I’m sitting here in the early morning hours of 2018 examining the world around me. Reviewing the old, planning for the new, and in the quiet hours of this first day of 2018 gaining perspective and cherishing time.
It reminds me of a time, a few weeks ago, when my husband and I bundled up after the kids went to bed, stood in yard and watched a meteor shower. It was late, dark and except for the cold, it was perfect. We stood in almost complete silence and gazed into a huge sky that makes you feel tiny and comforted at the same time. A new perspective and a few short minutes of time that was ours. Just ours.
That seems to be what I long for these days when I consider the past year and the first day of the New Year – perspective and time. I’m torn between what is and what could be. Because over the past year, I’ve grown increasingly uncomfortable with my comfort zone. Conditions of the world and my heart have changed my perspective and I’m more and more aware of the limitations of time. I’m no longer okay with sideline activity and I have to get in the game, so to speak. Over the past few months, in particular, I feel a calling, of sorts, propelling me forward into unfamiliar territory. And, for a girl who loves structure and consistency, this “lamp unto my feet” – “not seeing the whole plan” thing is scary.
Fear…once again it rears it’s ugly head. Fear of the unknown. Fear of the future. Fear of failure. Fear of all the things that are really out of my control whether I stay in or out of my comfort zone. But, as a girl who loves math and science simply because A + B always = C, I’ve always attempted to build my life with certainty. And, although I’m completely aware that life doesn’t work this way, the illusion of control has always made me feel better. But, here I am, once again stuck between what is and what could be. There’s a dream, a calling, a deep place in my heart that’s surrounded by the unknown. A dream that seems big, amazing, overwhelming and impossible all at the same time. And, to be honest the more this dream unfolds the more I’m full of excuses, apprehension and fear. The “what-if’s” cloud my mind, keep me in my zone, and paralyze my progress. Now, I know I’ve talked about fear before in prior posts, but in the spirit of the new year, I think it’s worth revisiting.
I was recently listening to a Oprah’s SuperSoul Conversations podcast (which I highly recommend, so here’s the link Oprah’s SuperSoul Conversations) and heard this quote that kinda rocked my world.
“Fear is the cheapest room in the house. I would like to see you in better living conditions”. Hafiz
Fear is cheap. Fear is a lier. And Romans 8:15 equates fear with slavery. Now don’t get me wrong fear is a natural emotion, but living in fear is a whole different scenario. And, in my experience when we stay inside our zone because of fear we end up in places we don’t belong. We hide, we control, we judge. We become miserable and stagnant. And quite possibly the worst outcome is we rob the world, and ourselves, of the person we were meant to be.
One of the things I’ve always found so remarkable in the Bible is what appears to be the lack of fear in many stories. You know the whole, “God says go and off they went”. That’s how its presented sometimes isn’t it? I’ve sat in church my whole life thinking of these characters as superheroes because God said “go” and they “went”. But, when you really read about them, they’re just like us. There’s doubt, questioning, and certainly fear. The difference, however, is the refusal to let fear dictate the future. And, in those moments, while reading the scriptures, I’ve noticed that God said “go” and over and over and over they “went”….afraid. Not alone, but afraid.
One of my absolute favorite stories is that of Esther. I’ll give you the brief version, but you should really read it yourself. Esther, a Jew, becomes Queen of Persia through an unfortunate series of events. The prior Queen Vashti was banished because she did not obey the King. And, after becoming Queen, Esther’s cousin, Mordecai uncovers a plot by one of the King’s nobles to destroy the Jews living in Persia. So here is Esther, a Jew, which by the way was a secret, caught between what is and what could be. You see, she has the opportunity at least to attempt to save her people, but there are so many unknowns. So many doubts, so many “what-if’s”, so many fears. No one except Mordecai knows she’s a Jew and no one, not even the Queen, can enter the Kings court without being summoned – the price could be death. And, when Mordecai begs her to plead with the King, she sends a message with a list of fears and excuses. But, his response to her fear is amazing…
“For if you remain silent at this time, deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to this royal position for such a time as this” (Esther 4:14)
Mordecai is saying, Esther, God will surely send deliverance for the Jews no matter your decision.
But, Esther, you’re about to miss your calling.
You’re living in fear.
You’re believing the cheap lies of excuses and control.
You’ve forgotten who put you here and called your name.
You were created for this….Esther, do it afraid.
And, so she did.
She and Mordecai fasted and prayed and Chapter 5 says that she walked into the kings court and was accepted by the king. And, if you keep reading she saved her people. There’s no mention of Esther’s fear being taken completely away. She was never guaranteed success. But, she trusted in the One who brought her to this place and she walked into the King’s court…afraid. No alone, but likely afraid.
So on this first day of 2018, what dreams or callings have you put on hold? What excuses are you making because there are too many “what-if’s”. Are you, like me, torn between what is and what could be? Are you uncomfortable in your comfort zone? I’m gonna leave you with a passage from Isaiah 43. It’s my favorite because it speaks to how I believe God wants us to react to fear…
“But now, this is what the Lord says…”Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned (called) you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you…For I am the Lord, your God…your Savior”
Let us understand this truth that God calls us by name and places dreams within our hearts. Dreams that sometimes seem big, amazing, overwhelming and impossible.
Let us replace the cheap lies of excuses, control and fear with the certainty that we are not alone.
Let us consider that maybe we were created for such a time and such a dream as this.
You have been chosen.
He’s called you by name.
Fear will come.
Do it anyway.