Fear Less - Part 3
Drowning Out the What-If's with Faith
Fear starts in my thoughts.
Once it takes root in my mind, it soon reveals itself in my words.
And although I'd like to say I recognize fear when it first enters my thoughts, that's not always the case. Sometimes I need to listen to my words to help me identify this.
Because I've learned, fear often starts with 2 words - What if...
We're learning how to overcome fear and I'm honored to introduce you to my new friend, Jamie Daggett, who has experienced the debilitating "What if's."
A wife for seventeen years and a mom of four kids, she is the founder and leader of United Women's Ministry in Waco, Texas and desires to make God's Word accessible to all and to create a united environment for women to study scripture and experience God in new ways.
I pray you are strengthened in hearing her story to turn your what if's into words of faith.
I have had the awesome blessing and colossal reasonability of being a mom for the last 16 years, 2 months, 3 weeks, and 4 days (plus the 9 months that I carried that sweet girl in my tummy).
I had known that I wanted to be a mom from the time I was just 10 years old, but the weight of what that meant didn’t hit me until after my first ultrasound appointment. Seeing that precious gift on the monitor totally and completely overwhelmed me with a sense of fear.
As we drove home that day, I broke down. Sobbing to my husband, I was so afraid that I was going to mess this up.
What if I didn’t have everything we needed? What if I wasn’t a good mom? What if my child grows up and rejects me…. or worst yet, rejects the Lord.
I wish I could say that those fears subsided quickly, but they only seemed to compound. I spent the entirety of my pregnancy reading "What to expect when you are expecting” and any other book that came highly recommended.
In, what seemed like, a blink of an eye, that one beautiful little blessing soon turned into two, then three, then four…. And thus, I continued on my fear driven pursuit seeking articles, bloggers and people who could give me the formula for perfect parenting. I sought after the person or program that could promise if I followed all the right steps that my child would turn out okay.
The whole parenting situation seemed kind of hopeless and I was afraid.
I was overwhelmed. I was exhausted and I certainly wasn’t the mother that I hoped that I would be. Yet, the harder I tried to save myself, the more discouraged I became and the more sorrowful my children became about me and the "way of life" that I was implementing.
I knew I needed to make a change, but I wasn’t even sure where to start. I felt like I had tried everything and nothing was working. It was at this time that God gave me a beautiful verse to speak to my heart:
Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly. - Matthew 11:28-30 MSG
Yes, I was tired and worn out and quite frankly, I couldn’t remember the last time that my heart, mind and body had all been at rest.
You see, I had fallen into a trap of fear - a trap of believing that God wasn’t bigger than the choices my kids or myself could make. That somehow, I or my children (or even my husband), could make a mistake that was too big for God to redeem.
I doubted that the promises in God’s word really applied to our family. The promises of a hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11). The promises of salvation (John 3:16). The promises that we are saved by grace and not by our works (Ephesians 2:8-9). I had stopped learning from God and instead was striving for a self-imposed perfection.
In Psalm 145:13 David sings the Lord’s praises, saying,
The Lord is trustworthy in all he promises and faithful in all he does. - Psalm 145:13
In my fear, I had forgotten that God not only loved me but that He also loved my children. In fact, He loved them more and better than I ever could. I had also failed to trust God to give me the wisdom, discernment, and strength of body and mind to parent. I was acting as though I had to figure it all out on my own.
Living in faith, not fear, was a trust fall of sorts with the Lord. I had to surrender my children to Him and to His incredible will for their lives.
Although I have not been perfect about it, and I sometimes catch myself still dwelling on the what-ifs of parenting, God has been faithful and He is continuing to lead me in His grace in this area.
What if this and what if that... fear is contagious. As Jamie so bravely shared, it keeps us thinking through all the various scenarios that could happen, each going darker and darker with every thought.
When that trap threatens my peace, I've learned to go there. Go to the depth of the fear. The farthest, darkest fear.
But, we don't stay there.
Then, we can ask, "Is Jesus still with me, even then?"
Yes, yes He is.
Then, resting on this promise, we can begin to turn these fears into faith. Instead of "What if this happens...", it's "What will God do if this happens?"
And every time, my answer is - He will be faithful.
Following Jesus and trusting Him doesn't mean we always feel fearless. The Christian life is not an absence of fear, at least it hasn't been for me. Instead, we let our faith be BIGGER than our fear. Because our God is BIGGER than our circumstances.
It's not about being completely fearless.
It's about bringing Jesus into that word - and we are able to fear less - because He is with us and He will always be.
Let's find strength in God's power and joy in the midst of the downpours as we trust He is near and feel His peace wash over us as we rest in the faithfulness of His resume.
The good life, well it starts with a good day. Then another. Then another. Let's choose to live #TheGoodDay one day at a time.
I love hearing from you, so go ahead. Leave a comment. Be brave. Maybe your comment will speak life into someone else!
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