Originally published Tuesday, 17 January 2017.
TRUTH TO REMEMBER WHEN THE NEW YEAR BRINGS NEW FEAR
So how was it, friend? How’d your ringin’ it in go? Did the word “adieus” roll off your tongue and you never looked back? Welcomed the new year in like an old friend?
Or did you scrutinize the 365 days of last year and make a judgment call of sorts?
Part of you wanna strap on your pointed, pity-party hat and clink glasses of Welch’s Sparkling with your old friends, Fiasco and Flop?
Tempted to replay all the things that were hard and went wrong this past year…
things that could’ve been done and weren’t; words that should’ve popped out; words that should’ve stayed in…
those assorted offenses, hurts, and failures; the promotion that never came; your healing still hovering on the horizon; that prodigal child who continues to run away from The Father, despite your ceaseless praying…
the numbers that should’ve added up but didn’t; those who made promises and broke them, reminding you that they, too, have feet of clay…
all the phase-outs, the fallouts, the burnouts…?
Yeah, me too. (There; I said it!)
And since I’m being so nosey—
Are you worried about how this year will turn out?
something horrible will happen to a loved one; you’ll get a disease; say a bad word in church; your marriage will crumble…
the paycheck will shrink—or, worse, stop coming at all; you’ll be rejected, you’ll hurt someone; your goals won’t be met…
the back of your dress will get caught up in your underwear in public; something horrible will challenge you beyond what your heart can take; you’ll be forced to crawl out of your comfy-zone; that you’ll fail yet again…
your testimony will be trampled; you’ll scar your kid for life; your kid will scar you for life; you’ll be falsely accused; accidentally burn your own house down; that there’s a big, brown spider lurking under your seat as you read this…?
Yeah, me too! (I hate to admit that.)
FEAR THOU NOT; FOR I AM WITH THEE: BE NOT DISMAYED; FOR I AM THY GOD… ISAIAH 41:10
Some of my fears are just plain crazy. But some are downright real.
This year will be especially hard and uncertain for us here at the Hobbit House.
It’ll be a year of sacrifice and change. God is going to stretch us in many ways.
And though a part of me is actually excited to face the challenge with Him; see how He’ll show up and show off—how He’s going to, yet again, do the impossible—
I feel a bit terrified. (And, I really hate to admit that !)
I also feel embarrassed and maybe a bit hypocritical by telling you that I feel terrified. Oh, that four-letter word: feel. (For the way I feel has stopped me from doing what He’d have me to in life so many times and led me to do things I shouldn’t.)
So I hate to tell you that just when I thought I’d won the war on fear—blacked both of its ugly eyes, and kicked its fanny down the road—here fear comes again!
Fear. Yet another four-letter word. (And in the slim chance you somehow didn’t already know: most four-letter words can really get you into trouble, friend.) And a word (a feeling) the enemy definitely likes for me to focus on.
But, you see, yours truly here, has been asking God to help her be bolder for Him.
So at the risk of being labeled a hypocritical scaredy-cat, I’m going to be bold and fully transparent, confessing to you that this encourager of yours feels fear as I stick a toe in the choppy waters of 2017.
So if you’re like me and filled with trepidation, heading into what could likely be a challenging year, I want you to know that I understand.
Because sometimes we just need someone else to let us know that what we’re feeling is normal, human stuff. To encourage us. To let us know they ‘get it.’ That we’re in this together.
Here’s what I’m saying to you in these meager, rambling, and always-well-hyphenated words of mine: We’re fighting a battle, but we’re in this together. And He is with us.
A battle that rages and always has since receiving Christ as our Savior.
Christian life ain’t easy. Spend a fair amount of time in His Word and you’ll see nobody said it would be—
But it’s worth it!
And so we fight…
this battle between our flesh and spirit—the ongoing war within, between the old (wo)man and the new, between courageously and cowardly, between good and evil, between right and wrong, between light and dark…
As we move through this second week of the new year, I want us both to keep in mind that this is the same, age-old battle, simply repackaged as the fight between faith and fear.
NOW FAITH IS THE SUBSTANCE OF THINGS HOPED FOR, THE EVIDENCE OF THINGS NOT SEEN. HEBREWS 11:1
Will we choose to focus on fear? Will we choose to focus on faith?
Because with just about anything in life…
the one we focus on most appears largest.
The one that appears largest gets the most attention.
The one that gets the most attention—the one we hold hands with, indulge, and feed the most—becomes strongest.
And the one that becomes strongest will win the fight.
Let’s make an effort to starve fear this new year!
Click to download your FREE fear-fighting, faith-building printable Scriptures!
I’m not saying we should never look back, but when we do, it’s important to focus on the good stuff–the blessings. Because, if you’re like me, enough time has been spent perturbing about the past which can lead to fretting over the future.
Let’s encourage one another to spend this new year feeding our faith by focusing on the things that are good, reading His Word, and trusting in His sovereign plan. My goal is to stop feeling so much and start trusting much more. How ’bout you?
I’m reminding myself today that though the future looks scary, He’s with me.
And He is with you.
He’s already there.
And you and I are both more than conquerors. We just need to step out in faith as we trust Him to help us do the scary stuff. To be obedient. To please Him:
BUT WITHOUT FAITH IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO PLEASE HIM, FOR HE WHO COMES TO GOD MUST BELIEVE THAT HE IS, AND THAT HE IS A REWARDER OF THOSE WHO DILIGENTLY SEEK HIM. HEBREWS 11:6
So whaddya say, friend? Ready to suit up and fight the good fight? To focus on faith, not fear? To please God with our great faith? To trust Him to help us do the scary stuff this year?
What if what you and I are about to go through is what we’ve been waiting for?
What if it’s the answer to our prayers, just in disguise?
What if what God’s about to do, to reveal, to change, to take away, to make, to give is how we get long-awaited answers?
What if the trying and testing of our faith allows us to become more like Him?
What if our sacrifice gives way to a bountiful blessing?
What if what we’re headed into is actually our breakthrough, not our breakdown?
What if He’s actually preparing us to be amazed?
What if our faith grows so big that fear shrivels up and fades away once and for all?
Then, my friend…
I’ll finally be brave enough–
even to check for something big and brown lurking under my chair…
Be sure to grab your free printable PDF: 5 Faith-Filled Scriptures Your Heart Needs HERE.