Editor’s note: Who are we? Why are we here? What’s the purpose? What are we supposed to be doing? Those questions can haunt women and stall us from moving forward in joy and with passion using the gifts we have to affect the lives of others for the Kingdom of God. The following excerpt from Made for This, a fantastic new 40-day journey by Jennie Allen deals with waging war against the fears that hold us back. We’re made for this, but we do have to fight! Let’s go for it!
Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. — Hebrews 12:3
Once you know where you’re shrinking back, you can take the fight to the next level. You can fight on the front lines, shutting down the enemies of your heart and your dreams. The common enemies of fear, uncertainty, distraction, and insecurity must not be allowed to run free in your life. You can fight them.
I shrink back because I’m afraid. I am afraid of what I will lose. What if following God costs me the things I love most? What if He takes my spouse or child? What if I lose approval or comfort or success or control? What if I give my life, and He takes away the deepest desires of my heart?
I feel the fear when pulling the trigger on a dream that only someone stupid or possessed by God would dare to dream. I am terrified. This could fail. This may not even be from God. And I am going to do it anyway.
We have to deal with fear because it could possibly make us miss the best parts of life. We all face it, but we must kill fear like it is the Devil because it usually is. We do not belong to the one who shrinks back; we belong to the One who moved through His blood and sweat and despair and fear and reluctance in the garden of Gethsemane and said, “Not my will, but Yours be done. I belong to You, and I will live for You and die for You.” He walked headfirst into His death. So fight with me.
I shrink back because I’m unclear. Honestly, I have never known anything with 100 percent certainty. God’s will usually is revealed after something happens. Were we 100 percent sure we were supposed to adopt Cooper? No. We just had a burden we couldn’t shake, and at some point when that burden lines up with Scripture, you have to ask yourself, “Is this God?”
You won’t believe how much you actually do know. And we have a thick book from God about who He is and what He wants for us that we can absolutely trust. But honestly, there is a lot we know about ourselves. He likes His kids completely hanging on to Him for dear life more than He cares about the perfect plan being executed. He is after us, and uncertainty is usually what keeps us glued to His side.
He is in the trenches with us. In the fear. In the uncertainty. He is in the unknown — knowing and leading and working. What we don’t know yet is meant to lead us to dependence.
I shrink back because I’m distracted. I’ve already got too much to do right in front of me. We have to be the most distractible generation on earth. There is just so much out there fighting for our attention.
I have four kids, church, friends, and dry cleaning, and everybody around me seems to need to eat all the time. I have a pretty full-time job in ministry, and on and on like everyone else. But somehow I still manage to watch every season of my favorite shows, use Facebook to keep up with people I haven’t seen in fifteen years, and take a lot of baths and a few naps. And there is not necessarily anything wrong with any of it — the things I have to do, and the things I want to do, and the things I just need so my soul doesn’t shrivel up. But if I do all of it and never consider that there is a bigger reason I am here, I could be missing the point — missing the Only Thing for all the small things.
All things are permissible but not all things are beneficial (1 Corinthians 10:23). There is an art to living that is far above the base human instinct of survival.
I want to live beautifully. I want to live slowly and breathe in every moment.
Let’s make that kind of beautiful life. Without distraction, without wasting a minute.
I shrink back because I’m insecure. Every single time I stand up in front of ten people or ten thousand, I tremble. I shake. I have a very physical reminder of my insecurity. And I’ve learned to not wish it away. My insecurity makes me pray every time. When I get on my knees, God reminds me that this is about Him and not me. He reminds me that I have nothing to prove anymore.
Because of grace, we have nothing to prove. Our confidence is in the security and power God gives us, not in ourselves.
To know that we are absolutely treasured, unconditionally, changes us. We feel free and want to run with a God who would love like that. To know that we do not measure up and that we don’t have to because of Jesus, because of grace, means that life gets a whole lot more fun.
It is nearly impossible to do anything with our threads while we are looking side to side. Rather than listening to God alone, we look around and compare and allow our inadequacies to consume us. Then it’s over before it starts.
We want a revolution, but most of us wish someone else would start it. We’re embarrassingly cynical, and we shoot down leaders for sport, so no wonder we’re all afraid to lead! Let’s help one another fight our fears rather than taking one another down. We must focus on our races and cheer others toward theirs.
If we could cheer for one another instead of criticize, obey instead of compare, and fear God instead of men, we could watch God just flat show off in front of us.
We need one another, and we are killing one another. In Hebrews 12, the writer pleads with those who are shrinking back:
Since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses,
[We have each other.]
let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles.
[Because we are free.]
And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,
[We have a marked race — each of us. We can’t miss it for fear.]
fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before Him He endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God . . . so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. — Hebrews 12:1–3
We fall apart when we look at our fears and inadequacies and compare ourselves to every other runner. But fix your eyes on a God like Jesus, and you will not quit. You will not shrink back. Not from others, and not from yourself.
Risk something. Step out and fail. Be the fool. Build a life that needs our God.
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Excerpted with permission from Made for This by Jennie Allen, copyright Jennie Allen.
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You were made for this… but you’re gonna have to fight for it! I’ve never had anything worthy, anything worthwhile, anything really valuable just happen in my life. Have you? It takes risking, leaping, and fighting emotionally and spiritually to get there. Whatever God has set out for you to do… even if it makes you shake with fear, ask the Lord for help and go for it! Come share your thoughts with us on our blog. We want to hear from you! ~ Laurie McClure, Faith.Full