Read His Words Before Ours!
There it is. My biggest weakness, dread, challenge, fear, fill-in-the-blank. I feel a bit nauseated to even type the words.
It’s funny. And by funny, I mean irritating. I have no problem or hesitation when leading countless others into times of worship – I actually look forward to and love it! Perform in plays or musicals? No problem. Sing for a panel of judges? I might feel a few butterflies, but nothing major. I’ll power through.
Stick me in front of five or more people and tell me to talk about something, however, even something I’m passionate about, and I begin to feel light-headed.
I fiddle with my shirt. Papers. Anything within reach. I twirl my hair. Begin to stammer. I repeat my words, knowing as I speak them that I sound foolish…but I can’t seem to stop myself. My neck flushes and I feel my cheeks burning. My palms grow clammy, my forehead begins to perspire and my heart threatens to gallop right up my throat and out of my mouth…soon to be followed by the contents of my stomach. I know full well that absolutely nothing is going to harm me, that my worth is not determined by how eloquent or smooth my speech may or may not be, and that people do this all the time. Some people actually enjoy it! I know all of this, yet I have experienced these feelings every single time I have ever faced this task.
Maybe you struggle with heights. Spiders. A room full of (albeit friendly) strangers. The prospect of a new relationship. Being alone. Darkness. The thought of losing someone close to you. Debilitating illness. The prospect of death.
Maybe it is something I haven’t mentioned.
It’s the thing that creeps into your subconscious when you least expect it. You’ll recognize it when your heartbeat accelerates and your breath becomes a little more shallow.
There it is. That’s the one.
We all face things that give us the opportunity to choose fear in this life. That’s a given.
But we do not have to be defined by our initial physical, mental and emotional responses in the face of those fears.
We know that God did not give us a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind. We can and should pray for help in facing fear, in dealing with our reactions and for boldness, but we (and I am absolutely talking to myself here) are not helpless. Just as soldiers train for battle, we are capable of practicing bravery by intentionally training ourselves to be godly.
So…what does that look like? How do we go about training ourselves to be godly?
We spend quality time with the One we most want to emulate.
Time in prayer, communicating with Him.
Time just listening for Him.
Time in worship.
We feed ourselves a steady diet of truth by spending time in His Word, daily.
We acknowledge and spend time with Holy Spirit, and practice our listening skills by exercising spiritual discernment in every area of our lives.
I will be the first to admit that I have never gone out of my way to accept a public speaking engagement…in fact, if there has been a way out (any way out), I have always taken it. Does that resonate with you?
Rather than cowering in the face of our fears, maybe it’s time you and I begin to practice bravery by training ourselves to be godly and putting our faith into practice.
Holy Spirit, give us the discernment we need to recognize the spirit of fear and the boldness we need to apply the Word to our reactions and actions in the heat of the moment. Help us train ourselves to be godly, and instill in us a desire to serve You through our thoughts, words and actions.
Give us the will to persevere when we are stretched.
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