October 19, 2004
Encouragement for Today
Author, Speaker for Proverbs 31 Ministries
"The Lord is my light and my salvation - whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life - of whom shall I be afraid?" (Psalm 27:1)
Isn't it funny how the personality traits that first attracted us to our husbands drive us crazy later? Take my husband Jim, for instance. He has always approached adventure with reckless abandon. The fact that he enjoyed rappelling down steep mountains Australian style (upside down) and making 230 foot bungee jumps sent shivers of excitement and intrigue through my entire body, making him the most irresistible man I had ever met. So I married him.
Thirteen years and two kids later, I was frying pork chops when Jim waltzed into the kitchen with that mischievous boy-have-I-got-an-idea-now look on his face. The wild zeal in his eyes told me I needed to brace myself for what was coming next.
"I want to fly airplanes," he grinned. I wanted to cover my ears and chant, "I'm not going to listen to you. I'm not going to listen to you." But instead, I decided to be mature about it.
"Have you lost your mind? Do you think I'm going to offer my blessing and seal my fate as a widow at the age of thirty-five? If you do this, I'm never speaking to you again!" (Stomp, stomp, stomp, slam).
Two days and many prayers later, I boldly proclaimed (with one hand on my pajamaed hip and the other waving my toothbrush in the air), "Okay, if you want to do this it's fine with me. But let's get one thing clear, buddy. Neither I nor any of your offspring will ever get in that airplane with you!"
Three months later, I was climbing into the back of the airplane. Jim kissed my cheek and promised, "You're gonna love it." My excessive fear of heights, however, was screaming otherwise. To make matters worse, Jim's flight instructor announced, "Jim, today we're going to work on your shaky landings."
I leaned forward and lightly tapped the instructor's shoulder. "Excuse me, what did you say? For a second there I thought you said we were going to work on Jim's shaky landings."
The instructor chuckled at my anxiety as Jim began speaking some sort of numeric jargon into the microphone. "Auburn traffic Skyhawk eight-niner-eight-four-seven departing runway three-six." But all I heard was, "Mayday! Mayday! Mayday! We're all going to die!"
With eyes tightly shut and sweat pouring from my otherwise calm demeanor, I decided the seat belt was not all it's cracked up to be. I assumed crash position. I braced myself by pressing my feet against the back of the front seats and my palms flat on the ceiling of the plane (for when we rolled, of course). I began confessing all of my sins as I begged for God's mercy. I felt the plane lift off the runway. Nothing happened. Ten minutes later, I forced open one eye to see if I had arrived at the pearly gates. Nope, it wasn't the pearly gates but it was something that took my breath away: a thrilling and fantastic view of God's creation.
Looking back, I realize that the way I protested going flying with Jim is the same way I often protest going somewhere God wants me to go. When God first called me to speak and write on a national level, I wanted to cover my ears and chant, "I'm not going to listen to you. I'm not going to listen to you." I questioned, "Do You think I'm going to make a big fool out of myself by speaking in front of thousands of people all over the country?"
Two years later, I was speaking all over the country and being interviewed on national television and radio. Was it against my will? At first, you bet it was. The fear and anxiety that plagued my heart every time I took the microphone threatened to choke out my obedience. Then one day, I opened one eye and looked around. I saw what God saw: the beauty of His handiwork through an obedient life.
Do I experience shaky landings? Yep. However, I have found that even in disastrous situations, God still fulfills His purpose when I surrender to His will.
We must not wrap ourselves in a cocoon of fear and anxiety over what might happen if we move out of our comfort zones. We must obey God's calling on our lives. We must step out in faith and allow Him to take the clumsy caterpillar and transform it into a beautiful butterfly. He has a perfect plan for our lives that can only be fulfilled if we are willing to shed our cocoons and fly with Him. In spite of the shaky landings, it's worth the ride.
My prayer for today:
Lord, I know you have called me to serve you. Help me to overcome the fears of this world and to cling tightly to you. I trust that you have a plan for my life. I know that if I trust you, follow you, and obey you, I can rest in the safety of your will. Thank you for being my strength when I am weak and my refuge when I am scared.
Consider a time when you were afraid to obey God, but you did it anyway. What were the results? How was your faith strengthened? If fear is holding you back in some way, seek God's help in overcoming that fear and trusting him. How can you act on overcoming fear in a certain situation?
What fears hold you back from fully obeying God?
How can fear keep you from richly experiencing God's hand in your life?
What steps are you taking to overcome your fears and trust God?
...but whoever listens to me will live in safety and be at ease, without fear of harm. Proverbs 1:33 (NIV)
Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe. Proverbs 29:25 (NIV)
There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.1 John 4:18 (NIV)
Becoming a Woman Who Listens to God by Sharon Jaynes
Radically Obedient, Radically Blessed by Lysa Terkeurst