I mentioned recently that my church just started a new series, Face Your Giants: Dealing with the things that hold you back.
Our first lesson was to admit there are giants in our lives.
Admit. Why do we always have to start with admitting?! What group got together and decided admitting would always be the first step? Some evil geniuses who wanted people to get better I guess. 😉
Admitting is hard. Admitting takes humility. Humility is hard. It’s hard to stand out and say “I am not perfect.” Especially in our always cropped and perfectly filtered world.
It’s scary to say “I love Jesus. He is amazing. He loves me AND I don't have it all together. I am a work in progress.” Owning all of that takes humility and humility is hard.
But the Bible has good stuff to say about humility:
“Humble yourselves before the Lord and he will lift you up.” James 4:10
“For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” Luke 14:11
“God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.” James 4:6
Um, yes, I’d like to subscribe and go ahead with the auto-renew for some of God’s favor.
So, I’m taking the first step and admitting. I'm calling out this giant. It’s here with me now but I’m giving it the finger (yes, that finger. Sorry, but anger towards my giant helps right now. 😉 ) So, I’m calling it out and moving forward.
The giant in my life is fear.
It’s always there. Always threatening. Always letting me know what the worst case scenario could look like in any given situation. Always making sure I'm aware of how many people are on the planet and how many of them probably think I'm a complete idiot. (anyone else? please?)
It tries to paralyze me. Tries to get me to overreact, panic and create chaos.
Fear threatens to keep me from doing all the things I believe God has called me to do.
Even when I move ahead and do something in spite of my fear it is there stealing the peace and joy I should be experiencing. It’s a wet blanket on my excitement and exhilaration of walking with Jesus and being his beloved daughter!
A friend of mine wisely tells her kids when they are afraid that “Fear is not from God. And we don’t want anything that is not from God.”
So good! And so true!
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.” 2 Timothy 1:7
God never meant for us to live with or walk in fear.
I am not meant to live with or walk in fear and I’m super tired of it. So I'm taking that first step, admitting this dude is real and is in my life but he sucks and so I'm ready to move on.
One of the other things my pastor said was that we should not make friends with our giants.
How did he know I did that?
Now that I am done with all the admitting, I have to do all the breaking up.
Your time has come to an end. You do not get a rose. Pack your bags. You are voted off. Please have security remove this fear!
I made friends with fear. Even crazier is that in this "friendship" I have actually been asking fear its opinion! What the what?
An opportunity comes up, something unexpected happens, I feel inspired to do something God has asked me to do.
And then I turn to fear and say “What do you think?”
Oh my gosh! And duh! What did I ever think fear was going to say?!
The answer never changes!
“Oh I don’t know if you could do that. And you probably shouldn’t. What will people think? What if you are wrong? What if you say the wrong thing? In the wrong way? People won't like you.”
“Oh this could go so many different directions of wrong! Here’s worst case scenario #1. Aaaand here’s #2 and #3. See all the terrible things that could happen and probably will happen?! This is all terrible and awful and you really shouldn’t do anything except freak out and overreact. Please panic now!”
This is what fear has to say but I don’t care what fear thinks anymore!
I am not saying I am going rogue and just planning to do whatever I want, whenever and however I want. Don’t get crazy.
But I have a much better counselor and guide that I should be asking the question, “What do you think?”
"Show me your ways, LORD, teach me your paths. Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long." Psalm 25:4-5
"If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you." James 1:5
"I will praise the LORD, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me. I keep my eyes always on the LORD. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken." Psalm 16:7-8
God is supposed to be where I go and who I listen to.
When fear is speaking I feel afraid and worried and panicky.
When God speaks I feel peace and hope and encouragement.
Now, I have to unlearn some things I have believed.
I have believed that fear is keeping me from making a mistake. If I think through all the scenarios, weigh all the possible options and make certain to cross all the “t”s and dot all the “i”s then somehow I will avoid all the mistakes and unknowns in life.
The main problem with all of that is it’s just a flat out lie! It isn’t possible to avoid all the mistakes and pitfalls in life.
Here is where freedom comes in:
I am going to mess up.
I am going to say the wrong thing, the wrong way.
Things I can’t plan for are going to happen in my life, in my marriage and with my kids.
And fear is not going to stop any of that. It never was.
I need to understand that. Maybe you do too. Fear is not going to do anything good for me. It's not helping. It's not protecting. It's not making me better or smarter or more strategic.
Fear is not my friend.
Know who is?
In John 15:15 Jesus says "I have called you friends."
Jesus is my friend.
Fear is not my friend and can't keep anything negative from coming into my life. But God’s wisdom might actually stop some of the negative by keeping me from making poor decisions.
And the rest of it? The hard things that do come? God actually wants to allow those things in my life. To teach me to trust him. To teach me how to admit when I am wrong. And that it’s ok to be wrong.
If I trust him, then whatever comes will be ok. Even if what comes is because of a mistake I made.
(side note: The Bible is FULL of people making mistakes and God walking them through it all! It’s kind of the theme of the whole thing. 😉)
So, fear is pointless. It’s not bringing anything good into my life. It is slowing me down, robbing my joy and peace and trying to make me ineffective and miserable. So, we're done.
I choose to face my giant. To know that my giant has been defeated already by my God. God has already taken care of all of it. He will guide me and give me counsel. I choose to listen to him and him alone.
It’s a journey. Unlearning and relearning always are. I know this giant will still try to speak but I am done listening and done speaking back. When it speaks I'll simply turn to God and see what he has to say. It’s a journey I’m willing to begin and walk out in Jesus name and in his power. Amen.
What is your giant?
Start with admitting and then, for goodness sake, please watch these messages so you can be sure to have all the tools you need to face the giants in your life and be done with all the things holding you back!