#FEARLESS365 is a yearlong study of God’s commandment to us to live without fear. For 365 days, we will focus on one scripture and volunteers from all over the world will share their personal thoughts and what God has shared with them on the specific verse. For more info… go here.
“O Sovereign Lord,” I said, “I can’t speak for you! I’m too young!” The Lord replied, “Don’t say, ‘I’m too young,’ for you must go wherever I send you and say whatever I tell you. And don’t be afraid of the people, for I will be with you and will protect you. I, the Lord, have spoken.”
Jeremiah 1:6-8 (NLT)
For more years that I care to admit, I did all I could to please people. I said yes when I meant no. I did good things that I wasn’t good at. I wore clothes, jewelry, and make-up that they were acceptable. My bookcase was full of books that told me who to be and how to be her – that perfect woman who had it all and had it all going on.
I even wore the perfume that the commercials said would help me “bring home the bacon, fry it up in a pan, and never, never let him forget he’s a man.”
She was a mirage, but I was afraid that if I didn’t try to be her, they wouldn’t like me. In the middle of all that striving, I was angry, dry as a brittle ice, and lonely in my soul for me.
One day my husband asked me who I was angry at. His words surprised me because I thought I was hiding it so well. Then he said, “It’s like the shine is off the apple.” His voice was full of a tender sadness. When the shock wore off, my heart took his words in like cracked dry ground takes in a gentle rain.
Later, I told him I was angry at myself because over and over I’d taken in the things other people said, all the shouldas, wouldas, and couldas, whether they were true or not. With deep sorrow, I told him, “Sometimes even when I know I’m a fake or that what I’m told is a lie, I choose to make it my truth.”
Then I defended myself. I was young, and the people I was trying to please were older, wiser, and more experienced. In stubborn resistance, I pushed back the words of those who knew me better and loved me more and trusted strongly stated opinions and clung to the lies.
After all, those negative folks told me I’d be unloved and unsuccessful as Christian, a wife, a woman, and author. Fear blinded me, and I stumbled along in that darkness for too long. But what if they were right?
At the right time, God birthed courage in my heart to resist the lies and embrace the truth.
Since then, I’ve spent years stomping out the sparks of destruction that some call people-pleasing but is in reality, people-fear. Armed with Bible verses in my heart and speaking truth to myself, and stepping away from those who spoke the damaging words, I’ve worked hard to conquer this internal bully.
It turns out I’m still susceptible to this ages old enemy and fear has crept back into my heart and mind.
The only difference is that this time it has nothing to do with being young and everything to be with not being young. The enemy of my soul whispers hiss-filled questions like, “Aren’t you too old? Too irrelevant? Too boring?
The past taught me that fear can hold a heart hostage and doubt flourishes in the mind not focused on God.
These two are a dangerous cocktail of lies I’m no longer willing to swallow.
Some days I stomp my internal foot and say to my invisible enemy, “As if there’s an expiration date of serving God and loving others and being loved.”
Then I turn to the Truth giver – the Word of God.
In the first chapter of Jeremiah the prophet was certain he was too young, but God made two things clear:
- He knew Jeremiah was afraid of what people would think.
- The fear about his age, while real to the prophet was, a lie wrapped up as an excuse and God replaced it with His powerful truth.
And He will do the same for you and me!
No matter what we are afraid of, we can live fearlessly, in God’s perfect plan and stand secure and courageous in the promises of God.
We are His, and He’s got this.
Joy works part time for her husband and puts in as many hours writing as she can. She enjoys writing in the solitude of her office and in several coffee shops when life gets too quiet. You can connect with her on her website, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+ and Instagram.