So I might just be preaching to myself today, which is fine.
But I might also be speaking a little word of wisdom into someone else, which is even better.
And for those of you who do not struggle with this, please remember we are all wired differently so perhaps this will help you understand a friend or loved one better.
One of the books I added to my morning routine of devotional reading was a Christmas gift.
The book “threadbare prayer prayers for hearts that feel hidden, hurt or hopeless” by Stacey Thacker. (and yes…she capitalizes nothing in the title…this must be a trend)
This book has 100 prayers that are simple and include a verse, a brief meditation, three declarations for who God is and who she is and then a short prayer and thought to carry through the day.
Stacey wrote this from a season of intense overwhelm and it is sweet little book.
Some days I relate to more than others, and today I thought I didn’t relate at all.
But something caught me after I set the book back in the basket. The verse was one I use for myself at times and that I prayer over family and friends during their hard seasons.
For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but He has given us a spirit of love, power and a sound mind.2 Timothy 1:7
As I read the material and quickly self-evaluated, nothing in me resonated with fear.
Or did it? Because as I went to pick up the other book I use for my daily reading, I hesitated and picked that one up again.
I took an honest look back over what she had written and I asked myself if perhaps “fear” of something might be why I feel stuck all the time. There are so many things I want to do, but each day I let them remain undone while I continue to take way more time to do my routines than is necessary.
So I asked myself the next hard question:
If fear is keeping me stuck, what am I afraid of?
The answer came surprisingly quickly…I am afraid I will fail.
Another voice piped up that I am pretty sure was not mine and asked me how exactly I would be able to measure if I failed doing the things I want to do. What is the criteria that would mark my efforts as a failure? Who is the judge and jury who would either grade my results a success or a failure?
In full transparency, I will share how I answered that question:
I fear that people whose opinions somehow matter to me will not affirm me. I am not afraid these people will criticize me or reject me. I am afraid they will ignore me. And by ignoring me, I perceive that they have rejected me and deemed me a failure.
Well that was awesome. Not.
From there I wrote this observation:
As a “people pleaser” with no actual, factual people to please, I am basically afraid of phantom approval. I am afraid of not being taken seriously by some group of people that I have managed to put on some kind of panel that will evaluate how I carry out the things that are on my heart to do that exists only in my imagination.
So seeing that in ink and now typed words, I realize how very much I need to apply the truth of the words in that Scripture.
I am thankful to God that He has given me a sound mind today.
If you are often feeling stuck and unable to push past whatever label you have given to your paralysis…I pray you would lean into that Scripture with me.
Your fear may be different than mine, but it is worth doing some honest self-evaluation as to what is inhibiting your ability to complete the things God has set in your heart to do.
Let’s call our fears out into the open and expose them for what they are. They are, in fact, distractions that keep us from living the life of abundance we were called to when we received Christ as our Lord and Savior <3
You are loved.
You have been given His Spirit to empower you to do the things set before you by Him.
You have a sound mind and the discipline to persevere.
Now go do it <3