This post is very personal. I want you to know what I have struggled with so you can take courage knowing God will help you overcome your fears. The Bible provides multiple reminders that we do not need to be afraid because He is with us.
"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 NIV
I experienced victory over fear in the following 3 areas. Do you see yourself in any of these? Read on!
1. Fear of rejection
2. Fear of being seen
3. Fear of fun and adventure
FYI, BELOW at the end of this post you will see the products made with this design. Use them as a reminder for you or a loved one of God's powerful truth in Psalm 27:1 - that you do not need to fear when you have the Lord on your side! Here is the design and the products are at the bottom of this blog post.
As a child I was a turtle. I hid deep inside my shell at the slightest hint of danger. My protective shell consisted of getting straight A's throughout school and graduating at the top of my high school class. I don't say this to boast but to illustrate the lengths I went to to avoid getting in trouble and to gain acceptance. I snitched on my brothers and sister when they did get into trouble. Really fun to be around, huh? I was a super compliant, "perfect" daughter. That was my hardened shell. I knew poking my head out (a.k.a. having an opinion) meant potential judgment, rejection, and anger toward me that I had no confidence or coping skills to handle.
My adulthood looked very similar, wavering back and forth based on what my husband or everyone else wanted. Do you remember in the movie Runaway Bride how she changed her preference for eggs based on the guy she was with? That was similar to my life. I feared rejection and conflict so I made sure my opinions and preferences closely aligned with my husbands' - politically, spiritually, and mentally. Truly a chameleon turtle.
I accepted Jesus at age 30, and two divorces and 3 children later, I started to understand what freedom looked like, but still struggled to form an opinion for fear of rejection. I gradually accepted God's Word as truth - whom shall I fear? NO ONE! As I mentioned, it was a gradual process and hard work of forcing myself to figure out what my own opinion should look like. I cried out to God to heal me of this paralyzing fear of rejection and He answered my prayer!
Today I give myself permission to formulate an opinion because God wants people to hear what I have to say. I have a husband who loves me unconditionally and helps me by truly craving my opinion. I won't lie, I still struggle to make decisions because this thorn in my flesh hasn't left completely, but I dig deep to find an opinion that I own. I do research and decide for myself.
Do you struggle with this crippling fear as well? Cry out to God and test Him in this. Dig deep to form your own opinion and practice on a trusted friend or family member. Continue to practice and pray for deliverance daily!
My fear of being seen is closely related to my fear of rejection. If I could just blend into the wallpaper nobody would see my faults. This fear paralyzed me, making me the epitome of a wall flower. I never talked in front of the class without being forced, I rejected opportunities to expand my career if they required a presentation, and I avoided any gathering that would require interaction with other people. I preferred to blend into a big crowd or just stay home.
Two men helped me change this part of my life: Jesus and my husband, Cal. The day I accepted Jesus I started to slowly believe that I have value. Nothing I say in public will make Him love me any less. I realized that I went through the struggles for a purpose. I could speak without fear of judgment, though some will judge. I started to realize that I can encourage someone going through a similar circumstance, but to do so would require boldness and being seen.
In addition to Jesus, Cal saw more potential in me than I ever knew I had. I hid behind big glasses and long hair working in a call center because that's all I thought I was capable of. I had distant, far-off dreams of being a flight attendant because it was such a cool job. My husband was the first person in my life who ever said, "So what's stopping you?" and ignored my protests and pushed me to do it. I was mortified at the reality of having to stand in front of 160 people to give the safety demonstration, but I did it mortified. I was fulfilling a dream. I loved it and my confidence grew. I have my husband to thank for the initial and continual push to not hold back. Being seen got easier. Now I do Facebook Live videos for my business and no longer fear rejection, though some will reject me.
"Fear is a manipulative emotion that can trick us into living a boring life." - Donald Miller
My life could have been seen as boring and mediocre by human standards. I was a 10 and 2 driver, followed the rules and was terrified to get into trouble. I never thought I would enjoy anything even slightly adventurous. My life was vanilla. Not too spicy, not too crazy, just bland. I wondered if deep down I didn't think I deserved to have fun or do anything adventurous. I needed to stay in the parameters of what I could control so I wouldn't draw attention to myself.
"Each of us must confront our own fears, must come face to face with them. How we handle our fears will determine where we go with the rest of our lives. To experience adventure or to be limited by the fear of it." Judy Blume
Then I met Jesus and Cal. Jesus was the stronghold of my life who gave me the freedom I needed to try new things, and trust Him in the process. He reminded me that this life consists of so much more than my bubble of existence. There is a world that needs me, and it's ok to have fun while doing it! Cal gave me the injection of adventure I desperately needed but was afraid to take.
As a flight attendant (before 9-11-2001) I had a lot of opportunity to talk with pilots and see what they did. I became fascinated with flying. It was based on science which I loved. I never thought I could do it myself, but it was fun to dream. I told Cal this dream and do you know what he did? He signed me up for an introductory flight lesson! I spent an hour flying around at 5,000 feet in the cockpit of a tiny aircraft and was hooked. Then I worked at a local small airport fueling airplanes and trading the money I would have earned for flight hours in an airplane. Two years later I stood next to the Cessna 172 with Private Pilot license in hand.
So which fears are holding you back? Remember that the enemy came to steal and kill and destroy (John 10:10) by overwhelming you with fear. Do not give him a foothold. Instead crush those fears with the truth of Psalm 27:1! Comment below how you plan to claim victory over your fears, and I'll be honored to pray for you!
Much love and blessings,
P.S. Here are some of the products that claim the truth of Psalm 27:1. They work perfectly as gifts or to keep for yourself, as a visual reminder of His strength that's available anytime you are facing fear!!