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fear

Safe (a Timeless Truths blog post)

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Fear is becoming more and more widespread as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. Everywhere you turn, it seems, someone or something is trying to influence you to fear. Safety has become our #1 concern. What can we do to protect ourselves? What can we do to be safe? The answers are varied … wearing masks, washing our hands, sanitizing frequently touched surfaces … the list could go on and on. In this day and age, it’s important to know how to be safe … not just physically, but mentally as well. Our minds can play tricks with us … fear of the unknown can cause our mental state to spiral out of control … and fear of other people’s opinions can be just as damaging. When we let others opinions of us dictate how we live our lives we are, in reality, giving in to fear … we are, in reality, allowing it to be a “snare” that ends up controlling us. Proverbs 29:25 (NIV) says, “ Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe.” This means if someone gives you a hard time for obeying what the Lord has put on your heart to do, you will need to exercise faith and humbly trust that the Lord knows what’s best for you, personally … even if it means you’re “different” than those around you. For example, say you’re in your living room watching a church service live stream on YouTube and the worship team is singing and you feel the urge to raise your hands in praise to the Lord … right there in your living room with your husband or wife who is not a Christian in the adjacent room where they can see you and you know they may not “approve” of your behavior … right at that moment, you have a choice to make … are you going to allow that other person (as much as you love them) to be a “snare” to you … are you going to allow the fear of their opinion control your actions? Or are you going to humbly trust that you will be “safe” as you trust the Lord that everything really will be okay as you go ahead and raise your hands in praise to Him … trusting that, perhaps, your unsaved spouse may just be watching you to see how serious you really are about your faith and about expressing your love and praise to God … no matter who is watching. Perhaps, as you take that step of faith, they may even choose to come into the room and see what all the fuss is about … and they may even get encouraged to begin their own relationship with the Lord that night as well … and all it may have taken was for you to not allow fear to win. I could give many more examples, but you get the idea. When you allow God to direct your path (rather than people’s opinions) you will always be kept safe spiritually. But what if I still feel afraid you may ask? Well, 1 John 4:18 (NIV) is your solution. It says, “ … perfect love drives out fear …” When you stay close to God, you stay close to His love … and His love will drive out any fear you may feel as you trust in Him and keep your eyes on Him rather than on other people’s (real or imagined) opinions of you. Psalm 25:3 (NIV) gives even further encouragement as it declares, “No one who hopes in You will ever be put to shame.” So, today, don’t allow fear of man to be a snare, instead, trust in the Lord and you will be kept safe.

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Behind-the-Scenes

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The Making of My Journey With God

Everything we go through in life involves a process. For me, just to begin the process of writing my first book took a while as there were many things I needed to work through before I could actually jot down the first word.

I had to be spiritually mature enough to really and truly know (by experience) the truth of what I was saying – that way, I could write out of heart knowledge (not merely head knowledge) since I’d actually experienced what I wrote about first-hand.

In addition, once I was finally ready to write, I had to learn and apply the lessons God taught me about freedom, boundaries, responsibility, and thinking correctly.

In His mercy, when I was at the beginning stages of writing my very first book (My Journey With God) God gave me a revelation. I hadn’t known how God wanted me to do it – how He wanted me to put it together (like all the details about whether to put it in poems or some other format).

Then, I thought of my writing (of building a book) comparable to building a cake. I thought of the round yellow cake plate I had that I’d put a round cake on and the cover that went over it. I thought that the boundaries I had to work within were the parameters – whatever cake I made had to be the size that would fit within the round yellow cake plate (so it would have to be round and fit in there). Then, the height of the cake could only be so tall as it would have to fit under the cover that went with the cake plate (that was another parameter/boundary that I’d have to stay within). But, after that I had freedom.

I had freedom to choose what flavor cake I could make. The only parameter there was that it had to be sweet (not bitter). But it was my choice of flavor and I could choose the frosting and the decorations of how I wanted the outside of the cake to look (assuming I should make it look good also so it would be appealing to whoever was going to eat it).

So, I had the freedom to be myself and express myself (and even be unique as I created and built the cake and how it all looked and all came together – basically for others to enjoy – and all using my freedom responsibly – staying within certain parameters and certain guidelines.)

As I came to realize, it was like God showed me how my building a book was like the example of building a cake. I had to stay within certain parameters and guidelines as I built the book. I had to physically have the book fit within the borders guidelines of the printing company I was using (for margins, page size, book size, page count, submission requirements, etc.) however, within those borders I could be free to create and free to choose and free to be myself in whatever I created – all within the borders and parameters that God had given to me, personally.

For example, the inside of the book (like the inside of the cake) must be sweet (not bitter) – it must say words that honored God. So, in my freedom to choose the content of what I wrote (the words), my parameter/boundaries were that the words must honor God – but it was like God let me know He trusted me to do so.

I felt so humbled and even cried at the thought that He actually trusted me to make the actual decisions about what to put in the book (for words especially). It’s like He gave me the sense that He was letting me choose – like I could choose the flavor … and there was no wrong flavor.

I realized that I didn’t need to ask Him every two seconds if I should write this or that – or if I should make it as poetry or whatever – I didn’t have to ask Him all the details and didn’t have to have it all figured out ahead of time – it was sort of like all I needed to do was just start writing and trust that the Holy Spirit would continue to lead me and guide me in the decisions that I made (by me having a sense that it was “right”). So, really, it was going to have to be by faith – something not tangible – believing in something I couldn’t see, feel, taste, or touch – believing in that – above believing in the fear that I was doing something “wrong”.

So, I needed to think of building my book like building a cake. I sort of needed to pretend I was a humble child creating the book for my Abba Father – to honor Him, to show Him to be sweet to the world (not bitter) – to sort of be His ambassador to make the cake/book appeal to whomever God (by His Holy Spirit) wanted to draw towards Himself to “eat of it”. And I had to do all of that in a way that expressed myself in who God had created me, personally, to be – so I could spread His light through the cracks and flaws of my “under-construction” life – as the world needed the exact amount and type of light that I, personally, reflected as I allowed myself the freedom to be “me” – the unique person God Himself had created me to be – for His glory.

So, as I continued to go through the process of learning these lessons, I courageously chose to share the stories you will find as you read My Journey With God – a memoir of my life that highlights the various ways God has shown His love to me, personally, in my relationship with Him.

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