Don’t Be Afraid

When my boys were little, they used to love dressing up as super heroes. Spiderman, Batman, Buzz Lightyear, Nacho Libre were the most popular in our family. (Okay, maybe Nacho’s a stretch for a super hero, but you know what I mean.)

As a young girl, my super hero of choice was the Bionic woman. I used to dream of all the things I could accomplish if only I had her lightning speed and impeccable hearing.

Wouldn’t it be great to be a superhero? To be able to accomplish great feats, rescue helpless people, defeat bad guys and stare down the face of evil without a single ounce of fear?

But, I’m not a superhero. Neither are you (no offense). None of us are. I will never have spidey strength, or cool Batman gadgets. I’ll never be able to run like the Bionic Woman or fly like Superman.

I’m just a regular, ordinary person with regular, ordinary abilities. *Sigh.*

However, God desires to use our lives to do heroic things. God willingly takes our ordinary lives and, as we surrender to Him and step out in faith, He meets us. The natural clashes with the supernatural and what seems impossible begins to take shape. What seems hopeless, begins to glimmer with life once again.

But that’s scary, isn’t it?

Stepping into unknown, unfamiliar territory with no guarantee of success. No assurance as to how the story will unfold. No control. No risk management study. No rainy day fund?!

One of my most difficult struggles has been learning to overcome fear. I’ve come a long way, but still have so…

much…

farther…

to…

go.

I don’t want fear to paralyze me and keep me ineffective. Instead, I want to learn how to stand strong in the face of it.

I want to confidently and consistently live out this scripture in Psalm 56,

when-i-am-afraid-i-will-put-my-trust-in-you-psalm-56_3

God has given us every reason to believe His promises and stand strong in the face of fear. Throughout the Scriptures, we see that wherever there is an impossible situation, God shows up in an amazing way.

One of my favorite examples of this is found in Mark 5 when a man approaches Jesus desperately needing healing for his sick daughter who is near death.

He pleaded earnestly with him, “My little daughter is dying. Please come and put your hands on her so that she will be healed and live.” Mark 5:23

While we hopefully haven’t faced the extreme despair and agonizing this man was experiencing, we can all relate to the very painful, fearful, real-life situations that create stress and instability in our life.

The lab results.

The job loss.

The relational conflict.

The financial lack.

Jesus encourages his people, “don’t be afraid.

You don’t have to choose the route of fear. There is a greater power available to you – the way of faith and trust. It doesn’t mean everything will work out the way we want it to…

While Jesus was still speaking, some people came from the house of Jairus, the synagogue leader. “Your daughter is dead,” they said. “Why bother the teacher anymore?” Mark 5:35

Why bother? Tempted to give up, encouraged to lose hope, this man had a choice to make. He could choose to make this moment his ending or He could walk with Jesus just a little further and trust God to continue writing His story…

God may lead us to dead ends, and He doesn’t always resolve the tension. He brings us to a place where we must completely rely on him and step out of our comfort zone into the unknown.

Overhearing what they said, Jesus told him, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.” Mark 5:36

If we were to write our own story, most likely we would choose to avoid the pain and discomfort. We’d go straight from asking Jesus for healing to receiving it. Why the need for the emotional, painful, long walk through the suffering and uncertainty?

Jesus invites us to walk with Him through the pain and respond in a way that gives God greater access to our life so He can work His greater plan. A path that allows God’s power to work in our normal, messy life.

A road that points people, not to the greatness of our human strength and ability, but to the supernatural, amazing power of God.

And the girl, who was twelve years old, immediately stood up and walked around! They were overwhelmed and totally amazed. Mark 5:42 NLT

 

I Want to Soar but I’m Afraid of Falling

There’s an attraction at Disney’s California Adventure called Soarin’ Around the World where you’re in a flight simulator that mimics a hang gliding adventure above some of the world’s most amazing wonders.

During your airborne experience, you can actually feel the wind blowing in your face and smell scents like fresh flowers while you soar over majestic places like the awe-inspiring Alaskan glaciers and the incredible Iguazu Falls in South America.

You really feel like you’re being carried by the wind. Like you’re soaring.

It’s a freeing feeling and while I was there I decided I want to live like that.

Soaring

He mounted the cherubim and flew; he soared on the wings of the wind. Psalm 18:10

At least for the 5 minutes I was on the ride. Then my kids dragged me over to the Tower of Terror where you’re strapped in a seat, locked in a dark room and drop free fall for 13-stories.

It’s a lot easier for me to want to soar when I’m gently floating in front of a large computer screen and aware that I’m on a ride at a theme park that will end in about 5 minutes.

Although it feels like I’m soarin’, in reality, I’m in a room, sitting in a chair that is only two feet off the ground.

While I say I want to soar, I want to live with courage, faith and freedom, if I can confide in you, I really prefer to keep my feet on solid ground where there’s more certainty and I can control my course.

Because when the bottom drops out and I start falling.

Down.

All.

Thirteen.

Stories.

Well, then I scream, panic and really embarrass my kids.

When fear creeps in, my natural impulse is to tighten my grip on what I can control – my circumstances, my kids, my schedule, etc.. Anxiety level rises, my stomach turns, my neck tightens and I start calling my kids a zillion times trying to track them down and make sure they’re okay (another story).

I’m learning, though, when facing mountains of fear, when it feels like I’m free falling and there’s no way out, if I relax, take a deep breath and step out, God is faithful to lead me through my greatest challenges.

Because I don’t soar alone. He calls me out, but He comes along with me. And in the process, He changes me, teaches me to trust Him and I get to know Him in a more wonderful way.

Not a terrifying free fall bursting with fear.

I get to soar and experience the freedom and grace that comes when I live by faith.

…but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. Isaiah 40:31