Stepping Out

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Her eyes are closed but she’s still awake. I’m cradling her in my arms, although she’s far too big to fit comfortably anymore. She’ll be three in May, this little one. Wide awake, yet she doesn’t slit her eyes even the slightest to see where we’re going.

My feet creak heavy on the stairs and she’s heavy in my arms. But she keeps her eyes tightly shut, content simply to know that I’m carrying her.

That she’s safe.

A friend posted this verse a couple of weeks ago: “The steps of the godly are directed by the Lord. He delights in every detail of their lives. Though they stumble, they will not fall, for the Lord holds them by the hand” (Psalm 37:23-25, NLT).

I’ve been thinking about Abraham lately—how he had faith to obey the Lord, to pick up and leave everything he knew, even though he didn’t know where he was going. Sometimes, God calls us out of what we know and into the unfamiliar.

And when He does? We can rest confident that He is holding us by the hand. We might make mistakes. We might stumble. We might miss a step or five. But God never misses a single step. He is steady, faithful and unchanging.

In seasons of transitions, that steadies my heart.

I can close my eyes and breathe deep, content simply to know that He’s holding me.

Carrying me safe.

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When Jesus Says Shine {Overcoming Fear}

God has not given usa spirit ofFEARbut (1)

Jagged strips of earthy potato skin fell onto the counter. Such a mundane task, peeling them, but my hands were clumsy. I checked the clock. Four more hours and then it would be time.

You have to do the thing that you are afraid to do, I told myself sternly. Tomorrow, it will all be over. And after that, it will be a distant memory. Besides, it’s not about you. It’s about Jesus.

Part of my nervousness stemmed from the front row. I wore my highest heels, stood up as straight as I could, and thought tall thoughts. It didn’t work. I still ended up in front. I wanted to hide in the back.

That’s the problem. I’m not naturally an extrovert.

But Jesus says shine.

A few years ago, I asked God to break the limitations off of my thinking.

I prayed.

Then I waited.

I waited for God to miraculously break fear. I waited for Him to break insecurity. I waited for Him to put bigger dreams in my heart.

There was one fear that was broken in an instant. You can read about it here. But more often than not, I’ve learned, fear is overcome through actively stepping out.

“Courage is 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.” It was Nelson Mandela who said that.

Sometimes, the only way to conquer fear is to do the very thing you are afraid to do. Instead of praying for fear to miraculously dissipate, sometimes we need to pray that God gives us strength to take that timid first step.

So I changed the way I prayed. I began to systematically tackle my fears, one by one.

And I am overcoming them, one by one.

God has not given us a spirit of fear.

My fears are not particularly “big” but there are things that make me nervous. Speaking in front of people. Choir—the front row. Praying loud. New friends. Writing the hard things—the heart things.

Someday, all these will come easy. There is no fear in perfect love. And I have a perfect Savior offering me perfect love. But until I’m made completely perfect in that love, I’ll continue to push the limits.

Little by little. Step by step. Victory by victory.

And I will shine

because I’m shining Him.