Fear or Unfamiliar?

Do things that you’re unfamiliar with make you scared? I don’t think this is an uncommon experience for most people. On the other side, I think that we should sometimes be scared of the familiar or at least uncomfortable. I say this for lots of reasons. Being familiar & comfortable can:

  • create an illusion of safety & stability
  • lull us into taking stuff for granted
  • tempt us to rely on our own wisdom rather than trusting God

Let’s be careful that staying familiar keeps us from following God, growing & looking forward!

Harp & Sheep

Goliath was scary, to be sure. More than tall, he had armor, weapons & enough confidence for his entire army. No Israelite wanted to fight him & die, or be the reason that Israel would become servants to the Philistines. Enter David, the harp-player & sheep-tender. Of all the valiant warriors with Saul, no one stepped up to defy Goliath, except this upstart teenager whose confidence was grounded firmly in Jehovah, the God of Israel.

The same rings true for us today. There’s always giants, intimidation, opposition & scary reasons to run, hide & blend in with everyone else. Let’s be David & stand on God’s side rather than align with fear, what’s popular & paralyzed insecurity. Never forget:

  • perfect love casts out fear
  • greater is He who is in you than any Goliath, roaring lion or lying devil!

Both Feet!

This morning, I read a verse that hit me between the eyes – 2Kings 17:41, “So while these nations feared the Lord, they also served their idols; . . .” This verse really spoke to me about my passion to follow Jesus. 
I think that we generally have respect for God, but all too often we serve idols. No one sets out, usually, to be an idolator but there are lots of subtle idols that can allure our attention. Greed seems to be the most obvious idol & it has certainly a firm foothold in our culture & values! Another subtle idol is image & vanity. Of course sports & fitness can be an distraction from serving Jesus & so can consumption & food. Comfort & convenience have also become significant values that often sway our priorities. 

Let’s be sure that we respect & serve God with both feet!

The Good Side of Fear

“Do it scared!!” I’ve used this mantra on more than one occasion: snowboarding, my first triathlon, meeting important people, various travel experiences, etc. In my early 20s, my dad was massively helpful to me in dealing with fear – coaching me about not letting fear control me or make my decisions.   

I most certainly don’t want to be controlled by fear, but here’s the good part of fear: fear can be helpful to inform us, but debilitating if we let it control us.

In Prov 9:10, it says that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom & my friend, we need as much wisdom in our lives as we can possibly hold! Let’s allow the fear of the Lord guide our decisions & organize our priorities!

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Being Scared

I pride myself in not being scared. I’m not scared to: 

  • try new things, 
  • go new places, 
  • try different foods, 
  • fail during a learning experience 
  • stand alongside someone when they go through difficult seasons. 

As I think about being scared, generally I think of myself as fearless, until I consider various situations that I avoid because I’m intimidated or afraid. I think that all of us wrestle with fear but in different ways. So let’s be honest about the unique fears that are difficult for us. If we aren’t honest about our fears, such fears will often control our decisions because we refuse to be honest & face them. 

In general, I want to live a fearless life, but the one fear that I want to nurture & protect is the fear of the Lord. Proverbs 9:10 says that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom & I need all the wisdom I can get! So having a healthy respect for God is an essential ingredient for letting wisdom flourish in my life. 

Furthermore, remember that perfect love casts out fear 🙂

Pay attention to your fears & keep the ones that cultivate wisdom but challenge / toss the ones which try to control & shrink you!

Hot Topic: Donald Trump & the 2016 Election

Politics is a hot spot for many people. Everyone seems to get really lit up about who to vote for, what the candidates say or don’t say, the future of our country, moral underpinnings & HEAPS more. For his part, Donald Trump, has certainly escalated the emotional tone & conflict potential for our upcoming national election. 
My concern for those of us who follow Jesus has many facets:

  • I’m concerned that we will watch & listen to the candidates more than we pray for the election
  • I’m concerned that we allow politics to divide us more than we allow Jesus’ love to unite us
  • I’m concerned that we are deceived to think that human politics can resolve the broken & fallen nature of the human heart

Whether you like Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Carson, Rubio, Cruz, Bernie or whoever, let’s make the commitment to pray for our country & its leadership more than we worry or complain 🙂

The Mice Spice

Mice look for some place warm in the Fall & they sometimes find their way into our house, like this year. So my husband sent me off to Walmart to get the normal mouse removal accessories & they’ve been strategically placed around our kitchen for maximum impact 🙂
In this adventure, I’ve learned that one of my offspring, who will again remain nameless, has a mouse phobia . Imagine our fun to learn about this new opportunity to be playful or mischievous depending on how your frame it. 

This child is quite jumpy with the whole mouse thing, even though there’s a clear size & intelligence advantage. In some respects, the devil is kind of like a mouse, looking to sneak his way into our thoughts & scare us at unexpected moments. Just because the devil can roar doesn’t mean he’s a lion – 1 Pet 5:8. Let’s be careful that we don’t let ourselves be intimated by the enemy of our soul. Reject the mice spice ,)

Free Fall

When I was younger & more impulsive, I had a paragliding adventure that seemed kind of scary for lots of reasons. But instead of dropping out of the sky in a gravity plunge, I caught a thermal which shot me straight up like a rocket!  
Sometimes when we agree to follow Jesus, it might initially feel like a free fall, particularly when we relinquish control to Jesus for making decisions. But let me encourage you that no matter what happens around you, following Jesus is merely a free fall for our flesh but a rocket ride for our heart! Good things begin to align when we take the plunge & trust Jesus 🙂

Be Not Afraid

Easier said than done, like many things. It’s easy for a person who has fabulous people skills to tell a struggling introvert, “Don’t be afraid!” It’s easy for an expert skier to tell a beginner, “It’s not as steep as it looks, don’t be scared!”
Many years ago I sat on a plane across the aisle from a lady who didn’t travel much. We were on a small commuter plane & the turbulence was fun for me but terrorizing for her. While I was enjoying the roller coaster ride, I saw the color drain from her face & her knuckles get whitey, tighty. I could tell she was getting thoroughly freaked out & I knew she was a hair stylist so I started talking with her about her profession. “What’s your favorite thing to do, cut hair, dye it? What do you most enjoy?” Then I asked how she came to be a hair stylist, who were her favorite clients & why she liked them, etc. 

we had a nice chat while the plane landed. Once I knew we were safely on the ground, I asked if she was ok, she looked outside, saw that we landed & breathed a sigh of relief. Then she realized what I’d done, distracting her from being afraid with our pleasant & engaging conversation. 

I think the Holy Spirit wants to be this for us with things that make us afraid, talking us throughout success & overcoming 🙂

No Thank You to Fear

Fear isn’t cool. We can all probably remember at least a few times when fear was entirely horrifying. For me, I remember some walks home from school that were terrifying, waking up from a nightmare that virtually paralyzed me & the ever so common fear of not being liked. In our world today, people are afraid of Ebola, ISIS, losing their job, not getting married & lots more.
So let’s you & make a pact to say, “no thank you” to fear & then make the active choices to support that pact:
*be attentive to our decisions that we allow to be controlled by fear
*be aware of conversations that magnify fear – change the subject
*watch for places in our lives where we are cozy with fear
*actively choose love over fear because they are mutually exclusive (perfect love casts out fear)
*forward this to your friends to help grow an anti-fear mob!!

Hot topic: IS, blood moon, Ebola & end times

We live in a very interesting time. There are people chopping off heads & think that’s entirely acceptable & even praiseworthy – weird. This week had the 2nd blood moon in a year – also unusual. Furthermore, Ebola is now being compared to AIDS for its potential devastation to humanity value – yikes! And then lots of people think we are in the end times of the world – that God is wrapping up the human experience to move into a new era of life.
I think we live in strange times, for sure. But with that being said, there are some important things to keep in mind:
*God is still in control & God is love (a very good combination)
*lets be sure to stay fresh & intense with our prayer life
*be careful not to let fear control your thinking or outlook

hot topic: Ebola in the US

Yesterday, we heard in the news that a person in Dallas was diagnosed with #ebola.  The man who was diagnosed had flown from Libera in mid-September to the US and showed signs of being sick a week later.  There’s plenty of news circulating about this development & this is a very important thing on which we should be aware.  While I know that it’s important to be educated about this kind of stuff, let’s be mindful of some fundamental & important bullet points:

  • pray:  let’s keep the Dallas patient in our prayers as well as the West Africa nations of Guinea, Liberia & Sierra Leone – super important to keep these nations in our prayers, along with the healthcare workers who are on the front lines in these nations
  • be smart:  stay informed and current with what’s happening in our world so that we can know how to pray and make wise decisions
  • fear:  let’s be mindful that we don’t let fear get a foothold in our thinking or decisions
  • love:  pray that we can find some ways to help the babies & toddlers in Guinea, Sierra Leone & Liberia with Saving Moses!!

overcoming fear

A very nice friend asked me today about overcoming fear & I felt encouraged that I should write about this today 🙂

In relation to fear, there are lots of things that could trouble us:  fear of failure, fear of getting hurt, fear of something from the past, fear of falling down, fear of the future, fear of relationships, . . . . . .   The Greeks used the term phobia and attached all kinds of things to this word (agrophobia, necrophobia & my personal favorite, snake-o-phobia).

So here are some strategies that could be helpful to overcoming fear:

  • do it scared – I stole this outright from Joyce Meyer;  she’s uber cool!
  • face the fear a little bit at a time rather than to look at the whole thing
  • consider that the devil uses fear to control us & that God created us from the very beginning to have authority, dominion & power
  • catch fear in the early stage so it doesn’t go stupid
  • choose to trust God & reject fear – yes to trust and no to fear
  • keep trying – failing is more like practice if we take out the fear ingredient
  • remember that 1 John says that perfect love casts out fear!

Feel free to add your own advice & pass this along to your fam & friends! 😀

Peeing in a cave

I read this morning about how King Saul was chasing David to kill him & how he stepped into cave to relieve himself. Unknowingly, David was hiding in the very same cave & even cut off a piece of King Saul’s robe! Although David could’ve easily killed Saul, David had more respect for God’s anointing on Saul than fear for his own life.
When we get in really, really difficult situations, it’s important that we act like David, honor God & stay out of fear 🙂

Fear Based Decisiona

I read this morning about Lot in Genesis after the destruction of Sodom & Gomorrah. As a result, Lot was afraid & lived in a cave with his daughters. His daughters had lost their husbands in the destruction of Sodom & they concluded that there weren’t any men through whom they could perpetuate their family. From this, they decided to get their dad drunk & get pregnant by him. As a result, they had 2 boys – Moab & Ammon.
Whenever I hear this story it just seems totally crazy until I noticed this morning that Lot was afraid & decided to live in a cave. When we make decisions controlled by fear, the outcomes undercut our potential & distort the results that we could have in our lives. We’re supposed to fear & honor God – the end.

Halloween

We are back to that time of year when the Halloween decorations come out – cobwebs, ghosts, skeletons, tombstones, witches, etc.  I remember when I was growing up that there was the razor blade in candy or apples scare & I remember being too scared to go trick-or-treating beyond like 3 houses from my house.  So this is my problem with Halloween – why do we celebrate a holiday devoted to fear, creepiness & even death?  What’s good about any of those things?

Being afraid & creeped out in my life has done more damage than good.  So while I’m probably a lone ranger & politically incorrect on this, I don’t like this holiday & see no redeeming value in the current expression & celebration of this holiday.  With that being said, please be encouraged that tomorrow’ blog will be more uplifting 😀

This is a good mistake to avoid!

I’ve been thinking lately about Adam & Eve with the whole Garden fiasco. That was really a bad day for humanity & despite our Father’s magnificent redemption of humanity, there have been several occasions when I wish Eve would have made some different choices.
I think that one of her big mistakes was to have a conversation w the serpent / devil. And yet I think that sometimes we make her same mistake without realizing it. Here are some ways that we talk with or entertain the devil, his lies & deceptions:
*insecurity – we listen far too often to his accusations & utter nonsense about who we are rather than basing our identity on what God says about us
*ego / pride – “all of that & a bag of chips!”. Really??? It is only through Christ that we are truly invaluable, priceless & supremely desirable
*worry / fear – I don’t think that the devil sets the “worry or fear trap” about things on which we are strong. However, wherever there is a weakspot, that’s where he will plant worry, uncertainty, concern & even fretful thoughts or anxieties, be that about the future, health, relationships, etc
Can you think of other “conversation traps” that the devil lays for you???

Fear can be contagious

I’ve been thinking about Gideon lately & how 300 guys followed him to victory over more than 100,000 enemy soldiers. This very small group had MASSIVE amounts of success but a pre-cursor to their success individually & as a group was the elimination of fear.
Fear can be really loud, it can demand your attention, cripple your progress & thoroughly destroy your future. The guys who followed Gideon into this massive success made choices to not allow fear to control their decisions or behaviors. Indeed, Gideon had to overcome his own fear before he could lead anyone else out of fear & into victory.
Here are some things to help overcome fear:
*look at fear & face it – fear is usually much smaller when you turn & confront it, rather than avoid of deflect it
*make a step forward – fear wants to keep you paralyzed
*listen for Gods voice more than entertaining the voice of fear
*be mindful of conversations or inputs that cater to fear in your life
* never allow fear to be your friend

Fear: friend or foe?

Fear is interesting – in the right amounts & toward the right things, it can be really beneficial. On the other hand, fear with the wrong amounts & directed toward the wrong things can be thoroughly toxic & destructive.
Consider this: fear can immunize us from disrespect & irreverence. Fear can keep us from doing dumb things & the Bible speaks of a boat load of benefits from having a fear, respect & reverence for God.

On the negative scale, fear can hinder us from some amazing experiences, adventures & accomplishments. It can also keep us from learning some important lessons. Fear can keep us trapped in the past & cripple us from moving forward. Fear can suffocate healthy relationships & even debilitate constructive growth.
So here’s my conclusion: I don’t want to be afraid of life but I do want to have a healthy reverence for the Creator of life – love life & honor it’s Creator.

the problem with fear

Ok, here’s something to think about for our daily living: fear wears lots of disguises, attempting to influence us more than Jesus.  Indeed, I’ve met people whose lives are unknowingly controlled by fear & this is heart breaking.  Fear masquerades as safety, cooperation, tolerance & many other guises.  I think that if fear were removed from some people’s lives they would fall apart because its the essential beacon by which they make their decisions, form their relationships and control their conversations.  They’ve become so comfortable with fear that its the glue that holds their life together.  The problem is that fear hates to be exposed because once its brought to the light, its weakness is revealed & power diffused.

Consider Saul in 1 Sam 15. From God’s command, he was supposed to entirely obliterate the Amalekites but he didn’t do this.  Instead he waffled on his obedience & when Samuel confronted Saul & pressed the issue, Saul finally admitted, “I have sinned; I have indeed transgressed the command of the LORD and your words, because I feared the people and listened to their voice.”  From this point on, God rejected Saul.  Saul chose fear over obedience – God help us to avoid this trap.  May we forever remain friends with God & enemies with fear.  Let’s never be more comfortable with fear than we are comfortable with God.