Archive for the ‘Fear’ Category

Courage

January 26, 2009

Dictionary.com says that courage is “the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc., without fear; bravery.”  I think a better definition is to “act in the face of fear”.

I’m reading Seth Godin’s book Tribes.  In it, he mentions that people tend to be promoted to the level at which they are frozen by fear. (My interpretation of what I heard.)  In other words, we are not limited by our intelligence or skills as much as we are limited by our lack of faith, or our fear.

How do we keep from being frozen by fear?

1.  Focus on God.  Psalms 62:8 says “Trust in him at all times.  Pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us.”

2.  Do what you were created to do.  Luke 9:2 says “Jesus sent the twelve out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal.”  You have the Holy Spirit living in you.  Your mission is to proclaim the good news of Christ and to bring healing – no matter what your job is.

How can you bring healing?

a) through prayer.  God answers prayer and things change based on your prayers.

b) through relationship.  We were designed to be in relationship with other people and with God.  When you help people be in community, in relationship, you offer healing similar to that of Christ with the woman at the well and Zaccheaus – unconditional love that brings about transformation.

c) through listening.  Okay, so this is part of relationship, but bears it’s own category.  We are often a parallel play society.  We think that we are in relationship with people when we occupy the same place and time.  Our honest listening skills are a wonderful gift.

What do these have to do with leading?  If you are going to be a Christ-follower, you are going to be different – you are going to be a leader.  Are you willing to be counter-cultural?  Are you willing to take the time to listen, to be in relationship, and to honestly pray for the people you are around every day?  That is how you lead.  It takes courage, it takes time.

Lord, give us the courage to be the men and women You created us to be in the situations you have placed us in today.

Living What We Believe

October 14, 2008

Today I was as Starbucks and this nice looking young lady in front of me turned around and kind of growled at me. She looked at my sweatshirt and told me I needed to ‘get with it’ and wear Seahawks clothes instead of Mariners clothes.

I mumbled something like “this is my comfy sweatshirt.”

Then we got up to the counter, and she was there to complain because her drink wasn’t right. “I didn’t buy it here, but you were closer,” she said. “I don’t want to be ‘one of those people'” she kept repeating.

Already stinging from being accosted, I wondered what sort of woman she thought she was, and even considered telling the woman at the counter that she was ‘that kind of person’ enough to be mean to me. Thankfully, I kept my mouth shut.

While waiting for our drinks, she made lots of comments about the soy drinks that people were ordering – not bad comments, but comments. Instead of being defensive, I decided to open up to her. (I take soy in my drink.) I finally told her that if she could tolerate milk, she wouldn’t have to worry about soy; and for some older women, it takes the place of estrogen.

All of a sudden this young woman – turns out she is 29 with 11 and 7 year old daughters – tells me that today she is going in for her pre-op to have a full hysterectomy. I could just see how the situation was overwhelming her.

What if I had taken the opportunity to be cranky back? I would have gone on with my day and missed an opportunity to pray for this girl named Tomi, who is obviously at a scary place in life. Will you pray for her today – and take time to listen to the person behind the next frustrating situation you run into as well?

Right Perspective

October 8, 2008

If you listen to the news, you’d believe that we are on the verge of a world collapse.  Here is truth:

Isaiah 59:19 When the enemy comes in like a flood, the Spirit of the LORD will raise up a standard against him. God will fight for you!

Phil. 4: 4-13 (in the Message, parts are edited out, follow the link for the complete version)

Celebrate God all day, every day. I mean, revel in him! Make it as clear as you can to all you meet that you’re on their side, working with them and not against them. Help them see that the Master is about to arrive. He could show up any minute!

Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.

Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse.

I’ve learned by now to be quite content whatever my circumstances. I’m just as happy with little as with much, with much as with little. I’ve found the recipe for being happy whether full or hungry, hands full or hands empty. Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am.

Don’t be distracted by the stuff going on around you.  It really is a distraction.  God still is your provider – the provider of your purpose and your needs.  He has things for you to do today.  Jesus promised in John 14 that EVERYTHING you need to do what God has called you to do will be yours if you ask for it.  Put your eyes on the author and perfecter of you faith.  He will carry you through.

Looking Forward

September 16, 2008

Did you know that sometimes God seems to contradict Himself?

In Joshua 4, and a couple other places, God told the Israelites to set up monuments to remember what He had done.  Then in Isaiah 43:15-19 He says:

I am the LORD, your Holy One,
Israel’s Creator, your King.”

This is what the LORD says—
he who made a way through the sea,
a path through the mighty waters,

who drew out the chariots and horses,
the army and reinforcements together,
and they lay there, never to rise again,
extinguished, snuffed out like a wick:

“Forget the former things;
do not dwell on the past.

See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the desert
and streams in the wasteland.

He says “forget the former things.”  Why?  Here’s what I think:

Remembering the former things is a tool to help us determine God’s character and focus our faith and hope on Him for the future.  There seems to be a fine line between the past being a tool for the future, and ‘the good ‘ole days’.

God wants us to always be forward focused.  I read yesterday that an optimist is forward focused, a pessimist is not.  When we look backwards, let’s look for determinants of God’s provision that will show us how God will provide for the future.  He is unchanging and eternal.