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Fear Riding on my Shoulders

Fear Riding on my Shoulders

 

This last week as I started to venture down new paths, fear started banging at my back door.

When I examined my heart, I found doubt. I doubted the power of God in my life. Not His power, but in my life in this area. After all He has done . . . after all His confirmations, encouragement and help, I doubted. After all He has done in other areas of my life, which has been truly tremendous, I doubted. Memories of past failures crept into my life. Times where I started something but it never quite made it. Times where I was like a ship prepared to sail but never caught the wind. What if that happened again?

This morning during my quiet time I poured out my heart to God. I laid out my fear before Him and in the stillness and quietness, He spoke to me:

This is not your work it is mine. And I will complete it to the end. Your failures before weren’t failures but were what you needed to go through to come to me. You were always mine, but you didn’t know it. You needed to walk a path that unsatisfied you and left you empty to prompt you to seek me. Don’t fear. I’m with you. Forget the past, push forward with me knowing you don’t walk alone anymore. I’m with you until the end. Don’t give room to this fear. Fill that space with my promises; 2 Corinthians 9:8, Ezra 8:22, Psalm 46:1. Just be who you are and let me do the rest. I will work in and through your life according to my purposes. Walk by my still waters and green pastures and be at rest. You are in a different place now – in my kingdom. Life isn’t like it was before when you walked without me and without my power. Trust me. Walk with me. I will show you my power in this.

With His words filling my ears, I realized my fear wasn’t real. It came from a dead past. When emotions like this arise that aren’t based on truth, it is our enemy warring against us. Whether, it is an external enemy or an internal one, seeking God’s face and truth is the answer. Fear is a successful tactic to keep us from moving forward. Whatever God is calling you to – embrace it as His will that will be done. Fill the spaces of fear with His promises. Don’t let fear keep you from experiencing His power in your life because you listened and followed fear instead of Him.


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Discouragement Reframed

Discouragement Reframed

Mad

Mad

Sad

Sad

Scared

Scared

There is a psychological paradigm that classifies our emotions into four main categories: sad, mad, glad, and scared.

Discouragement falls somewhere among mad, sad and scared.

Mad because life isn’t going as we want, sad because life is failing us, and scared because we feel out of control.

Discouragement seems less like a carnal reaction than say envy, but giving into bouts of frustration puts a wall in the midst of our oneness with God.

Discouragement is unmet expectations. In the mindset of the flesh, we are in control and when things don’t go our way we get frustrated. We expected to be a better person or to act a different way. We expected someone else to respond differently. We expected a situation to turn out one way and it did another. As a result, out of our mouth spew complaints, the fruit of discouragement. Complaining results from our decision that the person, situation, or ourselves should be different at this moment in time. Says who? Us? Are we in charge or God?

This emotion is a hard one to face. We don’t like it when someone tells us we shouldn’t be discouraged. We feel it is justified and unavoidable because of our situations. That life has treated us unfairly so we deserve to be at least a little discouraged. We all go through trying situations, but it is how we respond to those situations that makes the difference between living a life unto God and unto ourselves.

It’s about perspective. A bout of discouragement is the response of our flesh (our carnal self) to a situation that throws us for a loop. Conversely, our spirits (new life born of God) see the same situation as an opportunity to depend upon God, to witness His power, and to learn to live in His strength not ours. The latter perspective infuses truth, power, and hope into what is happening.

The ability to approach a situation with a spirit mindset is based on a deep understanding of who God is and who we are in Him. So, the purpose of tough situations is to deepen our understanding and trust in God. If we respond in faith, He uses them for good to create intimacy and oneness because they increase our trust in Him. When we feel the onset of discouragement, we need to dig deep into God’s truth, our faith, because we are presented with an opportunity to enter into a deeper level of spiritual maturity.

These situations are not only to enhance our faith in Him but our faith is the way out of discouragement. By believing and clinging to our new life, we abandon the flesh mindset leaving it powerless.

Ephesians 4:22 that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts,

Ephesians 4:24 and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.

Paul’s phrasing of putting on is an action we do. It suggests we have a choice to make. It is a decision we make at a given moment. But what gives us the ability to make that decision is a lifestyle of being in the Word that increases our knowledge that increases our trust, and creates expereineces to solidify that trust. Then when the moment arises we’ll be able to respond as spirit beings lacking nothing and not mere men.

We will get discouraged. We are growing in the spirit and we aren’t perfect yet, but we are to push forward, renew our minds, and implement the little faith we have to grab a hold of the truth of who He is and who we are in Him. As we do those situations that once caused discouragement will start to manifest praise.