Tag Archive | fear

What If?

What if I wasn’t afraid of what other people would think?

What if I wasn’t afraid?

IMG_0668What if I was more daring, more adventurous?

What if I wasn’t afraid of failing?

What if I truly trusted what I was hearing God say?

What if I took that trip? Talked to that person? Sent that email? Wrote that book?

What if I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that God would be there whatever I tried?

Even if I did fail.

Even if I got lost along the way.

Even if nobody cared what I had to say.fullsizeoutput_7d98

What if I said something kind to that person who looks so sad?

What if I gave up everything and followed Jesus wherever He led me?

What if I never had any regrets?

Made any mistakes.

Loved and lost.

Sometimes clouds create the most beautiful sunsets.

FullSizeRenderSee that stunning rainbow?

Yep, it had to rain.

There is no growth where there is no trial.

No lessons learned where there have been no failed attempts.

 

This post is a part of the Five Minute Friday link up “If.” Join the fun!

Rainbow photo courtesy of KehauClassicsPhotography.

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Drink Like A Deer

img_1701-1In my front yard I have a grapevine doe. She used to be a Christmas decoration, but eventually the light bulbs burned out. So I moved her over to my koi pond, which sits right in front of my dining-room window. And now I can watch her all year long.

Every once in awhile I see a lizard skittering inside her belly.

What struck me today, though, was that she’s ever so close to drinking that water, but never quite getting there. If she could just stretch a little further; if the water would just come a little closer, she could be fulfilled.

It reminded me of the verse, “As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God” (Ps. 42:1b).

Do I long for God? Do I literally feel as if I will die if I’m not with Him?

This winter has been rough—I know, I know, how can a Version 2Florida winter be rough?—but though the sun has been shining and the weather has been warm, the storms of life have almost undone me.

From emotional crises to a nagging health issue to an accident that’s causing me to take on a role that doesn’t come naturally to me, the blizzards hit one after another, just as if I’m New England in this winter of ’17.

Oh, how I long for the flowing streams of God’s grace. I don’t want to sip, I want to plunge in, head over heels, and feel Him surround me and take me under so that I’m no longer breathing air, I’m breathing Jesus. Every breath I take.

Sometimes the life-giving water seems far away. I just can’t reach that far. There is too
much fear, like lizards crawling around in my belly. Do I trust Him, even though He’s choosing to keep me in this season?
img_9130Do I believe He’s a good Father who is doing the best for me? Working all things together for good. Because I do love Him. I am called according to His purpose.

As the hymn writer Horatio Spafford said, “When peace like a river attendeth my way . . .”

So many water images in the Bible, Jesus Himself being the epitome of that. Living Water.

“Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!” Ps. 34:8.

The water is fine, I tell that doe. And myself. Dive right in.

What Will Wednesday Bring?

 

Unless you live in a deep, dark hole (and which of us doesn’t from time to time?), you know tamerican-flaghat today is Election Day in the United States. Usually, elections are a time of excitement and anticipation, of change and newness. This year, though, it seems that it’s a time of fear and anger and dread. So we hope and we pray.

And we vote.

For the first time ever, I participated in early voting this year. I wanted to avoid the long lines I hoped would be evident come Election Day. I’ve heard reports of both. My husband went early this morning and there was no line. Another friend in another state had to wait an hour.

Looming questions hang over us like Damocles’ sword. Will the election be fair? Will riots break out if one candidate — or the other — loses? What will life look like on Wednesday morning?

I don’t have the answer to most of these questions, but I do know one thing: God is still on His throne. And America, believe it or not, is not the center of the universe.

So Wednesday morning, I will wake up like I always do, to a praise song playing from myVersion 2

Before I leave my house I will take care of my dog and my birds and my cats and my fish. I will eat what I chose for breakfast. I will leave my mother-in-law to prepare for her day of homeschooling my nephew. I will keep my doors and windows open to the cool Florida November weather.

And I will go teach school.

I will say the Pledge of Allegiance in Latin with my students. I will grade papers. I will lead them in a devotion about the life of Joseph in Egypt. I will pray with them.

And we will probably pray for our nation.

Because Wednesday morning will be like any other morning in America, come what may, and God is still on His throne.

It’s our job to make Biblesure that while some things stay the same, the things that really matter will change. I will be kinder, more generous, more loving. I will listen more and speak less. I will be a catalyst for change in a world that will still be lost and broken after today. No election is going to change that.
Only Jesus.

And I will let my little light shine.

 

America, America, God shed His grace on thee.

Barking Up The Wrong Tree

My black lab, Berkeley, is a barker. In fact, one of his nicknames with people is “Barkley.” He’s the sweetest dog and not the least bit dominant, but he has a ferocious bark. We like that for the burglar-proofing it does for our house, but really, does he have to bark at every movement?

He’s what I would call an alarmist if he were a person. Every little sound, every little movement, every car door that shuts five houses away, he lets us know about it.

I feel that way sometimes with things I read online, especially on Facebook. Obama is trying to take over the world! The Republicans are out to steal your money! The next phone call you receive could be your last!!!!!!

If I foolishly believed everything I read, I would be in a constant state of panic. Thanks be to God that my future is not in the hands of either political party. I would surely be doomed.

As I’m always telling my dog, why don’t you get all the facts before you sound the alarm? Is that car that’s driving down the road turning and stopping in front of the house? Is there actually someone coming to our door, or is that the neighbor in their own driveway? Did the unemployment rate under the Obama administration really quadruple? Is Romney going to call in that alien army to suck out your brains and leave you helpless and in their hands? Is eating potato chips going to give you cancer?

Being rightly informed takes work, and I know that I’m not up for spending hours and hours researching things that, in the end, don’t affect my eternal destiny. Use your brain, but don’t get carried away. Balance is everything.

In Matthew 6, Jesus is quoted as saying, “‘Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes?  Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?

“‘And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own'” (Matthew 6: 25-34).

Bobby McFerrin understood that. See what he has to say about that in his funky song, “Don’t Worry, Be Happy.”

My favorite saying these days is: “It is what it is.” Sometimes, you just can’t change things. Like a rainstorm during a picnic. Or a favorite dish getting broken. There’s really no use getting upset. Look at the weather forecast; move dishes away from the edge of the counters and be careful. Other than that, there’s nothing you can do.

And I really don’t think the world is going to end on December 21st.

Thankful today for:

549. bird song

550. a good school schedule for my eldest

551. a new computer for a good price

552. pressure washing

553. training

554. the excitement of a new school year

555. dishwashers

556. helping hands

557. weekly trash pick up

558. yummy food

559. peaceful negotiations

560. a job well done

Out of Control

I think I just figured out what fear is: being out of control. When I enter a situation that is not familiar to me; when I face something I’ve never faced before; when I’m uncertain whether the outcome of something is going to be good or bad.

Faith is the peace that comes from knowing that He who is familiar with, yea even made, all things, has faced every situation and knows exactly what the outcome is going to be is right there by my side, holding me close.

I need to be out of control so that He can be in control. Boy, is that uncomfortable for me. And the only way for it to become more comfortable is for me to do it more often.

Do I trust Him or not?

Thankful today for:
157. Ministry partners
158. Indoor plumbing
159. Two more months until summer break
160. Our anticipated annual Easter gathering
161. The pool being ready for baptisms again
162. Ice

No Fear

For years and years I have struggled with anxiety. Before I became a follower of Jesus, I didn’t know what to do about it. I would feel sick to my stomach and have terrible heart palpitations. 

 

Since then, though, I would be frustrated that I didn’t feel instant peace when I prayed for it. Then 

ImageI learned a great secret: focus on God, not my situation. The advent of the iPod helped me tremendously as I created a playlist of songs that glorified God and helped me focus on who He is. Anytime I felt anxious, I would plug in that playlist and rest in the arms of my Savior.

Now, if I think I’m in a situation that might be anxiety producing, I am proactive, and start the music even before I feel the anxiety. And guess what? The instances of anxiety have greatly lessened.

“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment.The one who fears is not made perfect in love” 1 John 4:18.

Perfect love, perfectly at peace. Ahhhhhhh.

Thankful today for:

I’ve been told that I already said what 59 was yesterday, so I’ll change it here:

59. candles

60. rain

61. horses

62. a night at home after a busy day