At the beginning of the year I felt like God was telling me very clearly that my word for the year was Boldness. It took me by surprise. I mean the idea of me being bold is almost laughable especially for those who know me. Half the time when I speak people don’t even hear me. So I really didn’t know what bold was going to look like or play out in my life.
But maybe part of being bold is doing hard things. Maybe part of being bold is stepping out of the comfort zone and being obedient even if it’s uncomfortable.
I am being a little vulnerable here but maybe what I feel like God has been showing me will help someone else like me who may be struggling with some of the same things. I would have thought by now at my age I would have had it all figured out by now and anxiety/fear would no longer be an issue in my life but now and then depending on the situation it rears its ugly head.
We are very blessed to have a lot of North Americans in our lives. I am blessed to attend a ladies Bible study in English, blessed to attend church in English on Sunday afternoons, and blessed to have a close fellowship group Thursday evenings in English. We are surrounded by a whole lot of English. Not all missionaries living in Honduras have those blessings. However I feel like if we are in a Spanish country we should really be attending a Spanish church and immersing ourselves in the language whenever possible. Most of the Schools of Hope staff are Spanish and we minister to Spanish people. I desire to be fluent to be able to minister more effectively…heart to heart. So in attempts to boost my understanding of the language, I listen to Spanish worship music all the time, use a Spanish Bible along with my regular Bible and then we attend a Spanish church Sunday mornings. I truly feel the presence of Lord there, even before the service begins. Usually I understand most of the sermon. It really depends on who is sharing. But since they stream live on Youtube I can go back and listen and hit pause when I don’t quite understand something.
This church has a Wednesday night prayer meeting and I have never gone until recently when I went one time. They had announced on the Sunday before they would be praying for those who needed healing and for families at the Wednesday meeting. I have talked before about my frustrations with my health and how I have felt like my health issues were a hinderance to what I feel God has called me to. Also they were going to be praying for families. The desire for all of my kids to love the Lord and serve Him is never far from my heart. So I told Dale that I really felt like I needed to go. I kind of expected him to shut me down but he was fully supportive. He drove me there and dropped me off, but I went in alone.
When I arrived there were few chairs were set up, and maybe twenty people. (Eventually a lot more people showed up and more chairs were added.) I almost chickened out and high-tailed it out of there. On a Sunday morning that place is full of chairs and easily a thousand people. However, I wanted to be obedient to what I felt God asking me to do, so I stayed, even though I was very much out of my comfort zone, felt of out of place and I didn’t know anyone. I was silently telling the Lord “that I can’t do this. I just want to go home.” Then He gently reminded me that perhaps I wasn’t the only “new” person there. In a church with more than a thousand in attendance on a Sunday morning, what were the chances everyone in the room knew each other? So I started talking with the lady next to me and afterwards the words came easily and I was able to relax somewhat. And you know what? I was able to completely understand all that this lady was telling me and asking me and I understood the scripture reading that followed the sweet time of worship.
I hung-back at first when they told those who needed healing to go forward for prayer whenever they were comfortable. It sounds ridiculous but I was a nervous wreck. My heart was pounding and I had knots in my stomach. Fear can be so paralyzing! Part of it was not knowing a soul, but the truth is even in the English church I am not all that comfortable going to the front of the church for prayer. I knew God was nudging me to just go although I was feeling far from comfortable. I prayed my Spanish would be understood. In the end, I was prayed for by one of the Pastors who is fluent in English. Even so I still had trouble spitting my words out and was pretty vague. Still she prayed for a miracle and something else I didn’t even mention. But God knew. God is good and faithful and he cares about what is going on in our hearts.
See, I don’t believe God doesn’t call us to a comfortable lifestyle. We are not always going to be asked to do things that are easy. Sometimes they will be challenging and downright difficult. But He is always with us and we are not ever alone in what He asks of us. Believe it! We need to move our feet and step out in faith. We can’t expect change if we are not obedient.
Also regarding my earlier comment about thinking I should have it all figured out by now…how boring would life be if I did. And as christians do we ever stop growing? Do we ever reach the place of knowing everything there is to know about the Lord and his goodness? Ever changing. Ever growing. That is how I want to be.
Psalm 92:14 Even in old age they will still produce fruit, they will remain vital and green.
Can anyone else relate? Are there areas in your life that you feel stuck in, unable to move out of the comfort zone?
All that being said I am not always anxious. I don’t have any trouble in my neighbourhood approaching neighbours on the rare occasion they are outside their gate and striking up a converation with them. One time I did this Dale and I were walking our dog and Dale told me that I was not an introvert. Also I talk to the security guards all the time and know all of their names. I like how one of my friends describes herself…that she is is an introvert but relational. So maybe what it boils down to is the enviroment, knowing exactly what to expect and what is expected of me.
Being mindful of our emotional makeup. God instructs us to obey Him from a place of faith not fear. Just like Peter, we may not understand God’s promptings, but obedience turns our ordinary actions into something with a supernatural element. As disciples, we never come to a place where we can see the supernatural happen before we move in fatih. Repalacing fear with faith happens when we hear and believe God when he says, “Fear not…I am with you” —-Debbie Morris
Psalm 34:4 I sought the Lord and he answered me and rescued me from all my fears.
Isaiah 41:10 Do not fear from I am with you. Do not be afraid for I am your God. I will strengthen you, I will help you. I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Psalm 94:1 When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy.
Here is a song that is an encouragement to me and I hope it encourages you in whatever challenge you may be in.