I can’t believe it’s Saturday already. I’ve meaning to post by Wednesday this week and now it’s the weekend. But I have something to share with you, dear readers and so I’ll get this post out before it’s the start of another week!
The promise of rain on my weather app was right today. Outside my window, the thick heavy clouds could nearly burst. In fact when I went out to feed the dog an hour ago, they had begun to leak. It’s another dreary day in Texas. Oh, how I promise to never complain about the hot, hot sun in July.
Last week I wrote about how I was greatly daring in beginning something new. Something new which involved hanging out over food with people I knew, knew of and a complete stranger. This all came about after attending IF:Gathering in the beginning of February. I risked an If:Table which turned out a success and we are continuing it next month! Yay!
I’ve also been praying this prayer for Lent this year (read the prayer here) inspired by Ann Voskamp who spoke at the IF:Gathering. I follow her blog for the most part and she wrote a recap post from IF and then included this prayer challenge.
And, all I can say is along came that prayer and rocked my little safe boat.
This Lent Prayer is so powerful and motivating. I feel empowered and rested each time after praying it. It can be a bit of a drag to remember to get that prayer in some days, but when I’m through, I’m so glad I prayed it.
Sometimes when I read it different parts pop out at me. Sometimes I’m stuck on a phrase or two for a couple of days. I’m stuck on safety right now. I never thought that was an issue for me.
Here’s the paragraph that I’ve been praying:
We lay down our comfort zones because they are death traps, and we will be strong and courageous because You literally save us, and that makes us safe and the safest place we could ever be is in Your hand — and because we are saved by You, we are always, always safe, — so we are now called to go live dangerous lives.
I used to quickly breezed through part thinking, “this is probably a big issue for some people since she wrote a whole paragraph on being safe. Sheesh” All the while confidently believed it wasn’t my struggle.
Then it began to haunt me. “Do I feel safe?”
As I wrestled with the word safe I began to see how I often live in fear more than I was ever being honest with myself. Fear of what others think, what my husband might say about what I did, that I’m over-bearing or coming up short, or if I’m doing the ‘right’ thing in a situation.
I think when I’m living fearfully, like fearful of how an evening might go and trying to be somebody I’m not – I don’t have a sense of safety. So, maybe safety isn’t a word I connect with as much as fear. Not feeling safe is living in fear.
If you’re like me when in a situation that leaves you feeling a bit fearful of what might happen, then you try to produce all obvious efforts to control the situation and push down that feeling of fear creating for myself a Jolynn-itized safety. And Jolynn-itized safety has nothing to do with God-itized safety. All my best efforts to knock out fear in my heart will not leave me at rest and secure in God.
When fear rules, there’s no room for faith.
Is any of my crazy brain registering with you?
I used to believe that faith in God meant that I was NOT afraid or doubtful when I had faith. Like I was either one or the other and that one day I would arrive and no longer struggle with faith and fear and doubting. But, on my spiritual journey with God, I learned that that’s not at all the case.
Three things. 1. Having faith in God does not mean all those doubts and fears are vanished – kaput. Faith simply overcomes those feelings. Daily. 2. I still might have a twinge of fear, meaning they actually co-exist. It matters more which voice I’m leaning and acting on. 3. I will never arrive and not struggle with fear, faith and doubt. Even when I’m 81. Not until heaven with the struggle stop.
My desire in this moment of awareness on my journey is to use my feelings of fear or insecurity as red flags to stop and ask myself what I am afraid of right now. And then teach myself to pray and ask God to replace that fear with faith and remember I’m always safe in Him no matter what I’m dealing with or how I feel. God makes me safe if I invite his presence in my troubled heart.
Owning my fear and not bulldozing through it will make me more fully alive then any fake version of myself ever will be.
It’s amazing what all humans struggle with. I hope being honest with you about my struggles will cause healing in our hearts and render encouragement. We can learn so much from each other. Being a student of life is the greatest classroom one could ever attend. May my struggles help build curiosity in you for more of God and freer, more alive living.
I’m amazed at how much I can grow and change when I’m seeking after God. I’m not saying it’s easy. In fact it seems harder. I’m realizing that God isn’t fixated on making me happy but desires a close relationship with me and that takes intentionality on my part. I’m such an independent, I’ll-figure-a-way-out, bulldoze-through-the-confusion kinda gal. Yeah, not much room for God to move in me! Ha! :p