For a large part of my life this word was not in my dictionary. “Unstable.” “Unable.” “Unsure.” Now, these were the type of words – I knew.
I was “unstable” as I dealt with depression, a debilitating eating disorder and the deep knowledge I could never do enough or be enough to satiate the world’s unbelievable appetite – for perfect.
I was “unable.” Unable to fix a looming diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis. Unable to hold a job down. Unable to endure in friendships. Unable to believe in myself. I quit things before they started. I ended opportunity before it could hurt me. I unsubscribed from risk before it could eat me up, chew me up and spit me out like the failure I knew I was.
I was “unsure” God really was good. I knew him in my mind, but absent was his love from my heart. With this, I walked not in Christ’s identity, but with a disguised limp of insecurity. All I could see was how you were better than me and more likely to do great things. I was unsure why I was born. I was jealous, burdened.
These sticky labels seemed to attach to my heart with permanent glue: unstable. Unable. Unsure. They owned me. They declared my worth. They drove my being. The more I looked at my discouragement, the more I felt discouraged.
Have you been there? Do you know this place?
When we see all we – are not, we have a hard time focusing on all that – God is. This is what I’ve realized. You see, through the power of prayer and a heart-seizing of God’s Word, accompanied by the simple grace afforded by Christ on the cross, I am walking, more and more, out of a place of containment and into the refreshment of God.
It awaits us all. It calls out to us. It is ours to step into.
We grab first for God’s forgiveness; it welcomes us. We run into daddy’s arms; they wait wide-open for us. We feel the warm embrace; it cares for us. We talk to the one who created us; He affirms us. We renew our strength in him; he recommissions us.
And, by the very nature of God – and not by our own doing – we step out, little-step by little-step. Until, we get to the point where we glance back, to see how far we’ve come. And, what we see is – somewhere along the way, he brought us to the power-infused and potential-unveiling place of – unshaken.
It feels like a miracle and, now, we acknowledge – it actually is. We give thanks. We worship. And, we add the word – “unshaken” to our dictionary. We own it. We step into it. We go. Our heart is on fire.
What might small step might God be calling you to move into? How might your life look if you stripped of the mindset of fear to live free of people’s opinions? Undefined by problems? Liberated from the past?
I listened to the interview with the popular Christian writer, my mind reeling with questions. But the one that kept repeating itself over and over was, “How?”
This woman had a slew of kids running around, and she homeschooled all of them. Her writing was not shoddy. Each syllable sang with an effortless harmony as you read.
So how? How were there enough hours in the day? Did she have on a superwoman cape I couldn’t see as I listened to the podcast?
At the time I had two kids. Now I have three, the last one two months young. There are days I barely get the laundry done and the food made, much less worry about doing anything creative.
I see women on social media who, in all the bright lights and glow of the computer screen, are pursuing their goals and dreams. They are achieving milestones I dare to think about as I’m nursing my sweet babe at night.
Before daybreak, the fear takes over and says, “You’ll never get there.”
Comparison is such a lonely place to live.
When we compare, we fear never being like someone else when God simply wants us to be the person he created.
We live in a toxic state of thinking we have to achieve the next rung on our self-made ladder instead of embracing the season we’re in. But friends, we weren’t made to keep up with the Joneses or the Kardashians or anyone else.
We were made to live our own unique lives, each of us working together to create a beautiful God-story.
During the moments I’m tempted to exchange my story for someone else’s God is showing me a better way. Instead of spending my time in fear and comparison, I bring it to him.
I say, “God, today I only have a half hour to work on this project. I don’t know how it’s going to get done, but I trust you.”
And in ways only he can, he multiplies my efforts. He takes that little sliver of time and makes it enough.
One day it was raining non-stop and the fog on the mountain where we live was thick, reflecting my tired mental state. I was feeling discouraged, so I brought my concerns to God. I’ll be the first to admit, this isn’t always my first inclination.
I told him my concerns and worries, how I wanted to get back to assignments I knew he’d given me to complete, but I didn’t see how.
A few days later, an opportunity dropped in my lap. It wasn’t something I was pursuing or even knew was a possibility, but in that moment I knew God was answering me.
With this email from an editor that popped into my inbox, he said, “You don’t have to worry about what you’re going to do months from now or even next week. Just make the most of the time I’ve given you. Right here, today.”
And in doing so, I not only honor my family, but God. I can stop trying to keep up with the person next to me and focus on the task in front of me. One step at a time.
I felt like a huge load was lifted off my shoulders.
I know there will be days I’m tempted to look in the other lane. Chances are, you’ll be tempted too.
But can I tell you something? The ride is so much more enjoyable when, instead of seeing how far we have to go, we look at the view around us.
Instead of fearing we’ll never make it to the next destination, let’s look at how far we’ve come.
Abby McDonald is a writer who can’t contain the lavish love of a God who relentlessly pursues here, even during her darkest times. When she’s not chasing her two little boys around, she loves hiking, photography, and consuming copious amounts of coffee with friends.
I am delighted to welcome Asheritah Ciuciu! She is both a friend and a woman with an important story to tell. Be blessed by her words today!
I hugged the pillow and sank back in her couch, trying to look relaxed while hiding my bulge. This new friend I had made was friendly, welcoming, and open about her past struggles.
She was trusting me with a part of her past, and I felt honored and humbled.
She shared how God had set her free of her past hurts, and I felt a stirring in my heart. I wanted to return the token of friendship, to share with her a hidden part of my story too.
And so the words came out, awkward at first but tumbling faster and faster as I tried to make sense of what I was saying.
“I think I have a food addiction,” I said, sheepishly, twisting the decorative frays on the pillow between my fingers as I kept my gaze down. “I mean, I don’t know, I just find myself controlled by my desire for food instead of by the Holy Spirit.”
I chanced a glance up as I shared this discovery I had made about myself the week before.
And I held my breath.
The air felt tight in my lungs because we all fear rejection. Every one of us.
We long for friends who will know and love us as we really are. Not the instagrammed version of us. Not the 140-character witty us. Not the perfectly curated media stream of us.
No. Not that. We’ve had enough of that.
We yearn for someone to see us, every layer of us, and love us anyway. Cellulite and all. Love handles. Baby bellies. Thunder thighs.
Shame keeps us silent, convinced we’re the only ones who struggle. And our enemy continues to taunt us that “good Christian girls” don’t talk about these things. Blazes, they don’t even struggle with these kinds of things!
But in the midst of my own food addiction journey, here’s what I discovered: truth will set you free.
“You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:32
Telling the truth. Declaring truth. And embracing Truth Himself.
You see, we have a very real enemy, and he comes only to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10). Satan will use whatever tool he can to distract you from seeking satisfaction in God, and if money, sex, or power don’t hold any sway over you, then French fries or skinny chocolate lattes just might.
For me, it was just that. Food addiction just about did me in.
Almost… But for truth.
Back to the living room scene, there I was, holding my breath.
Her gaze filled with compassion as she nodded and said, “I know what you mean.”
“You do?” I asked, my eyebrows arching as I let out my pent-up breath. I sized up her tiny frame.
“Yeah,” she continued. “Even skinny girls struggle with food, you know. I’ve begun to realize just how much a bar of chocolate comforts me, and it’s scary.”
I shut my eyes and relished the feeling of coming home. Here, finally, was someone who knew my secret and did not condemn me. In fact, she put her arm around me and invited me to walk this path toward freedom together.
“I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father but by Me.” (John 14:6)
Jesus, Truth Himself, sets us free from our strongholds and welcomes us into the Father’s presence, where we find fullness of joy and life to the full.
And you want to know the most surprising part? If we let Him, God uses our stories of brokenness to heal others too. That’s a miracle in itself.
Though this journey has had its ups and downs, I’m so grateful He carried me through my doubts and insecurities to free me to tell my story. From food fixation to fullness in Jesus. From shame to shouting out His goodness. Because every day I receive emails from women saying, “I thought I was the only one who struggled with food fixation. But when you told your story, you were telling mine too. And now I’m asking God to give me victory just as He has you.”
I’m not that special, really. Just one woman who’s been set free calling out to others to join me in finding sweetness and satisfaction in Jesus. But we don’t have to go it alone, and there’s beauty in that.
Tell the truth, declare the truth, and embrace the Truth… and then prepare to receive the full life Jesus came to give you.
No more hiding. No more pretending. No more second-guessing.
Just beautiful, authentic, abundant, overflowing, satisfying life. Not always easy or trouble-free, but always filled with His presence and provision.
He’s done this in mine, and I know He’ll do it in yours, because God always keeps His promises. Always.
About the Book
If you’ve ever felt stuck in a seemingly endless cycle of overeating, yo-yo dieting, and obsessive thoughts about food, you know how hopeless this struggle can be. But the answer isn’t finding a new diet or a miracle pill. The answer is seeking satisfaction in the right place.
Asheritah Ciuciu is a popular blogger, speaker, and author. She grew up in Romania as a missionary kid and studied English and Women’s Ministry in college. Her passion is leading women deeper with Jesus through daily devotions and spiritual disciplines, both in her local church and around the world through digital discipleship at www.onethingalone.com. Asheritah is married to Flaviu, her childhood sweetheart, and together they raise their spunky children in northeast Ohio.
Get all the Purposeful Faith blog posts by email –click here.
I am delighted to welcome Jessica Van Roekel as a guest blogger today. Jessica is faithful, diligent and obedient. I am proud to feature her words.
I’m good at bravado, but not so much at living brave. I know how to stand tall and smile with the best of them, but inside I’m cowering, hiding tears, insecure, wondering if I belong or even if I’m wanted.
I know verses. I know that if I’m full of God then there’s no room for anything else. I know that my song is God’s song. I know that he is my refuge, my shield, and my fortress. I know he holds me close and sings songs over me. I know he calls me chosen, beloved, secure, approved, and beautiful. I know all these things and I was so mad at myself for the disconnect between my head and my heart.
So there I sat—alone, with no one beside me—listening to the melody, learning my part or trying—all the while fighting back tears. It was absolutely ridiculous and I was furious with myself. And to be totally honest, furious with God. Why would he compel me to audition for this musical and then humiliate me in this way? It didn’t make any sense.
Have you felt this way? Has God ever shown you a truth and set you free from your bondage and then in an instant you were in bondage again or so it seemed? Have you ever felt you utterly failed God and yourself?
May I offer you and I this encouragement: God is not disappointed with you or me. God is not going to send us into a situation and then leave us to work it out in our own strength. He will provide us with opportunities to exercise our faith in the work he’s doing in our lives. And just like with regular exercise, we will stumble until we figure out the rhythm or the sequence, but if we keep practicing we get better, we grow stronger, we become more fluid, and it becomes second nature because we’ve trusted him and let him work through us.
Freedom from fear of man came for me through one definitive moment a few years ago, and since that moment God has been showing me how to live free. It hasn’t been easy, but it has been worthwhile. My perspective has shifted from being afraid of people to being settled in God’s thoughts towards me.
You know, I wanted to run from that audition room and never, ever look back. In fact, I walked out of rehearsal that night determined to quit and planned on letting the director know my decision the next morning.
I didn’t though. I leaned into the pain because I’ve learned that sometimes healing comes through the pain, not by avoiding the pain. So I took my younger self by the hand and let her feel the pain. I let her remember and shed her tears, and then I walked her through forgiveness. Was it easy? Uh, absolutely not. Is it over? No, but the cleaning out of the wound has happened, the salve of God’s truth has been applied, and the wound is tender, but it’s healing.
Sometimes we have to experience the hard so that God’s word becomes alive, and once the revelation of his truth, his freedom, and his healing has been revealed, it’s not ever to be taken away by someone’s words, approval, disapproval, memories, or event.
Becoming fear fighters happens when we’re transformed from the inside out and it requires us to keep taking steps towards faith and bravery, clinging to truth and always, always trusting God’s heart for us.
Jessica Van Roekel is a woman on the journey to wholeness through brokenness. She believes that through Christ our personal histories don’t have to define our present or determine our future. Her greatest desire is to see people live this ‘God-life’ with all the power and grace that God provides. Jessica lives in a rural community with her husband and four children. She leads worship on Sundays, but seeks to be a worshiper every day. You can connect with her at www.welcomegrace.com and on Facebook: www.facebook.com/yourJessicaVanRoekel
Get all the Purposeful Faith blog posts by email –click here.
Staring out the backseat window, my daughter noticed a van in the next lane. I wondered why she cared about which cars shared the road with us. Questioning her further, I learned my 8-year-old daughter was afraid of dark vans.
When I was her age, I had the same irrational fear.
For me, it started with a Crime Stoppers commercial. I accidentally saw a piece on the news one night, about a store robbery and a couple of men pulling away in a big, black van. I couldn’t forget it. It changed my life, but not in any good ways.
Fear consumed my thoughts and ruined activities I previously enjoyed.
When a black van drove down our quiet, country road, I imagined a man would jump out and stuff me into the back. Or take my Mom away. Some days, it kept me from playing outside. I thought about it often, always measuring how far I was getting from my parents.
They tried coaching me through this fear and praying with me, after noticing changes in my behavior. But mostly, I didn’t speak my fears aloud. I kept them on the inside. Maybe this was the reason the enemy had a hold on me through fears, at such a young age.
When my fear of dark vans went away, other fears arrived, one after another.
The temptation to ponder my worries, cares, and fears rather than give them to the Lord has always been a great struggle for me.
1 Peter 5:7 (AKJV) says, “Casting all your care on Him, for He cares for you.” I would cast my cares on the Lord, but then reel them back in, holding them tightly in my own hands.
I don’t know about you, but I want to be a believer in Jesus Christ, who can say with certainty, “I trust God for everything.” I’d rather not own this struggle with fears. But trust is an action verb, and sometimes, I do not trust.
Sometimes I hold my most precious possessions back from God, as if I have any control over them.
I’m still learning to trust the Lord completely, with my life’s most important pieces (or people).
Speaking of what’s most important in our lives, what are your greatest fears? Your answer will show you what you fail to entrust to the Lord.
Through seasons of life, our fears may shift. When I had babies of my own, and when they were no longer “safe” and warm inside me, my fears not only shifted. They metastasized. Maybe you can relate?
One of the greatest lessons I’ve been learning is the same truth I repeat to my own children night after night—
God is good, and we can trust Him.
We live in a scary world, and we hear of scary things happening to people around us all the time. In this world, where bad news abounds, we must battle for trust in God over fear.
“Do you fear God—living life in awe, in anticipation, and in adventure? Not fearing Him in a way where you get all shaky and nervous and defensive, but in a way where God moves into position number one. In a way where He gets to stand above everything else you fear.”
When we give in to fear, it’s a lot like putting our faith in something other than God. Instead, may we trust in the all-powerful, cares-for-us, praise-worthy God Almighty.
When I am afraid,
I put my trust in You.
whose word I praise—
in God I trust
and am not afraid.
What can mere mortals do to me?
Psalm 56:3-4, NIV
Angela Parlin is a wife and mom to 3 rowdy boys and 1 sweet girl. In addition to spending time with friends and family, she loves to read and write, spend days at the beach, watch romantic comedies, and organize closets. But most of all, she loves Jesus and writes to call attention to the beauty of life in Christ, even when that life collaborates with chaos. Join her at www.angelaparlin.com, So Much Beauty In All This Chaos.
I walked in the door, dropped my bag and called upstairs to my husband, “Want to take a walk?”
Shockingly, he did. He wanted to enjoy the spontaneous burst of warm weather that was gracing our air. We put on our shoes and headed out. I had no idea I was about to be graced with his wisdom too.
We headed down a forest laden trail. It was beautiful.
“Kelly, I wonder what is up there, beyond that bend?”
I already knew, I’d walked the trail time and time again.
He went on, “I think God says, we don’t have to know what is beyond our bends. We don’t have to see what is up ahead. We just have to walk with him in the moment, knowing he is up there already. He is already where we are headed. And, that’s all we need to know. We are free to enjoy the purple flowers, the flying birds and the moving clouds. We can simply trust he has what we are walking into.”
I knew I married this guy for a reason.
I nodded my head in agreement. “Yep,” I said, ” because if we are so caught up with what we can’t see, we’ll miss what we can. Plus, once we get to that bend, we will want to know, yet again, what is beyond the next one. It’s a losing battle.”
Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. Heb. 11:1
The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you… (Deut. 31:8)
“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” (Mt. 6:34)
Often, I am so caught up in what’s coming, I miss the table of beauty God has laid in front of me today. I don’t partake in what is good. I fear what is bad. I adjust my shirt just right so my stomach bulges don’t stand out too much. I grip onto tight schedules so I have a handy excuse for social situations I am terrified of. I cling on to my kids hand with a death grip, hoping the doesn’t stray to far away from mom if I let go. I rush through breakfast and traffic lights and pajamas trying to my couch and TV.
But, my husband reminds me – I don’t have to hold on to what is up ahead – or fear it – for God is already there. It’s like he rushed ahead and set the table in advance, so when I arrive, the goodness awaits. Sure, sometimes it might look like the table is empty or it’s not as I thought, but as I am present with him, in the moment, he always surfaces some sort of surprise party. His spiritual blessings all jump out at me and I leap for joy. I realize, “Wow God, what I really wanted is right here.”
And, friend, what you want is right before you. For what is before you, in this moment, is your God. He is with you and will not let you go. Keep walking with him, no matter how good, how bad or how ugly your trail looks. For, you never know, when you might stumble you upon your – surprise party!
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Is. 41:10
It was a Friday morning and I was busily preparing for a surprise weekend getaway I had planned for my husband David, when my cell phone rang. It was hubby. I thought he was calling to tell me about his doctor’s appointment but instead in a bewildered voice he rambled off words that at first seemed nonsensical.
“I just got a call from Mr T. and… Cliff died this morning. Massive heart attack.“
I repeated the sentence several times in my head as if to process the bizarre message, I’m sure I didn’t hear correctly.
You see it couldn’t be true because Cliff, the dear friend and golfing buddy David spoke of was a larger-than-life kind of guy. He wouldn’t just die like that.
But it was true. In the time it takes for a heart to beat, his heart stopped. Forever.
His sudden death made me come face to face with a chilling truth.
I’ve been afraid to die.
It’s not that I don’t know where I’m going.
I believe with all my heart when I’m done with this earth I’ll see Jesus face to face and live for all eternity with Him.
When friends proudly proclaim, “I’m not afraid of dying” I want so badly to give a, “Yeah, yeah me too!” (High five, fist bump and all that.)
But I don’t. I’m silent.
I hate this fear, it feels so… faithless.
Digging deep, at first I thought it was the process that scares me. I’ve watched my mother and father pass and a few friends. Death ain’t pretty.
However when I honestly brought my contradiction of thought and faith to God, He gently brought to mind something from my past. Something I hadn’t thought of in a long time.
From as early as I can remember, probably about three years of age, my mom would tuck me into bed, turn out the lights and recite this brief prayer.
Before I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord for my soul to keep. If I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord for my soul to take.
And she wondered why I couldn’t go to sleep…!
I had all but forgotten this nightmarish rhyme. Though I have no doubt my Episcopalian mother was well-intentioned, I can say with reasonable accuracy, no three-year old understands the meaning of such words. To my little-girl ears they sounded mystical, scary.
I became frightened of this spooky God my mother prayed to Who might choose to take me in the night—stealing me away from my family, my home, my dolls. This life.
Of course I never wanted to shut my eyes. But what was worse, when I kept them open the Jesus-cross that hung by my beside stared at me in the dark with an eerie purple incandescence glow.
This is not at all the God I worship today. The God I know and worship doesn’t desire to scare little children, or anyone for that matter. He’s a gentle Father who promises hope (Jeremiah 29:11) and works all things together for our good (Romans 8:28-29).
However our past often paves the pathways in our future.
Sometimes with bold confidence. But many times with trepidation.
As it’s been in my case.
Has something from your past locked you into a feeling of apprehension, foreboding, phobias or panic?
Don’t allow any fear to steal your freedom. Ask God to unlock the past for you, releasing understanding—clarity.
Now that I can see my past world juxtaposed with my present I believe with God’s help and the power of the Holy Spirit I can dismantle the fears that threaten to unravel me and move forward to living this life as God meant—with abandon…and fist bumps.
You can too.
“I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold to it. But on thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:13-14
***Get a kick-start on a fearless life with Kelly’s book,Fear Fighting.***
Looking forward, pressing on, and seeking God in every bump and twist in the road.
Christy is a wife, mother, mother-in-law (soon to be grandmother), mentor, and speaker. Her passion is to encourage women to move forward, and press on while seeking God’s presence in every bump and circumstance they encounter.
Christy is also a girly girl at heart who chases tennis balls for recreation and at the end of the day does her best thinking in the tub.
Oh, I’ve made some mistakes. Some big ones. I am not proud of them either. At risk of you hating me, and of pigeonholing myself into the corner of worst-Christian-ever, I am going to share 12 things I wish I would have never done.
If Jesus tells us to confess our sins to one another, I guess, you can call this an uber-confession.
Now, as a disclaimer to the disclaimer I wrote above, I fully know, some things may make you feel uncomfortable, but what I hope is, by sharing, admitting and bringing to light my worst, we are all inspired to fully move into God’s best. There is power in acknowledgment, in stepping out in complete transparency, with the purpose of leaving behind what God never called us to carry ahead.
So without further ado…
15 things I wish I never did as a Christian:
Critiqued the Pastor’s Sermon: He’s boring, self-indulgent, missing the point, too knowledge focused, too story-focused, too animated, not animated enough or missing the point.
Decided myself more holy than others. At times, I’ve worn a church-going halo, while internally criticizing the gal who hasn’t said hello to church in weeks.
Believed I need to be less Jesus-y. Thinking, if I shine too bright, people’s eyes may bug out in fright. If I show my strong love for Jesus, they may run away thinking I am a bible bumpin’ freek-a-zoid.
Kept up with the Jesus Joneses’ on Social Media. If my image isn’t pretty enough, calligraphy’ed enough or bright enough, I figured God’s Word wouldn’t be appealing enough to the masses.
Made an exasperated sigh at mention of, yet-again, another sermon on tithing, its merits and why I’m completely, entirely, and utterly missing out – and impacting the church in a horrible way – if I don’t drop my wallet in the basket.
Figured humility was about: 1.) Never accepting compliments 2.) Believing you couldn’t really do things 3.) Acting like you hated yourself.
Received grace only after acting godly enough and/or hard enough to receive it. Usually allowing myself 3 days to writhe in anxiety and worry before letting in what Christ already accomplished. Keeping company with shame.
Decided that girl is not a Christian because she didn’t say hi to me, lied to me or brushed by me – 3 too many times.
Believed to “deny myself” and to “live for Christ” meant I skip past who God made me to be, to jump ahead to who – you, or others – desire me to be. I forgot my God-given voice.
Made snap-decisions on the motives and heartbeat of non-believers without wanting – to know them, their problems or their setbacks in life.
Forgot the poor. Walked right past them.
Lived a life in pursuit of getting my latte, my life in order or my late self to my next place.
Missed the opportunity to wear glasses of love.
Placed my sin on a scale. Gleefully, watching the lead load of other’s sin crash low – while seeing the feather-light weight of mine – fly high. Who made me judge?
Found myself worried about, focused on and tightly gripping many things, instead of falling in love with the One and Only thing (the King) that matters – God.
This list is a petri-dish of ugly. My go-to instinct is ugly. My new identity in Christ – is beautiful.
What is your ugly? What judgment lurks behind the doors of your mind? What Christian shame has crept up on you like a night crawler ready to attack?
It is not too much for God. It is not too great for his healing hand. It is not going to disqualify you from heaven, I assure you.
“Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me.” (Ps. 51:10)
Prayer: Dear God, I am far from the image of glowing Christian. I am far from kind, some days. I do things, in my head, that would embarrass me greatly if they came out of my mouth. Sometimes, I feel ashamed of that. I ask you to teach me your ways. I ask you to lead me in your grace. I ask you to forgive me for the ways, I’ve hurt you and others intentionally or unintentionally. Will you restore my heart in peace and trust? Will you help me know that what I’ve done no longer stands against me? You stand for me. You stand with me. You mark me forgiven. In the name of Jesus, I pray, Amen.
I didn’t know her well, although I suspected she was a kindred spirit. We shared similar titles of: worship leader, songwriter, adoptive mama, and blogger. Yet mostly, we shared the byline, “Daughter of the King.”
We broke soul bread over tea, smoothies and scones. Preferring heart talk to small talk, we dug in. Nuggets of gold emerged as we shared stories of God’s faithfulness at the table. Right there in Panera, we had church as we testified to the goodness of our Father and uplifted each other with words of hope.
She shared about victory. I shared about grace. And we learned from each other’s hangups and breakthroughs.
I thought I had her pegged, until she shared how she feared being seen. Even though her ministry and creativity were public, she preferred to hide and blend in.
I, on the other hand, confessed my fear of being invisible. Being overlooked, forgotten, or ordinary are what I run from. I usually want to stand out, to speak up, and be seen.
It sounds bad, I know, but this is a place for authenticity, right? And my hunch is I’m not alone. And neither is my friend.
Some of us fear being visible. Others of us fear being hidden. And sometimes we fear both.
If I blend in, will I become invisible?
If I stand out, will I be embarrassed?
I fear both invisibility and embarrassment.
Concealed and Exposed
It’s vulnerable to feel exposed—to be paraded in front of others and scrutinized for how we look, act, and what we say. We wonder if we have spinach between our teeth (or chocolate cookies stuck to our molars) as we offer the message that’s been entrusted to us. Will they laugh at us? Will they listen? Will the insecurities show through our coordinating ensemble?
You don’t have to rely on the fleeting acceptance of man. God’s acceptance is rock-solid. #fearfightingbook
It’s lonely to feel concealed—to be masked from view and not really feel known or understood. We wonder if who we are is enough and fear what might happen if we are called upon to share. Will they laugh at us? Will they listen? Will the pounding heart and wobbly knees show through our security blanket?
Are we the women people fight to have by their side? Or are we busy trying to run and hide? #fearfightingbook
Fear could have kept my friend and I from meeting that evening, but we pushed past it, and we both left richer.
She didn’t hide, and through her brave words, I began to see more clearly. I didn’t conceal that which embarrassed me, and with courage, I did not edit my imperfections.
Two fear fighting women met for bread and drink and Hope showed up.
Jesus’ body was broken and His blood was spilled on our behalf. He showed up and we are never the same.
We are not alone. We can overcome that which threatens to conceal and expose us, because Jesus has already overcome! He uncovered our sin and provided a way for it to be removed.
Jesus exposed His great love for us by dying for our sins. He has given us everything we need to be victorious. His Holy Spirit is the greatest fear fighting tool, and we carry it within us.
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Katie M. Reid is a writer and speaker who encourages others to find grace in the unraveling of life. She also inspires women to embrace their identity in Christ and live out their God-given purpose. Katie delights in her hubby, five children, and their life in ministry. Cut-to-the-chase conversation over hot or iced tea is one of her favorite things.
1. Why did you decide to tackle the subject of fear for your book?
Frankly, I got sick and tired of living more fearful than faithful. It takes work. Hard work. It takes a whole lot of jealousy, comparing, striving, and procrastinating – to cover the deep fear I’m the bad apple in God’s bunch. And, it takes a whole lot of protecting, worrying, and controlling – to keep my mind thinking I am safe and sound.
I didn’t embrace the state of peace, but instead, a state of constant panic.
Under the cover of my smile, I couldn’t figure out why, either:
I’d done Christmas x 20. I’d gone to church and memorized John 3:16 and Phil. 4:6-7. I was up on Christianese terminolgy – and good theology. I was in a church community group. I was repenting and trying not to sin.
So, why did I feel like a holy roller at church, yet wholly loser at home? Why did I fear my house was about to explode and, my kids, upon arrival of dinner, would have ketchup rocket-launchers exploding on just-cleaned windows? Why could I see my heart being thrust into cardiac arrest if people didn’t abide by my commands? Why did I envision ailments, Google them and figure I’d die before even being able to Facebook the world?
If God is as powerful as he says he is; I needed a rescue – in a big way. They say don’t put God to the test, but I guess I did. I wanted to see if he loved me. I found out he did. That’s what saved me. And that’s the hope I offer to readers in Fear-Fighting.
2. What is something that you are afraid of? How has God helped you face that particular fear?
Ordinarily, I’d be desperately afraid you’d:
1. Hate this post.
2. Judge me for writing it.
3. Think I was a bad writer, mother, woman or child of God.
I’d imagine you silently writing my name down on a list that you carry around in your head – the one that you reserve for the people who are extraordinarily stupid or exceedingly faithless. I’d fear you, then I’d steer clear of you.
Truth is, you may continually judge me, but God doesn’t operate that way. You may hate me, but I have discovered that I am loved by God. You may disagree with me, but there is no changing the promises of God. I’ve learned to fight fear by wielding truth.
Head over to katiemreid.com for the rest of this interview and to add your post of encouragement to the #RaRaLinkup. (Starting at 6 AM ET)