, another friend entered in the presence of Jesus. We’d only known each other three years but we became the best of buddies, joined together through our love of the Chicago Cubs and our little church family.

Each man was an unexpectedly in my life – unexpected voices of encouragement and affirmation, sometimes challenging, always loving and supportive. I am a blessed woman to have known these three and I am so grateful I was able to run part of my life’s race alongside them.

Takeaway – celebrate the unexpectedlies. Look for the blessing in each one. Grow through the experience. Choose to respond to each one with grace and forgiveness. Love fiercely because unexpectedlies happen…every day.

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Fear of the Lord is fountain

Not all fear is bad. Not all fear puts you under the table in a fetal position. Not all fear keeps you bound up and irrational. Not all fear is a trap from the devil. In fact, the Bible is full of encouragement (and even commands) to fear…to fear the Lord.

Most of us would define fear as a “distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain, etc., whether the threat is real or imagined.” And that is one definition. But the dictionary includes another definition of fear – a reverential awe, especially toward God. And that’s the very best kind of fear…one we should embrace and encourage, not shrink from.

I want to be wise, don’t you? And I want to live a long life. Those are just a few promises for those who fear the Lord. Moses wrote in Deuteronomy 10:12

 “And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways and to love Him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul…”

So what does it mean to fear the Lord? I’m not a theologian but I guess, for me, it means wanting what God wants, loving Him with all my heart, seeing people as He sees them, doing what He has placed in front of me to do, and obeying the Holy Spirit’s voice. It means reading and studying God’s Word, serving the Body of Christ and telling (with my voice and my actions) others about this wonderful Savior who died for my sins, and yours. It means repenting when I’ve sinned, praising Him in good times and bad, trusting Him when I don’t see any possible way out of a crummy situation, and knowing He loves me, no matter what I’ve done.

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (according Psalm 111:10 and Proverbs 9:10). It is pure, enduring forever (Psalm 19:9a)…a fountain of life (Proverbs 14:27) and can lengthen your days (Proverbs 10:27a). The fear of the Lord leads to life (Proverbs 19:23) and of course, what self-respecting Christian woman hasn’t claimed Proverbs 31:30 a time or two:

“Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, But a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.”

Our fear of things (part 1) and our fear of man (part 2) are snares the enemy wants to trap us in to keep us ineffective in life and most especially, in the kingdom of God. Fear is never from God. In fact, 2 Timothy 1:7 specifically says that God does not give us a spirit of fear or timidity, but of power, love and a sound mind. I think that was the first Scripture my kids memorized after John 3:16. Spirt_of_fearWe used (and still use) it to ward off nightmares when the darkness threatens to overwhelm and our hope seems gone. Another favorite “fighting fear” Scripture is 1 John 4:18a – “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear…”

God has given us these weapons to defeat the schemes of the enemy in our lives. The Holy Spirit will give you the wisdom you need to wage warfare against the wrong fear. Commit once again to fear the Lord – the very best kind of fear!

“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.” (Psalm 23:4)

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fear stops life

Some of us are afraid of specific things (as I talked about in part 1) but most of us deal (or don’t deal, as the case may be) with a fear we seldom admit…the fear of man. Or more accurately, the fear we won’t measure up, the fear we will offend someone, the fear we aren’t good enough, the fear we can’t perform as we think we should. This fear can be and often is, as crippling as any phobia, because it’s not something we can hold in our hand…it’s an attitude, a choice we’ve made, to allow someone else power over us.

When I fear “man” (and don’t go all feminist on me – this applies to male and female), I’m afraid of how I appear to someone else. “Am I too fat to wear those pants to church? Wait – should I wear a dress instead? Wait – I’ll be in the nursery, maybe I should wear jeans. No – that one lady always frowns when she sees women in jeans at church. But these are really cute jeans.” The endless cycle of conversations we have with ourselves in our heads…mental exhausting…and totally unnecessary.

We have been set free from trying to live up to others’ expectations. It’s God in whom I trust. He is the One I need to please…and He does not care if you wear jeans to church…really! In Proverbs, it says that the fear of man brings a snare.fear of man snare It’s a trap from the enemy of our souls. If we are constantly looking for the approval of others, we won’t have our eyes on the One who loves us best. We’ll spend untold hours in confusion and misery trying, trying, trying to please people who are as messed up as we are. Or worse, trying to please someone who doesn’t even know you’re trying to please them.That same verse says that “whoever trusts in the Lord shall be safe.” And there is such security and peace when I feel safe.

Allow the Lord to be your rock, your shield, your strong tower. No one on this earth should have the power to keep you from being the woman of God He designed you to be. Stay strong – push back against your fear of others’ opinions – and sink into the arms of your Heavenly Father. He will strengthen you and help you and uphold you. He loves you with an everlasting love and is pleased with you…no matter what.

 

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Are you afraid of anything?

Yellow-necked Mouse (Apodemus flavicollis) juvenileMost people have at least one thing they fear –mice (me), snakes (me, again), spiders, clowns, small places, heights, flying, needles, and even balloons. In fact, the phobia list is extensive – from Ablutophobia (the fear of washing or bathing) to Zoophobia (the fear of animals). The Top 100 Phobia List includes all of the above plus fear of public speaking, fear of crowds, fear of zombies (really?) and of course, the fear of fear. There is even a phobia called Theophobia, or the irrational and persistent fear of God.

For someone who suffers with a phobia, there is no logic, no talking them out of it, no advice to “get over it.” The fear is very real. I’ve read that phobias are the mind’s way of protecting itself. Somewhere along your timeline of experiences, something triggered an emotional link to a bad situation.I can certainly attest to this with my irrational fear of little ,cuddly, cute rodents. I know it’s illogical. I know I’m way bigger. And I know that “they are more scared of you than you are of them.” Doesn’t help.

Some people have allowed these fears to overwhelm them to the point of avoiding life and any situation that may put them in a fearful circumstance. Fear of flying means only taking ground transportation. Fear of clowns means no circuses or carnivals. Fear of zombies? Not sure how that one plays out in real life – since zombies aren’t real, but you get my drift. Fear of mice means I avoid any area where I know mice are located…and run like crazy or jump on the nearest piece of somewhat sturdy furniture whenever I encounter the little buggers. My family loves to tell the story of the time I jumped up onto a chair and left my baby boy on the floor when a mouse zipped by.  I think the tale (or is it tail?) has been embellished somewhat from the reality of the situation, but they like to laugh about it and David seems to be okay, so no harm done. Except the guilt I now have for abandoning my baby because I’m terrified of mice.

There is help to be had – if you’re willing to be vulnerable and ask for it. I’ve experienced it in other areas of my life…now I just have to tackle the mouse problem. Of course, God can heal you of your fear but since it is wrapped up in past experiences and emotions, He has provided a method of clearing this trauma and a group of people who are currently traveling around the US and internationally, teaching this method so fear no longer has a grip upon us. Wind and Fire Ministries has a division called WFM Peace Clinic, a workshop based training designed to help clear post-traumatic stress, panic, fear, anxiety, anger, running away, nightmares, addictions, coping habits, phobias, weight gain, pain storage, lack of concentration, and more. Ummm…that’s a lot of fear. Originally designed to help restore the victims of human trafficking, this workshop has proven to give assistance to anyone who deals with victims of fear and phobias. If you have fear yourself, or deal with others who do, this is an opportunity to be free and embrace peace.

Feace_Clinic_Sheboygan

(Part 2 – another face – fear of man…)

 

 

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simonvouet_womanplayingtheguitar

It’s July 2nd…a good day to look back on the first 6 months of the year. Or maybe not. Should have done it yesterday…July 1st. Better for my latent OCD. I mean really, who logically starts something on the 2nd of anything? So my “new thing” is doing something illogically and out of the norm for me. Convoluted arguments with myself. That’s actually pretty normal for me.

Back to the purpose of this – a self-evaluation of my 2015, part 1. I don’t really have year-long goals. Too easy to cop out and forget about them. I try for month-long goals…better for my short-term memory. Was going to make May my “watch movies I wish I’d already seen” month – didn’t happen. Something always comes up that seems more fun than sitting in front of the TV for a couple of hours. I still have the stack of DVDs in the living room (I’m sure they’ll remain there until Christmas) but summer is no time to hunker down in the house when the sun doesn’t set until 9 p.m. And by 9:01 I’m exhausted and ready for bed.

I am doing well on my 90-days-through-the-Bible challenge. One-third of the way and still on track. I tell myself that I can’t read anything else until I’ve read my Bible. It’s working so far.

I’m also still running…well, running, then walking, then running, then walking, and finishing with running. Still not very fast. But I do somewhat enjoy the discipline and feel so much better after getting in a 2-mile run. And I try to participate in 5K races periodically to keep myself out there. I won’t win anything except the finisher’s medal but that works for me.

Some of the “new things” I’ve tried have been successes – meaning I’ve made them part of my lifestyle now. Like edamame…delicious. Giving blood – do it every 8 weeks now (first time was last November after years – literally years – of being afraid. Silly me). Fitbit – addict. Found out I’m more competitive than I thought. New restaurants – I’m committed to trying new places because I’m tired of seeing the same menus at every place I eat. This is not a hardship, by the way. Downtown Cedar Rapids has a plethora (new word – try that every day too) of eating establishments and I’m not opposed to giving each of them a try at least once. Support local eateries people! The McDonalds, Olive Gardens, Red Robins, and Chilis will survive without your support – but there is so much more to experience.

I’m reading a new blog every day. It’s called Leadership Freak. Exceptional. Give it a try – even if you are the only person you’re leading.

By the way, a new friend recently shared a document on her Facebook page that I thought was awesome. So I’m sharing it here. It’s called “Everything is Awful and I’m Not Okay: questions to ask before giving up.”

Second half goals: volunteer more, complain less. Stay out of arguments that won’t matter the next day. Build people, not walls. Love more, fear less. Keep trying new things to stretch my comfort zone into the 3XL range. I may even pick up my guitar again.

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