I remember the first time I went to a bible study group. I was a new Christian and was very nervous. I hardly knew any of the books of the Bible and had no idea which of them was in the Old Testament or New. But my friend pressed me to go and I wanted to make her happy. When I arrived, I immediately became nervous, fearing that someone might ask me a question and I wouldn’t know the answer. Everyone welcomed me and although I didn’t speak much during our time together, by the end of the evening I knew that I would return. I have been with that same group for almost five years now and the women are some of my closest friends. What if I had let fear prevent me from going that first night?
Sometimes doing something new or unfamiliar can be scary. We like to be comfortable, so the idea of switching things up or trying something different can lead to fear. We don’t like to feel unprepared for fear of being judged.
But what if we never tried anything new?
What if we didn’t take that first step towards a new goal?
How many times have you allowed your fears to get in the way of your dreams?
In Isaiah 41:10, we can find the comfort that only God can provide when we are full of fear.
Imagine a life where you fully trusted God and turned all your fears and worries to Him.
We all fear rejection, it’s human nature. Fear that we won’t fit in (remember middle school?), fear that we won’t get the job, fear that we won’t make a good impression. Being rejected makes us feel unworthy.
When writing a book, every author worries about rejection. Will anyone read it? What will critics say? After all the time spent on edits, re-writes, and drafts, it is difficult to take rejection lightly.
I was full of fear when I asked for a professional review of my book. It took several weeks, so I waited. During the waiting, I realized that there was nothing else that I could do. I prayed (a lot!) and found comfort in this verse (Isaiah 41:10):
Don’t be afraid, for I am with you.
Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you.
I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.
The moment finally came and I received my first real review for my book. God was right, I didn’t need to be worried. My faith in my writing and in God’s love for me was stronger than my fear of rejection.
What is your fear holding you back from?
To read the review of my book, Out of the Darkroom, Into the Light: A Story of Faith and Forgiveness After Child Abuse, click here. The book launches on Monday!
Do you have any regrets in your life? Words spoken in haste, less than Godly behaviors, chances you didn’t take? There will be things that happen in life that you aren’t proud of. Pray, apologize, try again.
Learn from these moments and go forward determined to grow…..
How many times do we find ourselves doubting the path that we think we should be on? Doubt, fear, and negative thoughts creep in our head.
“I’m not good enough, smart enough, qualified, pretty, strong….”
Thoughts like these can make us second guess ourselves and often times we give up. As I started this journey of writing and speaking, I was definitely filled with doubt. I worried that I wouldn’t be able to write my story in a way that would honor God. And would anyone care about my story? There were times when I almost gave up. But God didn’t give up on me and kept nudging me to continue.
When doubts filled my mind, your comfort gave me renewed hope and cheer.Psalm 94:19 (NLT)
Tell me about a time when doubt led you away from your journey.
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This time of year brings many changes to our daily lives including the warmer weather, lazier days, and summer vacations. Most of the time we look forward to change, but sometimes it can be a scary thing to approach the unknown. As I look around me, I am suddenly faced with many changes in my life and those around me. My oldest recently graduated from high school and will be leaving for college in late August. A colleague is weeks away from retirement and her husband just had a stroke. My good friend is getting a divorce and leaving the neighborhood soon. Another neighbor recently had to tell her son that the baby they were expecting had died.
My family is preparing for a big change as I am taking a leap of faith and leaving my job so that I can pursue my dream of writing a book. I find myself second guessing my decision and wondering if I’ve made the right choice. All of this is a bit unsettling, and I find comfort in some of the constant, unchanging, routines to keep me grounded.
We can find comfort in knowing that God’s love for us is a constant that will always be there for us, even when it seems that our world is spinning out of control with change. We see this in scripture:
“I will never fail you. I will never abandon you. We can say with confidence, ‘The Lord is my helper, so I will have no fear. What can mere people do to me?’ Remember your leaders who taught you the word of God. Think of all the good that has come from their lives, and follow the example of their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” Hebrews 13:8.
With this knowledge we can rest assured that God will see us through the changes in our lives, whether they are big or small, hot or cold, fun or scary!
Each winter as the snow melts and temperature gets warmer, I look forward to seeing flowers and fresh leaves grow. I like to plant bulbs and seeds and wait with anticipation for them to push through the dirt. But sometimes they don’t grow. Perhaps there was a late frost or an animal dug it up? Either way, the result can be disappointing.
There are times in life when we all feel like the flower trying to blossom. We’re on our way up (through the dirt) and then something comes along and steps on us. Whether it is job, a relationship, or personal goal that we’ve been working for, rejection, fear, and self doubt can undo all the work that we have put in.
Fortunately for us, we aren’t finished when that happens. We can lean on our God and ask for help and direction. God has a plan for us all and sometimes our desires aren’t part of that plan, but he will guide us to where we should be. It may take another season and the result may look different from what we thought it would, but with our faith in God’s love, we will bloom!
2 Corinthians 12:9 “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’” (NIV)
I was having a bad day, wrestling with a tough decision, and then you knocked on my door and were holding a gift. I love gifts! It is beautifully wrapped and layered with colorful tissue paper. But as I open your “gift” I see it is full of things I don’t want or need. I lift the first layer of tissue paper and find doubt. The next layer contains fear. As I continue to search for something I need or desperately hoped for, all I see is more of the same….my unworthiness, guilt, and selfish ways. I carefully place the items back in the box, smile, and say, “Thank you.” As you leave I feel terrible. I place the gift on the table and try to ignore it. All day my eyes and thoughts wander back to it. Unable to concentrate all day, I return to the gift. I open it again and hold all the items, one at a time. As I think carefully about each item, I feel a relief was over me and can’t help but smile as I place the items back in the box. What you don’t know is that I already have a wonderful gift; the gift of God’s love.
My mom taught me to always write a thank you note, so here it is:
Thank you for stopping by today with an unexpected gift. Unfortunately I must return it, as I will not be needing the items you so carefully wrapped. I have received a much nicer gift from God. He shows me love every day and warned me about you. So please don’t come by again anytime soon.
“Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life. Phillipians 4:6-7 (NLT)
“God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.” Ephesians 3:20-21 (NLT)
I have been writing for almost a year. I feel that I have been called to share the story of my past and how I came to know Jesus. My desire is to help others who may be struggling with self-worth. Throughout this process I have had some struggles and setbacks. First, it’s not easy to put the pain from your past on paper. It forces the part of your brain, that has tried to forget, to relive the dark, unhappy times. Second, the writing process is difficult. Having a professional editor look over your work is very important, BUT, it leads to more work. My third and biggest struggle has been time. I work a full-time job and have a large family and can’t find the large chunks of time that I need to work on my writing.
There have been moments where I have said to myself, “Give it up. No one will read it. You’re not a writer.” Each time I have had these thoughts, something or someone has come along and steered me back onto the writing path. I have prayed and asked God for guidance….. Am I really supposed to do this?
During this time I have become more and more unhappy with my job as a special education social studies teacher. After eight years, I feel unsatisfied, underappreciated, and bored and have sought out different opportunities. Most recently I interviewed for a different position within my current school (still teaching social studies, just not special education students). Honestly, I felt like I had a great chance. My husband and I talked at length about it and I prayed a lot. I asked God to make it clear to me what I should do. After the interview, I made the decision that if I didn’t get the job, I would no longer teach and I would devote my time to writing the book that I’ve been dreaming about.
I found out yesterday, that not only did I not get the job, but they hired a brand new teacher. BOOM, like a punch to the gut, it hurts. So now I’m wrestling with more doubt. Is this part of God’s plan for me?
When I started this journey of sharing my past and writing about it I called it a leap of faith. Why do I suddenly feel like I’m standing on the edge of the Grand Canyon?