Fear gripped me so tight I could hardly breathe…
Have I not commanded you?
Baby, look at me. (I look up) Have I not commanded you?
Yes, Jesus, you have.
Then why are you afraid?
Because for the first time since you gave me this ministry, a project I’ve labored over, sacrifice for, poured myself into is heading off to the printers! My summer’s work is about to be multiplied several hundred times and distributed to those who attend my beloved church. Everything I worked for, prayed over and for is about to become very real. Tangibly real…and…out there. For MANY others to see…
I know. It’s exciting! So, why are you afraid?
It IS exciting…I’m thrilled! But…what if…what if…it’s not good enough? What if I embarrass You? What if I fail? What if I missed what you were wanting me to do?
Ever have one of those conversations with God?
That was my conversation with Him all weekend as I navigated through all the feels of my work being “out there.” Out of my control. Out of my hands…and in theirs.
Don’t misunderstand. I’m pumped for the next stage! I’m praying God will use this study on 1 & 2 Samuel to infuse a hunger for His Word in my people. I’m praying He will set my church on fire for Him, and then that fire will engulf the surrounding community. Oh, Jesus let it be so!
But all week I’ve felt on edge, agitated. Uneasy. And I couldn’t identify why. After a while I figured it had to do with trying to find a new normal, getting caught up with life and friends (still working on that), and outlining phase two of this project. Regardless, I tried to ignore the disquiet and forge forward to do what needed to be done. But emotionally, I will still—off. Tense. Disturbed. And they symptoms were mounting.
Then Friday I got exhilarating news: “The Bible study is officially off to the printer!” WAHOO!!! I’ve been looking forward to this!
But before my initial cheer was off my tongue, fear rapidly eclipsed my joy. Insecurities I thought were gone came out of the shadows thirsting for blood. I felt vulnerable. Exposed. Terrified.
What I knew and what I felt were at war with each other.
What I felt:
- Who do you think you are? You’re nothing.
- Do you really think this thing is going to matter?
- You do realize your writing sucks, right?
- No one is going to do this study–you wasted your time.
- You’re not good enough for this.
- You’re a nobody! A fool.
- They are going to tear you apart.
What I knew:
- I am child of God. A daughter of the Living King. I am chosen, treasured, created with purpose and for God’s purpose.
- So shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it. (Isaiah 55:11)
- Those who’ve previewed this project have loved it. Been encouraged, blessed, and challenged by it.
- People already are doing this study, and I know several who are looking forward to doing it.
- I may not be “good enough,” but God used Moses who stuttered and Paul who wasn’t eloquent to deliver His message. All He asked for was my obedience and promised to take care of the rest.
- I don’t care if my name ends up in lights. I just want to be obedient and fulfill the purpose God gave me.
- And I’m not a fool! My God promises to give wisdom to those who ask for it—and He has kept His promise.
- I may be criticized extensively, but I can’t control how others respond. I can only control my obedience.
I hate to say it, as these two sides warred with each other I responded in my flesh, not in the Spirit. I wish I could say my faith showed through, that I hit my knees, looked up, and combated every lie with God’s truth–but it didn’t and I didn’t. Instead my guard went up! I became defensive and suspicious. Walls were erected around my heart as I cowered in the corner. Annoyance and anger my weapons of choice.
Been there? How did you manage it?
Talk about a helpless place to be!
Do you know what’s worse? I’d written about this very thing just a few weeks ago for the Bible study! That after a Spiritual high, a mountain top experience, you’re the most vulnerable to spiritual attack because you’re so focused on the horizontal view you get tripped up by pride and take a header off the mountain. Or in my case—after being carried by the Spirit to finish a large project, you’re more vulnerable to attack because of exhaustion. And instead of fully resting in the Lord, you keep forging forward and end up tripping on your pride.
Unfortunately, I didn’t apply what I’d learned; I reverted to past behavior. I knew exactly what I needed to do. And I didn’t do it.
As a result, I felt as though I’d lost every inch of growth I’d made over the summer.
What was I afraid of?
- Embarrassing God
- Criticism (I appreciate and need constructive criticism, but I struggle with harsh, hurtful words)
- Missing the mark
So, Saturday morning I poured everything out in my prayer journal. Interestingly it took me a bit to accurately identify my fears—a clear sign they were founded on lies—snares laid by the Enemy. Snares I not only stepped in but willingly got all tangled up in.
As I asked God to untangle the mess He led me to Psalm 37.
Friend, I fell. Hard. Flat on my face.
But God picked me up. Dusted me off. And set me back on my feet. He took my anger and suspicion and put His Sword and Shield in their place. “I’m going before you and behind you. Step where I step. Trust me. Now let’s go combat the lies and walk in truth!”
And I am.
I’m clinging to His Truth. What I know and what I feel still don’t match 100%, but they are getting closer every moment. Every lie that pops up I tell Satan, “Not today, Satan! Go away! I am a Child of the Living God and you have No power over me!”
And, Dear One, you can tell him this too! In fact, you need to! Regardless of your circumstances.
Satan is a liar. Fear and anxiety are his specialties. But he has no claim on you. NONE! As you remember Whose you are and Who you are; remind Him who he is and that he’s defeated. Grab your sword and slash at him with the Word of God—stab him with God’s Truth. Cut him with the promises spoken over you. Gouge him with the promises of his future.
NOT TODAY SATAN!
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