HELLO FEAR- PART 2–FEARLESS

The obstacle courses included crossing logs connected to wire cables suspended in air, bear-clawing about 15 wooding poles to get to the other side, ziplining through trees, attaching and hanging on a rope with nothing underneath and pullying ourselves to the other side, walking a suspended tight rope and crossing suspended wires one foot at a time–all in mid air.

During this obstacle course God ministered to me on so many levels.

There are several points I want to address to encourage others who may be bound by this same toxic relationship.

STEP ONE–STEP OUT ON FAITH

In order to even have a chance of conquering this obstacle course, no matter how much the appearance of our environment threatened us, we HAD to step out on faith to progress forward. It was scary–but once you take that step there was no looking back–there was no point of return–we had no choice but to keep moving.

What I learned is, if I focused on the position I was in, if I focused on the environment around me that appeared to oppose my progression forward–fear would set in. I would begin to think I couldn’t complete the task given–but when I would focus only on what was placed before me–my focused shifted and I was more determined to advance forward.

STEP TWO– CHANGE IS INEVITABLE, BUT HOW ONE ADAPTS TO CHANGE IS RELATIVE.


As we went through each course, the obstacles changed and practically became more challenging as we progressed .
What I noticed is if I focused on the task ahead, refusing to look beneath me, refusing to focusi on others progressing forward at a faster pace than me or anything going on around me, I was able to move forward without fear being a factor for me. However, once I became distracted by any of those mentioned above, fear would set in and have me to doubt my own ability to get to the place destined for me to go.

I realized that though our situations will change, it is not in our control. We have to adapt to the various changes and keep in mind the ultimate goal–to finish what God has set out for us to do from the beginning.

STEP THREE–SUBMIT TO LEADERSHIP

There were many times I felt as if I couldn’t go on. My upper body strength was too weak to pull when I needed, or my legs too week to push up or cross at times. When my hope was diminished by fear and the final goal seemed compromised by my physical limitations, a masculine voice would call out to me, “You got this”. He would encourage me in my challenging position, he would reach out to me when I needed him, support me when my body couldn’t physically support itself. No matter how much I wanted to quit–He saw my potential and pushed me to utilize my fullest potential.

It’s easy to submit to leadership, when the leader believes in you, supports you, motivates you, encourages you and doesn’t mind getting into the challenge themselves to help you progress forward.

Lastly,

STEP FOUR: DON’T ALLOW YOUR HISTORY TO DETERMINE THE OUTCOME OF YOUR FUTURE

If I wouldn’t have ever encountered this day, I wouldn’t have ever embraced the impact fear has had on my life.

I realize that though I may feel incapable, I am more than capable of conquering ANYTHING, if I remain focused on the task God specifically set ahead for me. I can’t allow myself to become distracted by my environments, veer off path due to the fact I think I lacking something that really isn’t needed. I can’t settle for situations that are comfortable. Sometimes I have to experience things outside of my comfort zone in order to get to the final destinations God has paved for me.

Hello, fear. We’ve been in a relationship for a very long time–but on today, I’ve decided to let you go. God has too much in store for me, and fortunately–THERE’S NO ROOM FOR YOU! From this moment on I’m FEARLESS!

HELLO FEAR-PART 1: EMBRACING FEAR


I have had a very intimate walk with fear for years. I needed a way out.

As a child fear and I became best friends. I was so overly concerned with something disastrous happening to my family, I would spend countless hours wide awake at night just thinking about what could go wrong and praying it didn’t. I didn’t start driving until my 20s because I thought I would get in a horrible accident and lose my life. When my nephew Hunter was born, many nights I would watch him breathe in fear he would stop. In my adulthood, I would associate myself with unfruitful relationships out of fear of being alone. I wanted to major in music, matriculate in Juilliard and become this amazing trained flautist–but fear of unacceptance and failure held me back. I didn’t fly on an airplane or get on a cruise ship until my mid 20s out of fear of heights and the plane crashing or the ship sinking. When I was diagnosed with cancer and was told I was clear but high-risk for recurrence, for 5 years after I was bound with fear of the thought of cancer returning no matter how much I knew God had healed me.

These are just a few examples of how fear had me imprisoned. For all of these years, I had suppressed fear but today all of my history re-introduced itself and I had to address it.

HELLO FEAR!


Fear had me trapped in situations that were not God’s best for me and paralyzed my ability to experience God’s greatness to its fullness.

Today me and 5 of my girlfriends thought we were going on an adventure to Zipline for the first time; however, when we arrived, we were in for the experience of a lifetime.

We were introduced to a 4 level obstacle course up to 55 ft above treetops that elevated at the completion of each course.

No matter how much preparation you are given, sometimes it can’t prepare you for all of the challenges that may lie ahead.

To be continued…

A CHANGED POSITION

Many times in life we become defined by society’s perspection of us. We get so bent out of shape that we began to obtain a one-dimensional view of ourselves–a ground-level view. We began to see ourselves as the world tries to make us feel–like dirt. Sometimes, we stay in this position so long, we become locked in–in bondage–unable to get a clear view upward and hindered from moving forward.

Today, I am reminded that I am NOT defined by how the world sees me. I am NOT defined by statistics. I am NOT defined by culture. I am NOT defined by my enviroment. I am NOT defined by my health status, social status, financial status, or my educational status!

I AM A WOMAN DEFINED BY GOD!

In coming to terms with this, I was brought to a scripture in Luke 13: 10-17. In this story, there is a woman who had been crippled for 18 years. Though the Bible doesn’t give descriptive details about what is causing her to be crippled, it does describe as an evil spirit that had her bent double.

The dictionary defines the word evil as:

-something causing injury or harm
-something that is considered bad by report
-someone/something marked by misfortune/luck
-someone looked down upon -wickedness

Ironically, I have personally battled similar spirits. Have you? Perhaps, one of poverty, hopelessness, feelings of inadequacy, sexual immorality, depression?

These spirits definitly fit the definition above. As I continued read the passage, I wondered if in fact the spirit that fell upon this woman was similar to many of the evil spirits we face today? The great news is that, just like the woman in the passage was in bondage&nbspI know and have experienced a God that has ALL POWER.

Let’s look closely at His character.

1) HE’S A GOD WHO SEES:

Regardless of her physical condition, Jesus saw her! She was a woman worshipping Him despite her affliction. He was going to use His mighty power to allow her to get into a better position-one of freedom.

2) HE’S A GOD WHO CALLS:

Typically in this culture, women were not necessarily held in the highest regard. Having visible disabilities only made society’s view worse. At this point, Jesus called someone whose physical condition was distorted and whom society had a distorted view. He did not just see her as just a spectator but an opportunity to make her a spectacle to show God’s power. That’s how it is
when he calls us to a particular assignment. His ability to work through us is not hindered by our own limitations nor the limitations others put on us–HE IS GOD!

3) HE’S A GOD WHO HEALS BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY:

According to the laws in those times, the Sabbath was designed to restrict an individual’s ability to work. It was designed as a day of rest, reflection and worship. When the leader of the synagogue witnessed exactly what Jesus was doing, he began to get upset and tried to call Jesus out amongst the congregation. Just like some people in this world who can’t handle God’s blessings upon your life. The leader tried to argue that Jesus was defying the laws of the Sabbath–but I just love Jesus’ response on this day as well as other times He healed on the Sabbath.

Luke 13: 15 states: “You hypocrites! Each of you work on the Sabbath day! Don’t you untie your ox or your donkey from its stall and lead it out for water? This dear woman has been held in bondage for eighteen years. Isn’t it right that she be released, even on the Sabbath”?

On other accounts, his response was similar-

Mark 2:27-28 states, “The Sabbath was made to meet the needs of people and not peeple to meet the requirements of the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is Lord, even over the Sabbath”.

In Luke 14:5, his response to those who were against it was, “Which of you doesn’t work on the Sabbath? If your son or your cow falls into a pic, don’t you rush to get him out?”

CLEARLY GOD IS ONE WHO DEFIES WHAT OTHERS ACCOUNT AS UNACCEPTABLE. IF HE WANTS TO HEAL HE WILL DO SO BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY. IT DOESN’T MATTER WHAT THE DOCTORS SAY, WHAT SOCIETY SAYS, OR EVEN WHAT YOU SAY TO YOUR SELF.

Lastly, the passage shows us the character of the woman. There was a reason why she went to the synagogue that day. She was a woman of faith. Her actions spoke louder than her words. She was a woman who listened to Jesus’ words, she obeyed his command by walking towards Him and in her obedience–her position changed. Lastly, she was a woman of praise.

There are several powerful nuggets attached to this one passage; however, from this perspective, I extract this simple fact: No matter what position society’s view may try to lock you in, no matter how the history of your past tries to bind you. No matter what the doctors report may read remember, God has the ability change your position at any given time if He so chooses.

WEATHER THE STORMS

Earlier today, I had the pleasure of fitting a man with hearing aids for the first time. He had be living about 50+ years in this “bubble” of silence, disconnected from the world.

I watch a slight smirk peek from his lips, as he listens to sounds emerge that were once in hiding. His wife witnesses that he’s hearing things again, and she says in a soft voice, “I love you”. The eyes of this burly man turns to the direction of her voice, looks at her and says , “I love you too”. Trying to be professional and hold my composure—being the mush that I am, I asked him how long they had been married. “40 years”, he replied. “Excuse me?”, she corrected… “What? We have been in business for 40 years”, he stated. “Turn, your hearing aid up! She asked, how long we have been married?”. The patient laughed and corrected himself, saying, “ohhh, 48 years”. I chuckled at them, and asked what the secret to their longevity was?

He simply said, “WEATHER THE STORMS”.

I took a mental note, only to come back to reflect on it during lunch.

I decided to look up exactly what this idiom meant–my favorite definition was:
TO EXPERIENCE GREAT DIFFICULTY AND SURVIVE IT.

I re-evaluated my relationships and even friendships over the years…some have been really rocky, those who I consider the closest to me have known me for a while and we have had to do exactly what he suggested.

It doesn’t amaze me that on a more regular basis I have come in contact with couples that are walking testimonies that longevity in marriage still exists. Of course because the marriages are so long, it typically is seen in the older generation.

I ADMIRE THEM!

The whole “STICK WITH IT, TIL DEATH DO US PART, THROUGH THICK AND THIN” mentality in the younger generation is almost non-existent these days.

OF COURSE IT TAKES TWO!

In my quiet time, I began to think about rocks. Most are jagged and rough to the touch. A rock can be so sharp and abrasive, it can create some of the deepest wounds. Yet, no matter how jagged a rock is, in time, weather conditions can even break down the oldest, largest, immoveable ones. They can become some of the most beautiful stones–used to decorate or to adorn.

All good relationships are not without difficulty–YOU WILL experience some stormy times. Variable winds (mood swings), rain (tears), heat (disagreements), and ice (stubbornness/coldness) are just a few conditions one may experience.

You have to keep in mind that not all storms are meant to be weathered. There are some the will force you take an evacuation route immediately! I’m not referring to them. Some individuals God will not grant peace when you try to walk way. He wants you to ride out the storms to access a greater purpose. But to do so you must keep your focus on Him. In time, if you don’t give up, these rocky roads will become beautifully smoothed stony paths that lead to greatness.

in my humble opinion…