I have to admit that I was born a scaredy-cat. Never been one to take risks-- a rule-follower to the core. As a child, I was afraid of the dark, of strangers in the house, and of vampires. As a teenager, I was afraid of rebellion and the consequences that might ensue if I went off the straight and narrow path (and then I got to college and that is another story!) As an adult, I still have fears. Not a big fan of rollercoasters, heights,bugs, or birds. I have no desire to sky dive or bungee jump. After having children, my fears became more related to their lives and the "what-if's" that go along with raising them in this crazy world we live in. The list could go on and on... we all have fears. The question is, do we let our fears rule our lives?
My answer would have been "yes" before I became a follower of Christ. I let certain fears dictate the decisions I made. I let my feelings (fear being one of them) control my life, instead of going to the Lord in prayer for guidance. However, this began to change for me after I married a man who has little fear of risk, and more importantly, I learned to let God be my guide instead of my "gut feeling". It is such a cliche we use--- follow your heart. Well, that unfortunately is not the best advice. Our hearts often lead us down the wrong path-- our emotions get the best of us. For example, a few years ago a friend asked my then six-year-old son to go to day camp with her sons. My first reaction was one of fear. In my head, I concocted all the most horrific, worst-case scenarios that could happen at camp. Then, after talking to Jason about it, decided to pray about it for awhile. I then got a sense of peace that it would be good for Alex, as long as we prepared him well for his experience at day camp. (and believe me, he was the most well-prepared daycamper there!) In that situation, I could have let my fears control this decision and ruin one of the most wonderful times my son had all summer. He still loves camp to this day. And I still have my fears. We all do. But they should not get in the way of living our lives for Christ.
One of the most meaningful things I have learned over the past few years is that being a Christian is not safe. It means taking certain risks. It means stepping out of my comfort zone. That is hard for me, being the "safe" person that I am. When I was offered the opportunity to co-direct Upward, my first reaction was one of fear-- "I can't do it, I don't know anything about running it, I am too busy." After praying about it, God clearly told me that of course I couldn't do it by myself, but through Him I could. His will would be done, and I needed to be obedient. A huge task, but turns out to be one of the best things we have done, Him leading the way, of course.
God is teaching me through life and ministries that I am safe in His arms. And it is okay to take a risk, and it is okay to fail. Failure is not the end. Sometimes it is the beginning of something else, something better. Don't let the fear of the "what-if's" control your life. Trust Jesus to lead the way.
"Light, space and zest-- that is God! So with Him on my side I am fearless, afraid of no one and nothing. (Psalm 27:1 The Message)
*This post was inspired by discussion regarding Max Lucado's book "Fearless".