Archives For fear

Fear

August 8, 2013 — 1 Comment

The ScreamWhen I was a kid, I was afraid of the dark. This was when I was really little, like 3 or 4. I was so scared of the dark I would not get up in the night to go to the bathroom. If I really, REALLY had to go, (and who would admit this but me?) I would just do it in the bed. Drove my Grandmother crazy, having to change sheets every 3 days and put a fan on the mattress. To be fair, my mother caused this fear. She was a real mess, my mother. She would make me sit in her lap when all those old weird shows like Twilight Zone were on. There was another one called Circle of Fear, and of course, Night Gallery. Then she’d make me go into a dark room and she’d scare the snot out of me and laugh about it. I told you she was a mess, didn’t I?

Either way, that fear persisted until I was about 12, then I just got over it. Kinda. Sometimes, to this day, I feel like someone is right behind me when it’s dark, and I do not allow any part of my body except my face be exposed in bed at night.

I still have fears – and I am facing a few of them right now. Not very well, to be honest, but what choices do I have. For one, I have a fear of air travel, and I have to fly to Chicago this coming Sunday morning. I’d rather be at church, but I’ll be flying instead. And I’m really pretty freaked out about it.

I don’t quite know what to do about this. I have some medication that I can take that will make me calm, but it didn’t really work last time. I’ve prayed about it, been prayed over, I’ve sat outside the airport and watched plane after plane take off and land without incident. In my mind, it’s ok for other people to fly – I know you’ll be ok, and I’m ok taking you to the airport, but I’m not ok being dropped off there myself.

So – I don’t have a choice. I have to go, and I will, but I just don’t feel good about it at all.

The other thing is this – my job is changing (hence the trip to Chicago – it’s for training) and I’ve been all wrapped up in study and preparing for this trip for over a month. I haven’t had time for anything else. I haven’t had time for any kind of writing for a month, and I am afraid that when I get back I will be so wrapped up in my new job that one of the things I love the most will take a back seat. I’ve neglected personal study and writing/blogging for a month – and this is part of who I am. I’m not the #1 blogger, not a major author, not really anything but a blog guy, but I still love it and I’m afraid I’ll lose part of who I am in this new position.

So – now all that is out there – what do you think? Believe me, I know all the bible verses, and I think on them every day. I’ve read all of Jon Acuff’s books and I’m on his blog every day. Just Start – right?

I know fear is a liar. I know fear is a self perpetuating trap, a hole you just keep digging and there’s no bottom. So what’s next? I have to fly and I have to put in the time and learn this job and I plan on being awesome at it – where does that put everything else that’s important?

Anyone else ever been in this spot? What did you do? Please let me know – I could use some wise words right now -

 

Perseverance

June 10, 2013 — Leave a comment

perseverance

If you could only know how tired I really am – tired of work, tired of church, tired of hearing the “perseverance” message. Like the (admittedly awesome) perseverance message I heard at church last night. There’s way more to it than the following, but this is what I heard:

  • Don’t quit!
  • What you’re looking for is just right past the next difficult challenge!
  • Don’t give up!
  • If you quit now, you’ll never see what’s around the next corner/over the next hill/behind the next door!

It made me want to vomit. I can’t hear this anymore. I can’t do it anymore. I can’t not quit anymore.

Ok – now that all the whining is out of the way, maybe I can move on.

I reallyreallyreallyreally want to just give up, but I can’t. No matter how hard, no matter how long, no matter how much it hurts. There’s been too much giving up in the past, too many people hurt because I lost my nerve, too many lessons learned.

What I thought was – look at all these successful people. It must have been so easy for them to get where they are. Look at them – out in front, doing what God designed them to do. God must not have had a plan for me since it’s so hard, and it’s so hard I just can’t do it anymore so I will do something else and forget about this.

Stupid. That’s what that was. And listen, taking the easy path is not so easy. Average is just as hard, in different ways.

What I mean is, if you’re not living your dream, you still have to live. You still have to work. You still have to provide for you family. And whatever job you end up in still wants quality work from you, and you have to do quality work while carrying the baggage of being a quitter – the person who ran away from their dream.

I so hate the word perseverance. I will find every dictionary on the earth and mark that word out with a Sharpie. It’s a bad, bad word when you’ve turned your back on your dream. If you’ve turned your back on your dream, hearing that word makes you crazy. It gets you into arguments, it makes your stomach hurt. It makes you want to go to Barnes & Noble with a Sharpie looking to do some vandalism.

I googled the word “perseverance.” Mostly to check that I was spelling it right. Did an image search, too. A bunch of pictures of cute sayings about making lemonade out of lemons came up. Here’s a few:

  • When life gives you lemons, squeeze the the juice into life’s eyes.
  • Life giving you lemons? Be glad it’s not (insert random horrible disease)
  • Unless life also gives you water and sugar, your lemonade is going to suck
  • If life gives you melons, you may be dyslexic
  • If life gives you lemons, you better blog about it
  • If life gives you lemons, keep them, because FREE LEMONS!

I like that last one. At least you’ve got something, right? Actually, I think I will make life take them back. I want a refund. Not store credit. No, I don’t want to trade them for limes. I want to trade them for something better. I want to trade up. I don’t want your stinking lemons. I demand to speak with your supervisor because these lemons are not what I want.

This is the part where you find out who you are, what you’re made of. Are you a quitter? Are you going to whine some more, then skulk back to that 9-5 and accept that this is what life has handed you, or are you going to take this life that you’ve been given and do something with it? Something only you can do – something that God dreamed up, put in your head and will take more than what you are to accomplish?

There’s a hazy future out there – that’s why it’s called a dream. When you’re in a dream it can seem so real, but when you wake up it all gets fuzzy. If you could just remember the details, maybe you could make something out of it.

Getting from A to Z sometimes takes you all the way through CDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWX&Y. And the people you meet, the challenges you face, and how you face them – those things determine how long it takes you to get there.

What I think I’m finding out, in my old age, is that perseverance is the work you do after you get tired of doing all the work you already did. Someone famous said something like that, don’t remember who. But yeah, thanks for that.

Someone else, also kinda famous, said something like this - “But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.  We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.  We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”

Not crushed, not in despair, not abandoned, not destroyed. Renewed day by day.

How?

By not focusing on what to an eternal, powerful, loving God, are light and momentary troubles. By fixing our eyes on what is forever. By living in the Kingdom right now!

Fear is a liar – fear says “you can’t do this – it’s too hard, it will take too long, it will cost too much.” Tell fear to take it to your Dad. The enemy – and Satan is your enemy, don’t doubt it for a minute – wants you to be afraid, so that you will settle for average. God has so much more for you than average!

How long it takes you to get there is up to you -

Judge Dredd

February 2, 2013 — Leave a comment

Judge Dredd

There has been a huge increase in the last few years of super hero movies, and many have been blockbuster hits. Add to that another genre, spy movies, and a trend emerges – people want to believe that there are those in the world who can overcome anything, defy all the odds, save the day.

Some of the biggest hits have been Batman, Spiderman and James Bond. But no hero movie may ever eclipse the popularity of Marvel’s Avengers. This movie alone brought in over 1.5 billion dollars in box office receipts worldwide. Only a handful of movies can claim to have exceeded that amount.

What is the fascination with heroes? Why do you think they are so popular? Imagine for a moment that you had a say in the next super hero movie –what would it be about? Who would be the star? What powers would the hero have? Who would be the villain?

Often when we look at the bible, we see stories of individuals who have accomplished great things – heroes! Nobody in the bible could turn invisible at will, and there were no armored flying suits, no aliens from another planet who wielded a hammer of justice. But they did have a Hulk!

Have you heard the story of Samson from the book of Judges? Samson had great strength, and it seemed that the more angry he became, the more damage he could do. He killed a lion with his bare hands, destroyed an army with a donkey’s jawbone, and pushed an entire pagan temple to the ground.

Also in the book of Judges is the story of the hero Gideon. The Israelites were under judgment because they had sinned against God. Their crops were being destroyed, their animals slaughtered by a persistent enemy from Midian. An angel appeared one day to Gideon, and he addressed Gideon as “Mighty Warrior.” Gideon looked around to see who the angel was talking to. As far as Gideon knew, he was pretty average – he said, “my family is the weakest, and I’m the youngest in the family.”

Gideon was told by the angel that he would deliver Israel from the Midianites. How could Gideon, just an average person, do such a great thing? He doubted that he was the right person.

In Judges 6:17 he said to the angel of the Lord “If you’re talking to me, give me a sign.” In fact, Gideon was so fearful of the things God asked him to do, he asked for 3 signs, and God did what Gideon asked each time.

So, Gideon raised and army and prepared to go to war. God saw the assembled army and asked Gideon to send the majority of them home. In the end, he went to war with 300 men against the nation of Midian, and by the power of God alone, the entire army was defeated.

Has God ever led you to do something that was beyond your power? What did He ask of you? How were you able to do what He asked? Do you think “average” people are capable of doing incredible things? Give some examples of “average Joes” who made a big impact on history.

Now!

November 11, 2012 — 1 Comment

jesus-statue

For a lot of people the future is unclear. It’s like we get a glimpse of what could or should be, but it’s only that – just a glimpse.

Sometimes we have a good couple of weeks – the car doesn’t break down, things on the job are smooth and you don’t hit every red light in rush hour.

Most of the time though we need help and we need it now.

Sometimes it’s a relationship issue, sometimes it’s a bill that came due that there’s no way to pay. Maybe it’s a call from the doctor that you don’t even want to take.

Sometimes life and the future can seem so foggy. Who can you trust? Who can you call on? Who has the answers you need – not next week, not a year from now, not even tomorrow, but right now?

We need a God that’s bigger than all that. We need a God that stands outside and above everything. We need a God that’s in control.

That’s the kind of God we have! The question is do you trust him? We all have the right amount of faith – it’s just that we misplace it. We trust ourselves to provide the unprovidable. We can’t be our own source of anything – except disappointment.

I’ve spent so many years disappointed in God and that disappointment was misplaced. I was upset at myself for not being good enough or strong enough or talented enough. My faith was in me, in my abilities, in the people around me and again and again I was let down and again and again I blamed God.

I blamed God for my shortcomings, and the hole I was digging for myself got deeper and deeper, until I couldn’t see any light at all.

What changed that? I learned the truth. Over a period of three years, I learned to see God for who he really is, and me for who I really am. I am strong, smart, stubborn – which is why it took so long. God is love, he gives grace and peace and he forgives and chooses not to remember.

The peace I have – right now – is what keeps me going. That little nugget of faith that I have – it’s moving mountains because I have it focused on God now. The result of that is blessings and peace.

Peace – that’s what you need too! In all those situations that pop up in life. When the unexpected happens, you can have peace, regardless of the situation. That’s what God wants – and he wants to give it to you now! The question is, will you place your faith in him?

“Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you.” 2 Thessalonians 3:16

trinity

I really don’t like that Trinity chose to buy a recorder. Not my favorite instrument in the hands of a ten year old. Or maybe anybody. She could have chosen something cool like the cowbell, but no. It had to be a recorder.

So, for the past few days, morning and night, we’ve been regaled with her halting, squeaky attempts at Hot Cross Buns, Mary Had A Little Lamb, and tonight, a new classic, Frere Jacques.

I love Trinity dearly though, so I encourage her. To throw the thing in the ditch behind our house. Seriously though, I am very proud. That at least she’s good at math and reading.

Seriously, seriously though – she is trying really hard, and actually getting better at it. Will she be going to Juilliard one day? Not for music I don’t think. But she’s having fun doing it, and I could totally see her going to MIT one day and creating some kind of nano-tech warp drive and living on the moon. She is really just that smart.

Her attempts at the recorder remind me of my spiritual journey. You know we basically all start at the same place – newborns. And we are so excited about it, we are sometimes “squeaky” and our attempts at things such as public prayer, evangelism, and even personal devotional time may seem awkward. But, like Trinity is getting better with practise, so do we become better at being children of God.

For most people though, they stay in the newborn stage. They begin with excitement, and get a sense of the awkwardness and give up. They lack encouragement, they lack accountability, and give up before they get to the really good stuff.

I don’t want Trinity to give up! I love her and I love her excitement! So I will encourage her and tell her how proud I am. And I really, truly am proud of my beautiful little girl.

I want to encourage you, too. No matter where you are on your path, keep going! Don’t give up! It’s worth the struggle! Find someone who can walk along side of you and be a mentor and guide and teacher for you. Keep doing what the Lord has shown you is right, even if it feels weird. Becoming a Christian is a major shift for most people, and even if you’ve been a Christian for a long time, sometimes trying something new can feel weird, too.

Trust in the Lord, follow his leading and be what he has called you to be! Those feelings will pass, and you will learn to live in the destiny he has created for you!

Take a minute and think to yourself – what is God asking you to do? How has he gifted you to accomplish this task? Can you do it on your own? Pray that he would enable you to do all that he is asking you to do, trust him to do what he said he would do, then step out and do it! You’ll be changing your life, and the lives of those around you!