“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” —Nelson Mandela
Moving to a new place has always been hard for me and all the possibilities of what could go wrong fill my mind. First day of school, new work place, new church it’s never been easy. For some people it is a breeze in the park while for others like me its nerve wracking. At the beginning of the year, I was blessed with an opportunity to travel for school. As exciting as that sounds, this was miles away from my family, friends and everything I had known all my life. A part of me was excited for the adventure in the new chapter while another part screamed out in fear. Blocking everything out, I decided to feed the excitement and see what this chapter had to offer.
Deep within me was a knot of fear that I tried to pretend didn’t exist and without realizing it what I failed to deal with started to grow and take root. Whenever fear comes along, it brings its friends anxiety, unbelief, worry and so many other negative emotions. Anxiety and worry came knocking and wouldn’t leave and I was constantly gripped with fear for no real reason. My faith took a downhill plunge and I was consumed with these negative emotions.
Coming out of that pit was not easy and it took me a while to actually realize I needed to talk and pray about it with someone. I talked with a friend who stood with me and told me to read Psalm 56:3-4 ‘When I am afraid, I will trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can mortal man do to me.’ During that season, I was trusting in myself and what I thought I could do and it was all in vain. The fear I had ignored and hoped would disappear needed to be dealt with and not buried. A deliberate effort was made to deal with the root and cut it out.
Fear is a human emotion just like anger, joy, excitement etc and it is wise to know what the bible says about the different emotions in relation with our walk with God. I had to constantly remind myself of the love God has for me and grow my faith. I spent time in prayer and worship and my faith grew, it is important to note that it is not always easy and straightforward and everyone’s journey is different. Having healthy support systems is key and communicating with them about the issues helped me a lot. The word of God is full of His promises and it’s wise to cling to His word and eat of its fruit.
We have heard the words,“there is a time for everything and a season for every activity under heaven.” These words of wisdom borrowed from the Bible have profound meaning to them. Theresa Lewis penned these wise words,“Every new season of your life will be an opportunity for you to learn and grow. Don’t celebrate the good without celebrating the bad because they both work together to prepare you for the next season of your life.”
Looking back at my life, I have come to the realization that each season we go through in life is very important even the seemingly bad and unplanned for situations all teach us a number of things. Not long ago, I went through a bout of sickness and it was hard to understand everything that was going on with the constant visits to the doctor, the healing process, work and family but looking back now, its but a wonder that I was actually even able to go through that season of my life. I was encouraged by God for I knew it was temporary and would change because no condition is permanent however long it may take.
During that season of sickness, I needed to trust that God would take me through and I picked quite a number of lessons along the way. And just like the seasons of weather, we can relate with them in our daily lives. One moment your life may be sunny and happy just like summer, don’t get complacent but choose to be fruitful and look to the Source. Other times your life may be cold and dreary like the winter and you may feel lost. Don’t sit and question but look at the lessons within that season and receive the leading and hope of the Lord.
As a child we usually had this blind obedience and obeyed even if it didn’t make sense but as we grew up we started reasoning everything out and then chose whether to obey or not. How sad!! Obedience is dutifully complying with the set instructions and this goes hand in hand with Trust, for when we choose to trust we MUST obey what has been passed across to us. Where one operates in the absence of the other there is the presence of deceit and fear. You can’t obey and fail to trust and you can’t trust and fail to obey.
It is hard most times to put aside your set notions of what you believe and what you know to be right and choose to trust and obey what is before you. The bible tells me in Jeremiah 17:7-8, “But blessed is the man who TRUSTS in the Lord, whose confidence is in Him, he will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.” Oh what a promise. This means that we have to lay aside our beliefs and our set systems of doing particular things and choose to believe and follow what the word of God is saying.
It is not easy because for many of us, its not in our default settings but remember the benefits are worth it so as hard as the pill is to swallow, I encourage you to take that pill and learn to walk in the fullness of His word. Sometimes the road ahead seems so bleak and you can barely see where you are going, you have tried one thing after the other but they all seem to be taking you no where and you just feel like giving up. I encourage you to trust, obey and activate your faith in God and He will surely see you till the end of that road. When you feel boxed in from all sides the only way you have left is to go up.
Many times we wish we had done life differently be it the way we handled a particular situation or how we answered back at someone when we didn’t actually mean it. We are usually taken up and find ourselves acting in a certain way or saying words that we don’t mean and when its all said and done we sink into the pit of regret.
A classic example is the story of one of Jesus’ disciples Peter on the night of Christ’s betrayal. Right after the Passover meal, Peter tells Jesus that he would lay down his life for his Lord. Jesus responds by telling him that on that very night Peter would deny Him three times. Later that night, out of fear of losing his own life, Peter denied ever knowing Jesus. After Peter’s denial of Christ,“he went outside and wept bitterly.” Luke 22:62. He regretted saying the words that he said though the good thing is that Peter did not dwell in this regret but allowed to be restored and grew in his faith to become one of the founding fathers of the early church.
While Peter must have lived with much shame and regret over his public denial of Christ, his deepened understanding of the Person and work of Christ helped him greatly in overcoming his feelings of failure. He dwelt in the forgiveness by the grace of God and moved past his personal regret to feed Jesus’ sheep.
The bible teaches us that, when we confess our sins and have faith in Christ’s sacrifice and resurrection, we become children of God. We are cleansed from all our unrighteousness and we therefore have to accept the forgiveness of the Lord and move on. Though we regret our past mistakes, it shouldn’t be our focus, our focus should be on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith. Shame and regret are part of what is behind us and we must learn to forget.
As long as we live, we will have setbacks and missed opportunities and we are bound to make many mistakes along the way. We should choose to be optimistic in every situation instead of pessimistic otherwise there will be no shortage of reasons for u to regret. Isaiah 43:18-19 says, “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing!…… Just remember it is not fair to judge your past self based on the hindsight that you now have.
I grew up a very frightened child, scared of literally everything from darkness to shadows. The fear would paralyze me and I would not be able to think or move at best I would manage to scream endlessly until an adult would ‘save’ me. As I grew up the fear changed form and I realized I was now scared of large groups of people and couldn’t manage to say anything amidst them. My mouth would shut and I would be dumbfounded, this made me lose confidence and self esteem in myself.
In the book of Judges 6, when the angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon and told him to go out and save the Israelites from their very oppressive enemies the Midianites, Gideon doubted and wondered why the Lord would pick him since he was from the weakest clan in Israel and he was the youngest in his family. Gideon had very little confidence in himself and he didn’t just stop there but kept asking the Lord to show him signs that it was actually the Lord speaking. Long story short, Gideon obeyed and went ahead and defeated the Midianites, not with his own strength and wisdom but with the guidance and strength from the Lord.
Courage is the ability to do something that frightens one. Gideon did have courage despite his fear because he decided to go ahead and save Israel from the Midianites who were very oppressive. In Myles Munroe’s book, Understanding Your Potential he says,”Fear is necessary for courage to exist. Courage can only be manifested in the presence of fear. So we should use fear to exercise our courage.”
This story encourages me to display something I didn’t know I had. There is strength in each one of us and we just have to heed to God’s call and be strong and courageous. “Don’t be afraid to try because no one can climb beyond the limitations he has placed on himself. Success is never final – failure is never fatal. It is courage that counts – courage and the willingness to move on.”
Doing dishes can be a daunting task and most times it gets you overwhelmed but in some strange way, I enjoy this task. It calms my mind and helps me reflect on Jesus who washes my sins away and makes me clean. I strive to keep washing the dishes because I desire to see all of them clean and sparkly. That is exactly what Jesus is willing to do for us, if only we would let Him.
The other side to washing dishes is that as we wash we have to be careful not to keep dropping bits and pieces of food in the sink otherwise the drain eventually clogs up and the water can’t flow freely and the sink starts to fill up. Sometimes the clogging isn’t minor because of a few pieces of food but it can be major and the drain is clogged up majorly due to failure to attend to the bits and pieces of food that we allow down the drain. In life there are things that steal our potential and clog our drains. Sin clogs up our potential whether it is drugs, alcohol etc, it messes up the plan God has for each of our lives.
God sent Jesus to die for us but the problem is that we do not know our potential. We have been destroyed by the devil and sin is stunting our growth. We should reconnect with the source of life and allow Him to unclog our drains. There is nothing that is hard for Him, just take it to the Source and allow Him to be the one plumber you never had. Once your drains are unclogged, the wealth that the Lord put in us at birth will come forth, the wealth in your personality, in your being etc will gush forth without any restrictions.