Fear. It grips the soul and renders me breathless. Heavy, oppressing and downright obtuse. But, my God says, “I have not given you a spirit of fear, but a spirit of power, love and a sound mind”. (2 Timothy 1:7) How often I have repeated that verse in my mind. Over and over I remind myself that God is with me, He cares for me and does not instigate fear. But it creeps up. It’s there. Whatever bit of dreams I have in my heart are drowned out by the loud voice that tells me I cannot accomplish anything worthwhile. That life is best lived quietly in the shadows of fear.
This past year has been a struggle. A struggle to keep my head up, my heart happy and to pursue dreams. Not in the mushy way like “I dream of being a princess in a castle and live happily ever after kinds of dreams”. Dreams like, God has given me a heart to serve others, to be creative and make art, to learn new things and attempt new skills. Those kinds of dreams. Ones that seem fair enough, but when I attempt them I realize all of my shortcomings, my failures and reasons why I shouldn’t try to share myself with the world. It’s easier just to give up, right? Right. But it is also more cowardly, more sad, and the best way to live a life devoid of joy.
So what to do? If you are standing in a place right now, or more honestly sitting and groveling for something to hold on, remember this: God put dreams and desires in our hearts not to encourage defeat, but to see that with Him life is beautiful, and those things can be achieved. Yes, our shortcomings will come to light. But getting past those and persevering is perhaps one of the best feelings, is it not? And oh to His glory He brings us through trials to show how much He loves us, and how strong we can be in Him.
He is teaching me these things, and bringing people into my life to show me that joy is found in simply living. Pursuing Him and the desires He has given me is possible when I open my heart to others and show them what’s inside. Not being afraid to say “I’m hurting, I’m happy, or look what I’ve learned today”. Because the truth is, people want people to listen to them, to share life with them and to connect with. Seems a lost art these days doesn’t it? You may find it is easier than you think to be real with people once you decided to release your fears and remove the mask. Don’t be afraid to admit to someone you’re having a hard time. Don’t be afraid to share your joy with someone. Don’t be afraid to try something new! You may be surprised at how genuine life can feel.
I am starting something new. I am trying very much to move past fears and pursue some artistic dreams. It doesn’t come easy, but I am trying. God has put people in my life to help me see the beauty in being myself. My newest venture? I am raising chickens. Yes, you heard me right. CHICKENS. I am overjoyed. How beautiful are they? So cute, but don’t be deceived- not cuddly. Yes, I have tried 🙂 Chickens are a more timid animal. Easily scared. So it is in watching these little birds interact and react to me that this blog post comes to be. I realize that like these chickens I coop myself up and become afraid at the sight of a new venture, a new person, etc. As cute as it was to watch these little guys, and gals, try to escape my presence, I realized how silly it is that they try to squeeze through little fence holes to get away from the one who is feeding them. The one who gives them feed, and water scares them and makes them run into danger.
Isn’t that how we treat God sometimes? The One who gives us all good things is the one we fear too often and try to run away from? And what, we end up in even more fearful circumstances, in a place we do not know and do not want to be? True, I am most guilty of this. So I am reminded as I start this new venture to seek Him and realize He provides me with the strength and courage to face life. And not to be afraid. Because He has not given me a spirit of fear. But of power. Of Love. Of a sound mind. He has given you that too my friends.