Fear is a Poor Bedfellow

fear

Fear will kill dreams, destroy relationships, paralyze, cause illness, put you in the poor house,  bring depression and even cause physical death.

Fear is hellish!

Fear comes from Satan. Throughout your life he planted those little seeds of death. He manipulated people to hurt, offend, or misunderstand you. He magnified every failure. He whispers accusations in your ear. He is so good at what he does he is able to have you believe those lies are truth. In fact, you may not even recognize it is coming from him, because ya know… he can sometimes disguise himself as an angel of light.

I spent the first half of my life living in fear and running. I fell for the lie that I was never going to be good enough and that I was stupid. Why? Because he manipulated people who were closest to me to speak those lies; starting at childhood. Not only did Satan use others to speak lies to me, he caused me to believe it enough to speak the lies to myself.

I couldn’t finish anything! I failed at relationships because I was too afraid of being rejected. I didn’t even know who I was because I was too busy being someone else to be accepted. Always the actress and in self-protective mode. Can I just tell you how exhausting that was?

Fear! A hellacious bedfellow. Fear will crawl up with you at night; and as you lay awake, unable to sleep, fearing the nightmares that come with the closing of your eyes, you rehearse every stinkin’ offense, every judgement, every hateful word, and you begin to drown.

scared

Listen to a lie long enough and you will start to believe it.

Did you know the Bible tells us to Fear Not! 365 times? Yes! That is a fear not for every day of the year.

Now, we know the devil is a liar and the father of lies. And most of us have heard the verse from 1 Peter 5: That enemy of yours, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion [fiercely hungry], seeking someone to devour. But can we pause for a moment and look at the whole text?

Here, read this out loud…

Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God [set aside self-righteous pride], so that He may exalt you [to a place of honor in His service] at the appropriate time, casting all your cares [all your anxieties, all your worries, and all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares about you [with deepest affection, and watches over you very carefully].  Be sober [well balanced and self-disciplined], be alert and cautious at all times. That enemy of yours, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion [fiercely hungry], seeking someone to devour. But resist him, be firm in your faith [against his attack—rooted, established, immovable], knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being experienced by your brothers and sisters throughout the world. [You do not suffer alone.]  After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace [who imparts His blessing and favor], who called you to His own eternal glory in Christ, will Himself complete, confirm, strengthen, and establish you [making you what you ought to be]. 1 Peter 5:6-10 

You can be free from fear 100% when you know and know and know the One who loves you!

There is no fear in love [dread does not exist]. But perfect (complete, full-grown) love drives out fear, because fear involves [the expectation of divine] punishment, so the one who is afraid [of God’s judgment] is not perfected in love [has not grown into a sufficient understanding of God’s love]. 1 John 4:18

Jesus told us to resist the devil. He said stay close to Him and resist the devil. Resisting the devil is not ignoring him. Resistance is an active stance, it is firmly planting your feet and pushing back.

How do we push back?

We push back with the Word!

We follow the example our Lord set for us when the accuser tries to tempt us. Jesus answered, “It is written…!”

For you to know it is written, you must know what is written, and this takes discipline. You must be in fellowship with Him. You must be in the Word. If you find that you struggle with this, your mind wanders around, and a thousand and one distractions happen; then my friend, you must discipline yourself. EVERY DAY! Read your Bible, do not wait for your feelings or for the energy or for whatever excuse you may use. Even if it is only a couple verses a day, read it and meditate on it. Even if you do not understand what you are reading, still read it and meditate on it. Ask Holy Spirit to lead you and to give you revelation. Return to your first love with Him and believe Him when He says when the time comes He will bring to your remembrance His Words. But, He can’t remind you if you do not have it in you.

After spending the first half of my life living in fear I have purposed I will not finish my life living in fear. I choose to believe what Abba Father has to say about me. I choose to believe His word is true when He says, “Greater is He who is in me than he who is in the world!

My friend, choose today to not let fear have you. You have been created for so much more. He has a plan and a purpose for you, from the foundation of the earth He already knew you. Go! and pursue Him and finish the race strong, fulfill your calling, and God, our Father, will be and is with you. He is for you!

Fear not! Be strong and courageous! Believe!

Be Free & Stay Free

 

Advertisements

Clouded By Insecurity

mind-prison
Prisoner of the mind

 

Faith is the substance of things hoped for, but not yet seen. Insecurity is the substance of things dreaded/feared, seen or not.

Our minds are always on. We have constant thoughts. Sometime the thoughts flash without too much consideration. Sometimes a thought grabs us and we linger. When we catch ourselves lingering on a thought (or an imagination), the attention we give to it causes a reaction. If the thought is positive, then the reaction is positive. The same is true for negative, fearful thoughts; if we dwell there, then the effect is negative.

If we give voice to our thoughts, then our thoughts become action and will produce fruit. Scripture says there is power of life or death in our tongues. If we meditate long enough on a thought (germinate the seed), it will eventually come out of our mouth and the fruit of the seed will grow.

Fear is the breeding ground of insecurity. I do not believe we were created with a fear gene; rather it was learned through negative experience. Since we know we were created in the image of God, and God is not fear and confusion, then we can be certain that fear is not from God. Therefore, since fear is not from God, we do not have to accept it.

Insecurity has been the demise of many relationships, opportunities, and dreams. Insecurity has silent partners called “what if” and “yea, but.” What if and yea, but has a relative named “remember when.”  They are counterfeit imitators and reside in the mind of reasoning; they are enemies of faith and they set up camp in depression and discontentment.

Our minds are conditioned by experience; starting from childhood.

The brain contains billions of nerve cells arranged in patterns that coordinate thought, emotion, behavior, movement and sensation. A complicated highway system of nerves connects your brain to the rest of your body, so communication can occur in split seconds. (CLICK HERE)  Truly a fascinating creation!  I am not a scientist, so I wont even attempt to explain the intricacies of the human mind, but I do know our brains are able to store information we have learned, through experience; intentional and unintentional. It is like a Rolodex, when faced with situations our mind quickly goes through the old files and says, “Aha! I have been here before!” and then it triggers the response based on previous experience. To the unregenerate mind, this can lead to a road filled with debris of broken relationships, dead dreams, and wounded souls.

Here is an example of what I am talking about:

I grew up with an angry father. In my home it was like constantly walking on egg shells, because we never knew when his  temper would spark.

walking-on-eggshells

This experience has caused me to have fear of confrontations. To avoid confrontations I would operate under the fight or flight mode; usually it was flight. If I was around anyone having an argument, or heated discussion, I would exit quickly, because it made me feel very uncomfortable and fearful. Or if I sensed someone was not in a “good” mood and they were silent, I would become tense and begin to mentally look for a place to take cover when there was an explosion.

nuclear-explosion

And because I not only grew up in a home with an angry parent, I was also rejected by my father. As you can imagine, as a child I was torn and confused between the two fears; I was afraid of doing or saying something that would cause his wrath and at the same time, I so wanted to please him and to be accepted by him, incurring a double whammy, his wrath of anger and his rejection.

Fast forward into my adult years…

Even as an adult, I still had to contend with that fearful child inside of me. I was like a turtle, I would walk and talk confidently, but as soon as I sensed “trouble,” I would retreat into my shell. The end result would cause even more fear and insecurity. Grief! What a vicious cycle, huh? How many failed relationships and lost opportunities must we have before we understand the past does not dictate our future?

Just like Pavlov’s dogs, we have triggers.  The triggers may not be bells, it could be a word, a look, a place; or anything that brings into remembrance the thing that caused us pain. Sometimes the triggers can go unnoticed, we may just find ourselves feeling or acting a certain way and not understand why. Have you ever done or said something and then later think, “Wow! Where did that come from?”

Let’s use marriage and remarriage as an example. I read the rate of divorce in a second marriage is higher than a first marriage. Again, I am no expert, but I submit the reason for this is because people enter into other relationships before being healed from the soul wounds. What we do not see, is while we are packing the boxes and suitcase to move on, we are also carrying with us the disappointment, anger, and rejection. Then when we meet someone else, fall in love, get married, and set up a new home, we are unpacking the luggage we brought with us from the past. Inevitably there will be a trigger, our fear of the past happening again causes insecurity, and we act on the fear.

Our minds begin to fixate on the what ifs and the yea, buts. You know, the “what if I made a mistake and he/she isn’t the one?” Or “what if he/she does the same thing my ex did?” Or “Yea, I know this is what they said, but they really meant this.” The past plays over and over again in our minds like a broken record and we get stuck there. Meanwhile, the present looks at you, scratches its head and moves on without you.

There is only one way to get off the treadmill of insecurity and that is, faith. But, to truly have faith you must be perfected in love. What do I mean? Glad you asked.

1 John 4:18 says, There is no fear in love [dread does not exist]. But perfect (complete, full-grown) love drives out fear, because fear involves [the expectation of divine] punishment, so the one who is afraid [of God’s judgment] is not perfected in love [has not grown into a sufficient understanding of God’s love].

There is freedom in Gods love. Knowing His love, goes further than just quoting scripture. A person can know the Bible word for word, can even be a Christian, and still be bound to fear and insecurity. Only intimately knowing God the Father, through Jesus the Son, can we walk by faith and security, knowing our destiny does not rely on other people or things. Only through an intimate relationship with Him can we believe that no matter what, this will work for my good. When we know His love (experientially), then we do not have to be fearful and insecure.

The more intimately we know Him, the more we are conformed into His image and our hearts and minds are regenerated, made new. Then we do not make decisions based on the “what ifs” and “yea, buts.” We are able to discern the will of the Father and act on it. We are not moved by what our eyes see, we are moved by faith, knowing it is the substance of all things hoped for, yet not seen. The more we are like Him, our thoughts line up with His thoughts, and our hopes are in sync with His promise.

christlike

The more we trust in His love and care, the more we are able to extend it to others. When we grasp His mercy in forgiveness and His grace , then we are able to extend that same mercy in forgiveness and grace to others. And this, my friend, is where true freedom is found.

Forgiveness is not denial that something happened. It is not excusing someones actions that has caused you hurt. Forgiveness releases the person to God and frees you from the ties of the past. It frees your mind from the lies that try to hold you captive to the prison of defeat, fear, and insecurity. Forgiveness releases you to walk in your purpose, your destiny, and lets you experience real healthy relationships.

So, you see, there is no need to be insecure. God has you and He loves you. He is here, and His heart is that you believe Him and receive His love to the fullest measure. He has been here all along.

Be Free & Stay Free

 

Little Girl Hidden

girl hiddin 2

“Be very quiet and still.” She said, covering me up. “Stay hidden until I tell you it is safe to come out.”

“But I don’t want to hide. I want to play like the other kids.” I pouted.

“It’s not safe!” She scolded. Then softening her tone, “I promise I will come back for you.”

It was scary under the covers. I felt alone and afraid she would forget to come for me. I reached down and rubbed my bruises, it still smarted to the touch. I tightened my lips to keep from making a sound and cried silently while my tears cascaded down my face.

There, under the covers of my hiding place, I clinched my fist and vowed to never cry again. I swore to myself I would be brave and strong. He would never see me flinch again!

Through the covers I could hear the yelling, the insults and threats. I heard my name being called, only it wasn’t my given name, it was the name associated with “unwanted, unloved, regret, ugly, shame, inconvenience, trouble maker.” I felt the vibration of every punch, slap, kick and pinch.

Sometimes, when it was just us, she would lift the covers and let me come out. We would run and play together. We would sit under the big tree and play our secret game of “one day.”

One day we will be free.

One day he won’t be able to reach us.

One day we will be grown up and move somewhere far away.

One day we may even find someone to love us.

Then we would giggle as we imagined our life as a rock star singing on stage and all of our fans would love us. Or how about when we become a lawyer and we defend all the abused children and put the bad people in prison on an island somewhere. Or maybe we will live by the sea and write thousands of books and people would actually read them. We soared with our imagination.

Somehow, I think our imagination kept hope alive in us. It offered a window to a world beyond the hell we were living in.

“There has got to be more than this.” She said, kissing me on the forehead as she pulled the covers back over me. She was so much stronger than me. She kept me safe. She kept me hidden like a precious treasure.

But, something began to change. She didn’t visit me as often and when she did, she was… well, she was different. She didn’t laugh as much as she used to. Her eyes looked distant, even when she looked right at me. It was if she struggled to recognize me.

“Where have you been?” I asked her during one of her visits. “I was afraid you forgot me.”

“Stop that stupid talk!” She snapped. “I told you it wasn’t safe out here.”

After she wouldn’t answer me when I asked her how much longer until it was safe for me to come out, I asked her to play with me.

“Play is for stupid babies!” Her words stung. “Play is for people who are too stupid to realize there is nothing else!”

Sensing she had hurt me, she reached out and pulled me into her hug and wept into my hair. I wanted to comfort her, but I didn’t know how. All I could do was melt into her embrace, knowing this time it was me protecting her.

“I will never leave you.” I whispered through her sobs. “It’s not fair, but I promise, one day you will come for me and I will still be here waiting for you and our dreams of one day will become real.”

Her visits began to be less and less. Sometimes she would visit me for a short while and sometimes she would just lift the cover to be sure I was still there.

I am still here, hidden, quiet and waiting.

Presence of affliction does not mean the absence of favor

TD Jakes posed the question, can God trust you with the trouble?

Mary, blessed and highly favored, pregnant out of wedlock, the wedding she envisioned… gone, rode on the back of a donkey (in labor), to give birth to a child in a barn, to flee with her husband because there were those who sought to kill her child,  to endure the mocking of the judgmental people because her child was not her husbands, to endure all of this… to watch her son be crucified… and she was favored?

If you were to endure this… would you still believe you are blessed and highly favored?

Thanks be to God, His ways are higher than our ways. Praise Him He is not hindered by our narrow mindedness.

You can have favor, but that does not mean you wont have fear.

You can have favor, but that does not mean you will not face tribulations and frustrations.

You can have visitation from an angel and still ride on a donkey. That which you have received can be of God and you may still be surrounded by the demonic. Your job is to survive it all.  -TD Jakes

Thank You, Jesus. It is not our holiness, it is Yours. Help us to be consistent even when we are confused. Help us to trust you even when all hell is coming against us. Birth in us that which you have planted in us. Strengthen us to be guardians to the vision you have given us. There may be a bounty on the head of our calling, but You alone, O’ Lord, are faithful and true. Let Your will be done and may You find us trustworthy to rest in You even when we are running and fighting. Thank You, Lord, when You trust us with Your purpose, You are trusting us with the trouble. Help us to remain steadfast.