“Give away your life; you’ll find life given back, but not merely given back—given back with bonus and blessing. Giving, not getting, is the way. Generosity begets generosity.” Luke 6:38 (The Message)
As I stated last time, after praying and waiting, God in fact confirmed through two very different sources that He indeed was calling me to step out in faith. Now…this is where the familiarity began between myself and my son. I knew what God was asking of me. I was willing to do it, but I was scared. God has brought me to the next level, where I choose faith instead of fear, but that doesn’t mean the fear isn’t still present. Now I walk in faith while shaking in my boots. Even though I was obeying and choosing to walk in the direction God wanted me to, I was silently having a temper tantrum based on fear. I don’t have enough time without neglecting my family. What if I mess everything up? What if I get rejected? I have no skills, this isn’t going to work out after all. I’m not good enough.
With even more understanding that I had with our preschooler, I think God understood the words and feelings behind the temper tantrum I was having. He sees my willingness to obey. He knows I’m not choosing to ignore His request or run in the opposite direction. He realizes I’m just letting my fear talk louder than my newfound faith and trust. However, I also believe He loves me too much to allow me to stay stuck acting like an immature child instead of growing into the spiritually mature adult He knows I’m capable of becoming.
As is so typical of our Father, He again spoke to me in ways that I understood. He used two separate mornings of my quiet time to get me alone and speak to my heart. The first fear He addressed was what He expected out of me. He gave me the above verse, Luke 6:38, and reminded me that to impact someone’s life as a blessing, I needed to give generously. So, as I was following His lead and reaching out with His request, I needed to do it with a generous heart. It’s not easy to give generously without also giving genuinely and willingly. Those two concepts go hand in hand. Not letting fear talk but instead letting God’s generous spirit be heard. He reminded me all I have is His anyway – He would supply enough for my family as well as what He wanted me to offer to others.
The next morning, He addressed the second fear, the one of self doubt and lack of confidence. He gave me a different verse this time, I Corinthians 1:27-29: “Take a good look, friends, at who you were when you got called into this life. I don’t see many of “the brightest and the best” among you, not many influential, not many from high-society families. Isn’t it obvious that God deliberately chose men and women that the culture overlooks and exploits and abuses, chose these “nobodies” to expose the hollow pretensions of the “somebodies”? That makes it quite clear that none of you can get by with blowing your own horn before God.” (The Message) Well, His words blew away that excuse. He expects me to be weak in myself. He doesn’t expect perfection, skills, or talent at first. And, I’ve proven in the past I can learn new things. So, I need to change my attitude to one of excitement at learning something valuable that God could be waiting to use in a different form for another job in my future.
I want to encourage you today, my friends. We as parents or friends or spouses, understand when fear speaks loudly for those we love in certain situations, and we love them anyway. God, a far better parent than I will ever be, understands to the nth degree our fears, weaknesses, and struggles and loves us anyway. When we’re making healthy choices, we don’t allow our friends, children, or those we love stay stuck in a rut or continue to exercise their right to temper tantrum. God, who is always right, doesn’t allow us to stay stuck either. He loves us far more than that.
So, even though I’m still afraid, I can look at the not-so-distant past and see how God laid the foundation for blessings for our family. He didn’t just hand us blessings, but guided us with which steps to take in order to be ready for the time the blessings would come. This scenario is no different. God is giving me a choice. I can walk in the direction He is leading, trusting that He has more blessings for our family, but realizing there will be work required on my part to prepare for the blessings to arrive. Or, I can choose to disobey, ignore, or pretend I didn’t hear Him. I won’t be punished but I could be missing out on some great things God wants to give us. I have one more choice. I can continue down the path He has chosen for the next leg of our journey, kicking and screaming, or I can choose to do so with a healthy attitude, focusing on faith and the positives along the way instead of giving in to a little healthy fear.
I don’t love our son any less because of his initial response of anger and defiance. I realize that with the proper modeling and appropriate reactions from me, he will eventually outgrow that behavior and learn a more appropriate reaction. It’s my job as his parent to step it up and be a better role model for him of how to do it right the first time.
Am I still scared? Sure. But so was Joshua and Daniel and Noah and Abraham. Being scared isn’t wrong. God just calls me to walk in faith while I’m scared. When I focus on pleasing my Father, I find an added benefit. My fear begins to disappear. It’s hard to be happy and scared at the same time.
© Cheri Swalwell 2014