JOURNEY THROUGH OCTOBER: CONQUERING FEAR

~week three~day 1~

I’ll tell you what is brave.  Deciding to join 31 Days of writing in October.  Ha!  Like I often do, I feel strongly and ride off into the sunset with all the things that matter to me.  Except that sometimes riding off into the sunset actually means hanging from my horse upside-down by one stirrup with my hair dragging in the dust.  Which does NOT qualify as brave.  Or anything else but painful for that matter.

Sometimes my endeavors come crashing down on me.  Working full time, being a mom full time, shooting for spending more good times with my husband, committed to being a good friend, being someone who cares about my community and global issues.  Plus all the things that I think about and plan to do, but haven’t yet.  Crash.

Toward the end of last week, too much stuff was on the forefront of my brain and heart.  I was like that video of the girl with the nail in her forehead but doesn’t know it and just continues describing the pressure that’s mounting.  It’s really only a good case of anxiety that can grab my attention to slow down long enough to hear reason.  Believe me, the reason does not come from my own soul.  It took me 24 hours of anxiety to hear God say – – Ask for help.  You’re burnt out.  Wrung out.  Spun out.

I will humor you as to how badly I needed help but didn’t know it.  The song Shoulders was turning like a broken record in my mind.  But I couldn’t remember the line that says My _____ is From You.  I laid in bed putting all kinds of words in the blank.  I tried Health, Wealth and whatever else.  Of course, none of that makes sense.  Finally, literally, after my anxiety filled pondering went on from 5am to 8am on Saturday morning . . . the word is Help.  My Help is From You.  Duh.  I need help to do all that You have given me.  I need His help and I need to ask for it.  Peace.

JOURNEY THROUGH OCTOBER: CONQUERING FEAR

~week two~day 3~

Christine Caine tells a true story of being lost in the wilderness after a jeep accident in the rain forest.  She recalls her conversations with God as she ponders all of the stupid choices her group made – – venturing out unprepared, telling no one where they went, wearing flip-flops in the jungle.  She contemplates all of the reasons why God should not rescue her since she got herself into this deadly mess.  One of the most telling lines in her story is where she says, If our example is Jesus . . . then we won’t distinguish between the one who is lost because of circumstances beyond his control and the one who willfully and willingly put himself there.

Sometimes I feel like the brown lab I grew up with.  When he was really bad after we weren’t home for a few hours, we would open the front door and he would be sitting there, but he wouldn’t look at us.  He sat there in plain sight, but he wouldn’t face us.  I suppose that’s shame.  Sometimes I feel like I put myself in my own mess.  There is just no way I am going to look Grace right in the face.  I will just sit there in my anxiety or mess or whatever.  With God sitting right across from me.  It is really hard to look Grace in the face when you are a mess.

There is a wonderful psalm which says, Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, Whose sin is covered.  It’s hard to swallow what Grace and Love does.  When I am feeling unworthy, the undeserved part of grace blurs in my mind.  Grace is much easier to understand when I feel like I have a few good works in my back pocket.  The truth is no matter how you got into your mess, we all sometimes need to be rescued by grace.  We are not any less worthy than someone else who is more dutiful, responsible and faithful than we have been.  We all need to be saved.

So I’ll try to be brave.  I’ll try not to avoid eye contact when God sheds some light on my mess.  I’ll try to remember that undeserved applies all the time.  I’ll try to remember that I’m loved, so therefore, I will be saved.  Not just from circumstances beyond my control, but from my own self.

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Getting Built by Encouragement

There is so much to learn.  It comes from deep.  It comes from wide.  Learning comes from choosing compassion, connection and sometimes pain.  It comes from being humble, bold and brave.  I am constantly encouraged and inspired by great men and women around me.  I hope to become more of who I am by God’s truth and by the path others are walking.  I am getting built by Encouragement.

What I Learned as a Friend: It feels like the stars have come out when you share with your closest friend what God puts on your heart for this season of her life.

What I Learned as a Parent: It is essential to treat your kids equally and to teach them the value of equality.  That way, they will know that nothing is impossible by their own experience and by definition.  Inspired by my own mother and Nobel Peace Prize Recipient Malala Yousafzai.

Verse:   Therefore encourage one another and build each other up just as in fact you are doing.  1 Thessalonians 5:11 

Deep Thought: Driving on the expressway a few weeks ago, I pushed back on making a phone call.  I finally made a deal with myself that I would make the call when I got to my exit.  The call stretched me and caused a certain amount of relational tension.  Later, I see that change does not happen without connecting.  Without bringing about a certain amount of tension with the eyes of compassion. Change does not happen without being bold and brave.  Thanks in part to Seth Godin’s keynote message at Leadercast 2015.

Quote: You don’t have to be an extrovert or fearless to be a bold leader.  You don’t have to have a specific gift or talent.  You don’t have to be ultra smart or resourced.  You need clarity around an unreasonable commitment to what should beParaphrase from Andy Stanley’s keynote message at Leadercast 2015.

Book(s)/Blog(s)/People that Shape Me: Roarke Denver, US Navy Seal Commander, I love the way he speaks about his family with gentleness, shares his combat experiences with humanity and the way he defines the path to bravery.

My Prayer to You: I pray that we would trust the way God speaks to us and that we would share His insight when He calls us to.  I pray that there would be no sweeter moment than putting words into God’s Book of Remembrance.  I pray that we would remember that all of us are conduits of bravery and capable shaking fear.  I pray that we would remember the call on humanity to equality.  And, that there is no greater cause than laying down your life for your friend.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.