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Posts Tagged ‘fear’

“Change is mandatory for extraordinary results.”

 

I noticed this quote on an electronic information board. That day the words cut like a knife, not just because the words were truth, but the changes I have been going through have been less than easy.

 

In fact, I would relate it to a wrestling match, except I was getting body slammed by my past which has influenced my present.

 

I was angry. Angry at people and yes, even God. I questioned why would He wait so long to have me deal with these things? Because it didn’t just affect how I see myself, but how I view God and the way He sees me.

 

This particular wrestling match lasted a month. Tears, fatigue, and anger were constant companions.  I felt black and blue, emotionally and mentally.

 

What I’m beginning to realize is that through the brawling, even when the fear is overwhelming, that’s where hope is.

 

In the messiness and wrestling, with each blow I’m breaking through the cement of my heart so that I’m able to receive and accept God’s love, and healing.

 

These struggles are not only the gateway to healing but also to sanctification which is a fancy word for the process of purifying, to make me holy, to make me clean.

 

I guess another way to look at it is restoring of a home.  An old house has to go through some tremendous breakage, sledge hammering, pulling up and tearing down in order for the new to be put up.

 

Wrestling things out can be part of that process in our lives. God is the master renovator and He will take His time to do things right. He will contract the work through His Spirit and even through other people, if He sees fit.

 

The change is mandatory in order for me to move forward.  It’s hard. Oh, my is it hard, and terrifying at times. However, the results He gives will be extraordinary and for my beautification. That is something I am anticipating with excitement.

 

Oh, and don’t think this is a one – time deal.  He is wrestling and renovating along with us until we are called home.

 

 “I am confident of this very thing, that he who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.”  Philippians 1:6  (NASB)

 

 

 

 

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One of my favorite musicals is the Phantom of the Opera. A man wears a mask because of his disfigured face, and falls in love with a young singer that he tutors. His thinking is that since he “gave her” the voice to sing, she would love him all the more. By the end of it you feel sorry for him. Here is a man who will never experience love because he tries to intimidate someone into loving him instead of being honest about who he really is.

It made me think about us as Christians. Many times we wear masks so others will not see the real us. We wear them to cover pain, insecurities and flaws. We fear that if others see who we really are we won’t be accepted.

God created us for a relationship with Himself. But He also knew we would need others. It bothers me when people say to me they don’t want to tell others of their prayer needs. They fear people will think of them as Christians without faith, or they don’t want to ask for help because it is a sign of weakness.

I have learned that is exactly what the body of Christ is for. Verses like, “Where two or more are gathered in my name, I am with them.” Or “Bear one another’s burdens” come to mind.

At one time my family was going through a dark time. My husband’s mother was dying and I became a temporary single mother of three children ages 9, 8, and 3. This was because he would leave the house at 6 in the morning for work and not get home until 10 at night from the hospital. I was so tired I couldn’t even work the microwave. One Sunday in our Sunday school I broke down crying and asked for prayer that God would give me strength to make it through the day. What I received was four days of dinners. Those dinners gave relief from the stress and renewed energy for the days ahead. I had to remove the mask of the “good Christian” who could handle anything, and show my true struggles, which in turn released the burden emotionally as well as physically.

The church was meant to come together not only to worship God, but also to help each other. Of course there was a risk of being vulnerable. There always is. However, if I wasn’t transparent two things would have happened. First, people would not know the real me and the ways they could intercede on my behalf. Secondly, not only would I have cheated myself out seeing God’s provision, I would have hindered others from receiving the blessing that comes from serving.

The Phantom in the musical chose to hide and to become feared instead of loved. But I wonder, if he had taken the risk of removing his mask and being vulnerable, people would perhaps have become more compassionate and loving. He may have even been freed from his prison of loneliness.

As Christians God asks us to remove the masks and live in the freedom of allowing other to see who we are and to risking the exposure of our flaws so that He may work in our lives through those around us.

Do you risk coming out from behind your masks and show others who you really are and the struggles you face? When fellowshipping with other believers, do they feel comfortable sharing themselves with you?

Who knows by taking that risk we may help others take their masks off also.

 

“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.”

Galatians 6:2 (NIV 1984)

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Fear be Gone

My stomach is turning like my dryer tumbles the clothes. “What if this publishing house accepts my manuscript? Then what? How am I going to do this? It means getting out of my comfort zone. It might mean Facebook which I’ve been fighting against or seeking well-known authors for endorsements, not to mention what affect this may have on my family.

My pastor has been teaching on Elijah’s life. This week’s sermon was about when he fled from Jezebel because she threatened his life. God had just given Elijah a victory at Mount Carmel over the prophets of Baal. He then killed all them. But when the queen threatened his life he fled in fear and fell into a depression. After finding a hiding place he told God he wanted to die.

The part that really struck me was what God said to Elijah. God asked, “What are you doing here?” My pastor pointed out “It’s like he had forgotten what had just occurred and all the other miracles God worked in and through him.”

I felt God was saying the same thing to me. “Christine what are you doing in this cave of “fear” and “what ifs”? Have you not seen what I just did, this past week?”

He is right of course. I went from sending a query letter to submitting a proposal. This could not have happened without God. So what makes me think He won’t help with all the other things if this manuscript is to be published?

The sad thing is that fear doesn’t occur in the area of writing. For me it comes when my husband doesn’t sleep solidly for weeks on end. It overwhelms me when I get the phone call “Your mole is abnormal” or when one of my daughters is not immediately visible when it is pick up time at the mall.

The what if game begins. Much like “The Hunger Game” story the arrows of “should haves”, the knives of “incompetence” and the spears of “I can’t do this” tear through my body and I am rendered useless. Then the Sponsor, my Heavenly Father says, “Christine what are you doing here? Of course you can’t do this; that’s what I’m here for.” So instead of sending me a ointment He comes and fights for me. He does the work.

My job is to turn my focus back to God, take my fears to Him, let go of them and leave them there by walking away from them. I know this is easier said then done. But that is trust, which allows Him to work. Then I can praise Him whatever the result and move forward.

What fears wreak havoc in your life? Have you been obedient to God and suddenly fear shows up and your doubting, frozen dead in your tracks?

Take it to God. Seek others out to pray with you and claim this promise with me:

“For I am the Lord, your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, do not fear; I will help you.”   Isaiah 41:13

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