Not Being Brave
Trues confession time: I'm not brave, at least I don't feel like it a lot of the time. That may shock some people who know bits and pieces of my story because I am someone who will pack up her life in a couple suitcases, sell her car, and move halfway around the world without much thought. But staying put, that is something I have to force myself to do. Because when you stay put, people learn how to read your BS over time. When you stay put, you risk hurting people who you actually care about, or worse disappointing them. When you stay put you either live behind a protective wall with a safe, boring life or choose vulnerability and risk the pain but live a grand adventure.
I'm also the person who quit her job with benefits when I felt God was telling me it was time to go. It wasn't scary. It was actually easy. I knew He'd bring another, or more correctly, I knew I could get another job. I'm hard working and have loads of common sense. What I lack in skills, I can usually make up for it in creativity and determination. But when God asks me not to look for a job, but to trust Him to show me when it's time, that's hard. Common sense says you can work way more than part time. Faith for me says writing and finishing your dream is the right work for you, right here and right now. Yes, to many people who know me but don't know the secret places of my heart, I am brave. But to those who see me, I mean really see me, they know I am just wired differently. The things that scare other people don't even cause me to sweat, but the things that terrify me, or no-brainers for most of the people in my life. Do it afraid. I heard that years ago when I was watching Joyce Meyer and it stuck with me... I may fail... I may not be good enough... I may not be enough... What if I miss God... again... What is it that terrifies you? Is it quitting your job? Is it asking someone out? Is it going back to school? Is it downsizing your car to get something less fabulous so you won't have payments? Is it stepping out to what God has told you? Is it stepping back to wait for God to show you the next step? Is it joining a small group? Is it leading a small group? Is it staying in your small group? What scares you? What do you want to give up on? To be honest, most, if not all of my fears boil down to not wanting to miss God. Did I really hear from Him? When I was younger in my faith, God honored where I was at and it seemed my life was full of miraculous confirmations: the stranger in a store speaking comfort to me, the sermon that literally said what I needed to hear, friends sharing encouragement when they didn't even know I was struggling, etc. There were also the times of prayer where it felt like acquaintances had read my journal because their words spoke so deeply to my soul. Then over time those became less of a necessity because I fell in love with the Bible. I didn't need writing on the wall because I knew what the wise choice was. Oh, I still had wise counsel speaking into my life, but I had learned how to discern the voice of God. Something, by the way, no one can really teach you. From my experience, it comes over time from reading His Word, praying, listening, and just chatting with Him through the day. Then He asks you to do something that scares you, and you're so close to the finish line but still it feels impossible. That's when you start to ask for the confirmation. You now want the writing on the wall. Did I really hear from You? Is this REALLY where You're leading me? And so often in His grace, God will confirm through someone giving you encouragement about your talent or He uses you in the way you know you were made for and you again know deep in your knower that you have heard from God. And that lasts for a bit before fear creeps in again. And it's in times like this that I look to what Paul said about maturity and realize that stepping out in faith is part of the process and that means there are no guarantees. My job is to sit with Him, to be reminded of His love and His leading, and then go in His strength. When fear gets to be too much, I have found that I've often forgotten to lean on Him and am trying to do it in my own strength. When fear throws it's best at me, instead of white-knuckling my way through it, I sit with The One Who Loves Me Most and am reminded that He kicks fear in the butt every time. When I know He is the one leading me, I can do it afraid because even if it doesn't turn out the way I'm hoping it will, when God leads me in something, it is the best of all options.