by Christi Estes
We all have it, right? In some form or another every one of us has fear. Fear of heights, fear of public speaking, fear of failure... the list could go on and on.... Fear can be a healthy thing when we use it the right way, but if we let it control us we are not living the life that God intends for us.
Hebrews, Chapter 13 verses 5 & 6 say:
For He Himself has said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you." So we may boldly say: "The LORD is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?"
Sounds good in theory, right? But putting it into action is another thing altogether...
For as long as I can remember, fear has been a part of my life. In my teenage years I suffered from a bout of depression based on my fear of leaving home. I had to come back from college for a year to beat that one. Then a year into my marriage I had another round with fear. This time it was physically debilitating. Anxiety consumed me and I was unable face normal everyday activities for weeks. Thankfully, a loving family and husband helped me through that time. And after several years of cognitive therapy I really thought I had it all figured out. Feed the fear and it will starve you, starve the fear and you will live. But, in truth, I still lived in fear. I handled it much more gracefully. I didn't have panic attacks anymore and nobody else would have ever suspected it, but I still had fear.
These fears that I had would not sound irrational to most people. Fear of disappointing others, fear of not doing everything perfectly, fear that I wasn't who people thought I was, fear for my children, just plain old fear. They were ordinary, everyday kinds of fears, but they kept me from living the life God desired for me. And even though I functioned quite normally, fear was robbing me of my dreams and of the joy in which God meant for me to live.
Thankfully, about four years ago, God began to calm my fears. At a Christian retreat I learned about God's all-consuming love for me. I know, I know, I'd heard it a million times. But I had never fully experienced it or connected my head knowledge with my heart. And finally I did! It was at this time that I allowed God to start helping me work through my fears and I began living my life with intention.
I can't say that I'm always successful at it, but I try my best to make choices every day that are not based on avoiding the things that scare me or make me uncomfortable. After all, God uses those things to help us grow! Instead, I try to base my decisions on the most important things that God lays on my heart. And that's where my journey of sharing God’s love for and through children who face life challenges comes in to play.
Five years ago, I would never have had the courage to share my journey with others. And boy would I have missed a lot of wonderful blessings! From the people I'm meeting, to their stories of hope with their wonderful children, fear would have prevented it all! I also recognize that my experiences with children and families who face life challenges have increased my courage. To see how they bravely face their circumstances and to see how God is faithful to their needs is an inspiration to me. This strengthens my faith in Him and with strengthening of faith, comes lessening of fear.
Maybe God is calling you on a journey of your own. Will you answer His call? Don't let fear keep you from following Him. Remember, when you are walking with God in obedience fear goes out the window and courage and faith take its place.
I promise that you will surely be blessed. But more importantly, you will also be a blessing!
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. - Philippians 4:13
This guest post submitted by Christi Estes. Christi can be found sharing her reflections on God’s blessings for and through children who face life challenges at www.journeyofunexpectedgifts.blogspot.com.