For God didn’t give us a spirit of fear, but of power, love and self-control. 2 Timothy 1:7 WEB
As a mother of five kids, I have heard the phrase, "I'm afraid of____" numerous times. This phrase is not just limited to children. I would venture to say that even as adults, we have said or at least thought it from time to time. However, as adults, those fears have changed.
We are no longer afraid of the dark, bugs or the monster that is hiding underneath the bed; instead we are afraid of failure, what others might think or our lack of knowledge. Just like I want to calm the fears in my children, God longs to calm our fears. In fact, the phrase "fear not" is stated in the Bible 366 times, that is one for every day of the year and an extra one for those really tough days. God continually reminds us not to fear because we were not created to live in fear. We cannot let our fears control our lives and hold us back from our God-given purpose.
According to Romans 8:28 (NIV), “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” We are all called by God for a purpose. No matter what the purpose is, whether in our mind’s it is big or small, it is important to God. It is why we are each created with the gifts and talents that we have been given.
However, God did not create an army of robots. We have free will. Since we have free will, we have the decision to make as to whether we are going to step out and start doing what we have been called to do. Some of us, including myself, are paralyzed by fear.
We do not step out because we are afraid that we will be unable to do what God has called us to do. We are simply afraid to fail. This fear leads to us running from God and our purpose instead of running towards Him. Let me share with you a secret that I have discovered. God does not call the equipped. He equips the called. He is not going to have us do something that we are not capable of doing. God is right beside us every step of the way to lift us up even when we fall. However, we each have to be willing to take that first step.
Think of it this way, all of life is a giant puzzle and each one of us is a piece in that puzzle. Only God knows what the whole picture will look like when all the pieces are in place.
However, some of us make the choice to stay in the box. We are safe there. We do not have to worry about anything. People in the box begin to wonder why their lives are dull and empty. Fear was not part of God's design for His children. However, because of the choice of those to stay in the box -- out of fear -- they are not being used by God and others cannot fit into the puzzle right away. Yes, I will agree that making the choice to step "out of the box" is a risky one, but it also allows us to be used by God and see His rewards.
Like Peter, we have to rely on our faith and step out into a world of possibilities. We were created to live by faith and in God; we have the power of the Holy Spirit for a faith that is stronger than our fears. Find out what direction He wants you to go and then step out leaving the questions, doubts and fears behind and walk in the shelter of the One who called you.
I challenge each one of you to take some time with God this next week and determine what it is He is calling you to do, what your purpose in life is. Then, prayerfully step out and God will continue to lead and guide you towards the goal He created for you. Do not let fear hold you back.
Dear Heavenly Father, You know how easily fear can creep into my life and take hold. If left unchecked, it can be paralyzing. I pray that You will help me to remember that You have given me a spirit of power, love and self-control when the fears come into my life. Left me not hide in fear, but step out in faith knowing that You are beside me every step of the way. In Your Precious Son’s Name, Amen.