“Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear.”
These are the words of the great prophet...Mark Twain.
I am a natural-born chicken. Most people have no idea the fears I have about many things. For some reason I have very little self-confidence--but that is ok…even good, in fact, because I am learning to have God-confidence.
Each time I write a posting, for example, it takes me forever to do it, as I am always fearful it will not be good enough,
but I offer up my little loaves and fishes--with humility to God, knowing He will take and multiply my efforts, and so I just do it anyway.
Each time I do public speaking, I have a slight panic attack, and have to pray to be filled with the Holy Spirit and shielded by the Blessed Virgin Mary…
Then I take a deep breath, offer all I am to God, and ask Him to speak through me, and I just do it anyway.
Each time I step out in faith--go out on a limb for what I feel God is calling me to do-- perhaps to begin a new apostolic endeavor or offer to pray for a total stranger or even more frightening, to pray for a friend--I don’t do it because I am so BOLD. I do it with fear and trembling and in weakness, knowing that God will be strong in my frailty.
So I say, “Ok God...I’m scared but I’m stepping out in Your strength. Catch me!” ...and I just do it anyway.
Today, as I write this, it is the fifth anniversary of my entering into the fullness of the Catholic Faith: the day I was confirmed a Catholic. To celebrate, I went to St. Matthew’s Cathedral and up to the little chapel of the Holy Angels where the Mass was held, and I just sat there soaking it all in. I looked at the beautiful altar and tried to remember that day.
All I can remember is how sick to my stomach I was because of the absolute fear that gripped me. I truly remember so little of the actual service except that I hoped I did not sweat through my suit or throw up on the priest. I knew that I was to become a Catholic. It had been made very clear to me. But my fear hadn’t been banished and it held me back...what a waste! All of those hours, days, weeks, months of anxiety and angst! It had been truly torturous to my mind, body and soul.
I had gone to the Adoration chapel at my Church earlier that morning. Had I not felt the true presence of God and the reassurance of the Blessed Mother, I do not think I could have even made it to the Cathedral. Once the service was over...absolute peace! What joy! What wholeness I felt.
Jesus is ALWAYS on the other end of our obedience! So, in spite of our fears, we have to grab Jesus with one hand and Mary by the other and step out and just do it anyway.
These scriptures help to bolster my shaky knees when I am weak:
“I have the strength for everything through him who empowers me” Philippians 4:13
“...when I am afraid, in You I place my trust.” Psalm 56:3
“Be strong and steadfast; have no fear or dread of them, for it is the LORD, your God, who marches with you; he will never fail you or forsake you. “ Deuteronomy 31:6
“I command you: be strong and steadfast! Do not fear nor be dismayed, for the LORD, your God, is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9
“I sought the LORD, and he answered me, delivered me from all my fears.” Psalm 34:5
And when even this does not seem to penetrate the fear that has a great grip on me, I remind myself that FAITH is the opposite of FEAR and I pray, “Help me! I am weak but you are strong. I place my trust in You! I am doing this for You, by You, and in You…”
and I just do it anyway!
God will never leave us or forsake us. The enemy of your soul can only deal in fear, and he is a master of it! My friend defined fear as this…
F(alse) E(vidence) A(ppearing) R(eal)
And honestly, what is the worst thing that can happen…? God can take even that and use it for good. (Romans 8:28) My friend Linda says, “The Holy Spirit just blows right past the bad stuff and makes what God intends to happen...to happen.”
It is never going to be perfect!
So... poke the enemy in the eye-- do it all for God--and just do it anyway!
“...but He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.’ I will rather boast most gladly of my weaknesses, in order that the power of Christ may dwell with me…” 2 Corinthians 12:9
I ask that You would deliver me from all of my fears. I know that You are bigger than all that I face. But, if still I am fearful (though I know that the only thing Your Word tells me to fear is YOU- Matthew 10:28) I pray that by Your grace, You will give me the strength to just do it anyway, inspite of myself, so that You may be greatly glorified in and through my life. I do not attempt to do these things in my own strength-- I who am so little and so small-- but in YOUR Power and by YOUR strength and through YOUR Spirit. Jesus, I trust in You.
I ask this in the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.