Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Fighting Fears

A lot of things in life make me nervous— even scare me stiff and those are the things I regularly find myself praying about.  No surprises here- number one “scares me stiff" would be raising my kids in a way that scars them for life.  You know, where they feel the need for therapy when they are 35 because of something I did or said over and over and over?  Don’t want that.  Before I had kids, my number one was {and moved to number two now} speaking in front of a group of people.  You’d think as much as I can type in one sitting that I would have no trouble easily talking to a group of people.  It just never works out that way.  I have done it several times but the FIRST, most memorable time I did it was in my Speech class at the University of Georgia and get this—- the professor talked me into doing my 4 speeches on Sex Education- a buzz topic in 1990. My people pleasing self agreed and felt like vomiting every other week when my turn was up.  Misery.  Especially the week when we had to personally engage the topic and not just spit out the facts....


I have some invitations this fall to be scared out of my wits- besides my daily parenting opportunities.  I could have given these groups ten names of sweet friends that would be more fitting, more comfortable, more passionate, smarter, funnier, more everything but I didn’t.  I am honored they asked me and it causes me to be dependent on the Lord in a whole different way.  And that’s scary.  Speaking in front of people is NOT something I can do on my own.  I CAN but it would be a waste of everyone’s time if I just got up there and cranked it out.  That’s its own kind of misery.

So I’ve got some thinking to do.  The first thing this fall will be on Acts 2:42 — fellowship with God and others.  That’s life right there-- our lifelines to an abundant life.  Everything touches down in those two categories and each one dramatically affects the other.   Obviously, our relationship with God— our fellowship with Him- is EVERYTHING.  He’s not “first” on a list.  He’s the paper we write the list on.  He’s the pen with which we write the list.  He’s It.  The Source of All.

I love that I was taught in Junior High what it meant to spend time with Him and to invest in that relationship.  Nothing else I’ve ever done can compare with what I’ve gained from time with just Him.  Nothing.  I’ve filled gobs of notebooks and Bible studies with words to Him and about Him since I was 13.  Some of those words would be exactly what I write today and some of the words would turn my stomach. By the time college rolled around and life changing decisions were being made, His Word was such a comfort to me.  I remember one difficult night, pulling my Bible into my bed and sleeping with it.  It represented a lifeline and had bolstered me and taught me each time I had opened it up.  I have the privilege of adding to that every single day— all throughout the day.

Time spent with the Him lays the foundation for all the other relationships in life.  Try being a good wife or friend or parent or daughter without spending time with the Lord.  That can turn out to be the greatest frustration of your life. There is no formula, no methodology— certainly don’t read any legalism into this but read LIFE and FREEDOM in it.  No shackles.  Just keys.  His precepts are what teaches you to do relationships well.  You WANT to spend time with life-giving people and YOU want to be a life-giving person.  You know who those people are— the ones you leave feeling inspired, loved and challenged by.  You know with whom you feel safe-- who will give protect your hurts and not expose them, will love you no matter what, and will point you to the cross EVERY time.  And you know when you have helped a friend come up for some fresh air.  As you do this for each other, then you are strengthened to move farther out of your circle and love someone who may be harder to love.  This is ALL part of the abundant life.  The more time spent enjoying Him, the richer and more peaceful your relationships with others will be.  He wants this for us.  I want this for me.  I want this for you.

So, as the speaking opportunities grow nearer and when the acid decides to churn in my insides and the butterflies turn into crop dusters to His Word I’ll go.  I love this one.  Sometimes I wish I had dated these verses when they first ministered to my immature heart.

Isaiah 41:10 and 13  So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.

And because I know I have life-giving friends-- and family- in my life, I will count on them for prayer in this huge weak area for me.   I will know I am covered.



Alyssa said...

I hope I get to hear some of your talks. I think often about the talk you gave on hospitality. In the meantime, I'll be praying.

Sarah said...

I'm so excited for you… you will do great and I hope to hear you in at least one of these opportunities :)