Tag Archive | fear

If I am accepted by God, why can’t I accept myself?

Most of us have been involved in some sort of personality test. You know the type that asks “what are your strengths, what are your best attributes”? I venture to say most of us can list our weaknesses, brain and body defects quicker than we can list our strengths and best features. Personally, I struggle with this type of comparison issues. I don’t think I mean to make it a competition. Our culture is self-focused on who makes the most money, drives the most expensive cars, has the best fashion in their closet, is the fittest or has the best hair style. Our eyes see what appears perfect in the movies, on television, YouTube, and social media. What is not shown, is how long and what steps it took to present this illusion. I believe it is illusion. Anyone can put on a happy face for a few minutes and let the professional airbrush the photo. Let’s pull off the mask and see what’s underneath.

I’m going down deep to the root of myself. What is the source of my perfectionism? Is my insecurity based in fear? Fear of rejection? Fear of failure? Fear of success? Fear of hurt and pain? Fear of being vulnerable? Fear is not of God. I must rebuke fear and embrace grace!

2 Timothy 1:7 (TPT) For God will never give you a spirit of fear, but the Holy Spirit who gives you mighty power, love and self-control.

I long to be accepted, to belong to the group. The group can be at church, school, work, the gym, the neighborhood. Somehow I am always disappointed within a group. People will ALWAYS disappoint us. Humans are imperfect. Jesus will not disappoint. He is perfect love. We were created to crave a relationship with God, Abba.

2 Corinthians 5:21 (NASB) He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

Often, I feel inadequate for life! This fact may surprise some of you. Others will know it to be true because they feel the same way. In fact, I speculate more can relate to it than cannot relate.  I am my worst critic. Of everything! Jesus still loves and accepts me! Sometimes I need to ask myself, “what is the worst thing that could happen because I burned dinner or was late to an appointment?” 

Abba never meant for humans to live alone. We are to be community.  Safe. Supportive. So many times in life I have failed. I have eaten too many cookies, burned dinner, or opened my mouth when I should have kept it shut. Is there a voice in your head saying “me too!”? Isolation increases darkness. When I think no one else could possibly have ever felt this way, it is a lie.  Darkness cannot stand exposure. I am not alone.  YOU are not alone! WE are not alone!

Roman 8:1 (NASB) Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

Here’s the kicker: God accepts me (and you) and I (we) belong to His Kingdom. When I am rooted in Jesus, the others fall away. Jesus meets us where we are, without a mask. On earth, there is evil and will be until Jesus’ return. We are in between the first garden and the last garden.

The takeaway: JESUS is the firm foundation for life. The Bible is the manual. When we seek Him first, our hearts have communion with Him. I won’t be perfect this side of heaven and I don’t need to be perfect. God uses my imperfections for His glory.  On Christ the solid rock I stand all other ground is sinking sand.

1 Corinthians 15:58 (NIV) Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you.

lg

What's in your tank?

COVID-19 has impacted the world. No landscape is immune! What has your reaction been? Have you gone to a place of fear, paranoia, anxiety, panic, depression? If so and you have ventured to the grocery store and have seen the empty toilet paper aisle, you realize you are not alone!

What you do next is what matters the most! You see, we each have a choice. We can follow the fear, anxiety, and panic and fill our tank with the black hole of darkness. Or, we can turn our focus to God and fuel up with peace. Personally, I find it difficult not knowing the whole picture. My mind likes to complete the puzzle. However, God knows I am unable to process the entire situation. He reveals portions at a time. While I find it frustrating not to have all the answers, I realize God does this not because He doesn’t want me to know, but because He is Abba to me. In the same way I would protect my child, my Daddy is protecting me from being overwhelmed or discouraged.

For God will never give you the spirit of fear, but the Holy Spirit who gives you mighty power, love, and self-control. 2 Timothy 1:7 (TPT)

In any life, there will be times of uncertainty. Because this world is broken, people will have indiscretions, addictions, disease and illness. Corrie ten Boom was a courageous woman of faith in a horrible WWII concentration camp. As a survivor, she became a well-known author and speaker. In one of her books, she mentions how life is like a stitching project where God is weaving the beautiful embroidered scene, but while it is in process we only see the ugly threads on the backside. When I am in the midst of pain and heartache, I am unable to see the golden thread of good God is weaving into the tapestry that is my life. My tunnel vision sees only the knots of threads on the backside. Often, it is in hindsight I can view the overall picture of that season and see beauty from the ashes.

Our culture tends to complain just because something becomes inconvenient, not even close to life-threatening. Ponder this: if I change my attitude of fear to an attitude of thankfulness, will it spread to those close to me?

 I choose to be thankful my pantry is fairly well-stocked, my husband can work from home, and prayer warriors are stepping up and kneeling on behalf of the world. I still have moments of uncertainty, but God grants His peace and comfort. This situation is completely out of my control. Where do I turn?

I look up to the mountains and hills, longing for God’s help.
But then I realize that our true help and protection
come only from the Lord,
our Creator who made the heavens and the earth. Psalm 121:1-2 (TPT)

Abba, may we remember You hold us in Your arms of protection and grace! May our tunnel vision be a vision of Your love! May supernatural peace be contagious to those around us and spread faster than any virus, bacteria, or disease! Thank You for filling and refilling our tanks with Your peace, love, power and grace!

lg

Afraid of the Dark?

Most of us can relate to being afraid of the dark.  When I was young, I remember the comfort I felt when my parents turned on the night light.  In fact, for the better part of a year, I also insisted that they put a certain favorite record on their record player; I maintained that I could not go to sleep without that particular music.  I also remember labeling the side of my bed nearest the wall as “the devil’s side.”  I thought somehow the devil lived under the bed by the wall and would attack me if I got too close to the edge of the bed on that side.  Although my childish fears were unreasonable, given the fact that my parents assured me of their love and care for me, I still felt a distinct dread of dark places.  Somehow, children instinctively understand that evil lurks in darkness.

The good news is that God is NOT afraid of the dark!  He promised to deliver us from darkness — from sin, fear, torment, and blindness.  Isaiah explains God’s entrance into our dark world as follows:  “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death, upon them a light has shined.”  (Isaiah 9:6)  In verse 9 of that same chapter is the famous description of the promised Messiah, our deliverer:  “For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder, and His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”     John assures us that “God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all.” (I John 1:5b)  James also assures us that “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.”  (James 1:17)  God Himself IS the light that dispels all darkness.  John explains that Jesus is “the light of men.”  “And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it” [overcome it, understand it, or extinguish it].  (John 1:4b-5)

It is truly amazing that God, the Creator of the universe, sent a part of His very own Self to the earth in human form to be light to us and to deliver us forever from our sin and our fears.  Jesus said in John 8:12, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”   Just THINK about that:   Jesus gives us His Presence, which illuminates our hearts and minds and gives us light! Paul reminds us that Jesus “has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love.”  (Colossians 1:13)

I pray that God will help me understand the power of what He has done for me by sending Jesus to pay for my sin and bring light and life to me.  We still live in a world that seems riddled with darkness, and I often feel discouraged and overwhelmed.   However, I am trying to remember that the Light of the world literally dwells in me by His Spirit, and that the darkness has no long-term power over me.   I am asking God to help me refuse to focus on the apparent power of the dark places and to bask instead in His Presence, His light.   He has already delivered me, and He will continue to deliver me from the dark places of my circumstances, and even from the dark places in my own soul.   He truly IS light and life, for all eternity.   He is teaching me to sing in the darkness and not be afraid.   Ask Him this Christmas season to say to your heart once again, “Let there be light.”  (Genesis 1:3)  He is faithful.