JOURNEY THROUGH OCTOBER: CONQUERING FEAR

~week one~day four~

Overcoming the Fear of Pain and Joy

We fear the gamut of life’s difficult experiences. We fear deep love and of being alone.  We fear personal change but don’t want to stay the same forever.  We fear raising children, but most of us take the risk anyway.  We fear having an empty life and also being too busy for the little things.  We fear.

I like to be alone and find much of my peace in solace.  But if I look deeply at myself, I fear facing the trials and responsibilities of this world alone.  Alone is probably my biggest fear.  I acknowledge this, while at the same time, I know the promise that He never leaves or forsakes us.  We fear the spectrum of the human experience in a rather ironic way.

As my dad faced the end of his days, his favorite verse became He will never leave me or forsake me.  Deuteronomy 31:6.  I don’t know the depth of his fear of death.  But I saw pure strength and wisdom arise out of his conquest of fear.  The full verse says Be Strong and Courageous for the Lord your God goes with you.  He will never leave you nor forsake you.  When someone is with you for always, you can be strong and courageous.

Fear runs in and through what we see as pain and trials.  But it also runs in and through what we envision as our most precious joys.  Overcoming fear brings us both out of trials and into joy. Simple truths like He will never leave us or forsake us usher us right through fear.

Becoming Less Linear

Today, I am thinking about who I am Becoming in a different light.  My standards are often so linear.  I think about beginnings and ends.  Time lines from A to B.  Getting there with successes and stumbles along the way.  Getting there with a point in time, or end, in mind.

God put the word Becoming in my heart.  Along with truths like Becoming doesn’t end.  We have a God that knew our names before time.  He had a plan for each of our individual lives before we came into existence.  His Word brought us into time, and His calling will bring us out of time.  To Him.  We don’t stop Becoming.

What I am learning as a person: I am learning to work hard to reach excellence in the weeds of my life.  But not to such a degree that I miss the gift of timelessness when it comes to Becoming.

Verse:  Since we have the same spirit of faith according to what has been written, “I believed, and so I spoke,” we also believe, and so we also speak, knowing that he who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and bring us with you into his presence. For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God.  2 Corinthians 4:13-15

Deep Thought:  While there are stops and goes in this present time.  While there is death and life as we know it.  While linear makes sense right now.  There is no end to Becoming.  He knew us before time, He knows us as we experience time and He will know us in eternity where there is no time.  And, in my view, even in Heaven, we will be Becoming.

Quote: God fulfills the dreams He give us, but not in the way we expect.  God works through death and resurrection.  Your dream almost dies but then God makes it alive again.  Shake off the snakes and keep going.  Sermon notes from Pastor Doug Sauder’s message of August 16, Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale.

Book(s)/Blog(s)/People that Shape Me: My friend Letty V is shaping me.  I describe her by real, seeking and honest.  She is known at the office as Queen Velazquez.  She is known at Sports Ministry as prayerful and strong.   I’ve seen her hit a wall, kick the dust of her shoes and keep trucking.  I’ve seen her walk hard in storms.  She always keeps the wind at her back.  I’m honored that her faith impacts mine.  Helping me grow.  Helping me remember grace, and helping me remember the ins and outs of who I am.  Thank you Letty.

My Prayer to You: Father, help us see beyond A to B.  Help us see how good You are and that You have graciously put no restraint on grace and growth in our lives. Help us see eternity where we will finally understand timelessness. Help us believe and speak and share with others to Your glory.  Amen.

Written By Sasha Katz

Deciding the Design

Today, I consider time.  The arrangement of when something will happen.  Time is also continued progress.  For it to be both, we have to be intentional and creative, and looking upward.  I find myself in the open space of figuring out what that looks like for me.  I’m in the patches rather than the whole quilt.  But since I already know you also aspire to be the Proverbs 31 woman, you know how important the patches are to completing the whole quilt.  There is so much joy in deciding on the design of the patches while God takes care of the progress.

What I am learning as a person: Leaning away from building the components of my life.  Leaning towards the presence of Christ.  In this miraculous transition, I am seeing more fully who I am and what my life can be about.  If I miss this birth in me, I think I miss living in the center of His will for my life – – which is not fully about the daily grind, but pursuing what makes my heart beat with pleasure for Him.

Verse:  Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts. Acts 2:46

Deep Thought:  I know so little.  But I am capable of so much with Him.  I want to be more intentional, but also a blank slate for Him to write on.  Churning in me is the connection between intention, God’s creativity and time.  My current journey is to work out the tension between my deliberate action and use of imagination towards the time God has given me.  It feels very right, potentially beautiful and worthwhile.

Quote: It’s a beautiful thing when passion and pay align, allowing you to do something you love and be well paid.  If this is your situation, thank God on your knees every day, because you are living the dream.  Very few people ever experience the perfect balance between passion and pay.  It is one of life’s rare and precious blessings.  Simplify by Bill Hybels (Chapter 4)

Book(s)/Blog(s)/People that Shape Me: Simplify by Bill Hybels because he is helping me grab hold of the time I have and guard it for the things to which He has called me and for purposes for which I have been created.  Yes!  – – sigh/breathe/relief – – there is freedom here.

Love Does by Bob Goff also has shaped me. If you are a parent, you really have to read Chapter 20, Ten-Year-Old Adventures and Chapter 10, The Interviews.  It will ignite you to be alive with your kids and to aspire to make everlasting memories with them.  Reading this book gives me something very high to aim for!

Consider reading this recent post from So Beloved.  She gave me peace as I opened my day today.

My Prayer to You: I pray that the bit I shared with you today will begin to set in as a patchwork quilt in your soul.  I pray that you will allow your thoughts to take you to the components of your life: your family, faith, work.  Your community.  Your qualities and desires.  God purposefully imbedded your uniqueness into your soul.  I pray that you would consider your time.  Allow God’s creativity to work out the hours of your day.  Your commitments.  Your priorities.  I pray that you would not miss living in the center of His promising will for your life.

Written by Sasha Katz

Don’t Be a Lady in Waiting

By Bindu Adai-Mathew

It was 1998. Friends ruled the local channels, and Sex and The City ruled cable television. The Internet was still taking the world by storm and just starting to change our lives. Email, surfing, and cyberspace were becoming everyday terms, and cell phones were just beginning to replace pagers. Oprah was nowhere close to retirement, and Michael Jackson…well, he was still weird…weird, but alive.

I remember looking at the world around me, and realizing much had changed since I had graduated high school and college.  And yet, in many ways, nothing had changed at all…at least not in my life.

I was in grad school at the time, living on my own in my own apartment in the Dallas suburb of Denton, a small college town.

On the outside, I seemed to have it all—a beautifully furnished apartment, a brand new sports car, all the freedom, all the free time I could have ever wanted…but on the inside I felt lost, dazed, and confused regarding my career and my purpose in life. I also had this vacuum of emptiness. Emptiness that longed to be filled with a relationship, complete with romantic candlelight dinners and the promise of a happily ever after.

A constant question mark seemed to loom over my head. When was my life going to start? And by start, I mean, when was I going to finally meet someone?  And not just any someone…The Someone.

This was not how I had planned my life. I was 26. Back in the 1990s, that means you were supposed to be married, engaged, or dating someone.  And I was not alone. I had six close girlfriends. All single…all just as confused, frustrated…waiting. Waiting to find the One. Waiting to Get Married. And Determined Not to be Happy Until One or the Other Happened. I was beginning to live my life like a Lady in Waiting.

Flashforward to 2011, and I’m on the phone with one of those six girlfriends, all of whom, by the way, are married. Before either of us had kids, we talked almost every day on the phone. After her first child, our conversations decreased to a one or two a week. After my daughter was born, they decreased even more. After her second child was born, we have snippets of conversation whenever we can catch a break. But that doesn’t hold true just for our phone conversations, we realized…it seemed to hold true for everything. Time for baths, cleaning the house, and even cooking all suddenly seemed like luxuries rather than something we no longer had a right to.

What were we complaining about in our twenties, she asks me. I can hear the exhaustion and exasperation in her voice. I have no idea, I reply with a laugh as I recall the ability to watch a movie through its entirety. Heck, I even remember having time to go to the movies! We were so stupid not to realize how good we had it, she says. Tell me about it, I reply. Together we breathe in a deep sigh of regret. Why didn’t anyone warn us back then how life just got tougher and more stressful after marriage and kids?  Oh, they warned us, I reminded her. There were plenty of married women and married women with children, encouraging us to enjoy our lives. We were just idiots and didn’t listen. Hindsight is always 20/20.

How ironic…we were finally at the place we had always wanted to be…and what were we doing? Lamenting, missing what we once had…

What I wouldn’t do to be able to jump into a time machine, march up to the second floor of Pace’s Crossing Apartments, and slap my former self back to reality, Moonstruck-style, “Snap out of it!”

Hindsight is always 20/20. But I realize, it doesn’t have to be. As I’ve been on the phone, my 1½ old has been tugging on my leg incessantly. I finally glance down, and she raises her hands and  “eeeehhh—ooooohs” like a monkey, begging to be picked up. I guess the lesson is enjoy whatever stage you are in, I remind my friend. One day, we may be tugging on our kids’ legs, begging them to stay and spend some time with us. Just the other day, I was holding this toddler in my arms as an infant.

Enjoy your lives, ladies. Whatever stage you are in. For our lives are like as James 4:14 says, How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone.

And that especially goes for you single ladies, particularly to those of you who are living your life as “Ladies in Waiting.” I’m not trying to stop you from wanting, dreaming about a relationship. I just want you to make sure you don’t allow that desire, that dream to stop you from living your life in the meantime. Because I know how those feelings can gnaw on your insides, further hollowing out the emptiness in your gut. You think there’s only one remedy for that emptiness…only to find out years later, it was never really about a boy.