For the last few years, I have chosen a word that I want to define my new year. There are books and websites that describe the process of choosing your word, but in the interest of time, I just pray and ask God what my word will be. Last year it was “Belief,” and looking back I sure was challenged and I grew in the area of belief. This year my word is “COURAGE.”
Courage. Most people think that the word “courage” means the absence of fear. But that is an incorrect assumption. Courage means “the ability to do something that frightens you.” I was struck by the phrase “the ability” – to be able to do something that frightens you.
I carry myself as a strong and confident person. Whether it is my smile or my posture, I don’t know, but most people don’t see the loud-mouthed doubt and insecurity that makes up Lisa Morgan Moore. I must cover it well. On the inside, I’m a wimp. I run from conflict. I hate growth and change. And a disagreement with my mother sends me to my bed, my bunny, and my electric blanket.
Girls, I need courage. Do you? Do you have areas in your life that just cause you to crumble up like a used paper towel? Are there times when being an adult is just too much hard work? Yeah, me too.
Many Christians believe that believers in Jesus should have no fear. Verses like “God has not given us a spirit of fear” and “perfect love cast out all fear” set the standard of fearlessness. I agree that fearlessness is the end goal – to be like Jesus and to be enveloped in the perfect love of God with complete trust.
While “fearlessness” is the standard and the ideal, I believe that fearlessness is not what is experienced by the majority of Christians. Most of us are “in process.” We are not yet completely free from our past, our imperfections, and our “stuff.” When we are perfected in God’s love, we will not fear, but many of us are growing in our maturity and are not there yet. We are in the process of getting rid of our fear, learning to trust, and receiving the perfect love of God.
I think even King David in the Old Testament was in this process, for he said in Psalm 56:3, “When I am afraid, I will put my trust in You.” This man was afraid, too.
I am in this process of maturing. Right now, I don’t meet the standard or ideal of being a Christian that fully trusts God and has zero fear or worry. I’ve known Jesus for 25 years, and I’m no longer afraid of nuclear war, but I still have a lot of fear. Here’s a short list:
I’m afraid of being mean to someone and making them not like me.
I’m afraid to fly.
I’m afraid of having a schedule that is overly full of extroverted activities.
I’m afraid that my children will be hurt and rejected by others.
I’m afraid of being vulnerable in these blog posts.
I’m afraid that I don’t have what it takes to to lead a ladies ministry.
I’m afraid of confrontation. Period.
So there. It’s out in the open. I have fears – but I also have courage. And this year, my goal is to grow in my courage. I am going to grow in my ability to do the things that frighten me. I’m going to write. I’m going to lead. I’m going to be honest with people that hurt me. I’m going to disappoint people. I’m going to say, “No.” I’m going to serve God to my fullest. Even when it scares me. I’m not going to let fear prevent me from doing what God has called to do. I’ve even applied for my passport!
What about you? What is one area of your life where you have a lot of fear that keeps you from doing something? Speak courage into that area. Ask God to give you the ability to do what frightens you. Ask Him for the supernatural power to do what scares the crap out of you. Ask Him for the fortitude and the strength to do what seems impossible right now.
I believe that as we grow in our ability to do what scares us, the power that fear holds over our life will lesson over time. We will escape it. We will overcome it. Perfect love will triumph over it. And we will become more like our standard, our ideal, Jesus. Fearless. And then, we will no longer near courage, because we will no longer be influenced by fear.
What about you? What are some areas where you struggle with fear? Leave me a comment below.