By Stacy Heckman

 

 

I’ve been a believer as long as I can remember. I grew up attending church every week with my family, went to youth group on Sunday nights. I’ll admit sometimes my motives were more about seeing a boy that I liked than growing my spirituality, but hey… I was a teenager! I had my prodigal years in college, but I never strayed too far. Fast forward into “adult life” and my husband and I have been faithfully involved in our church for more than a decade.

 

So why in the world, when it came to inviting people to church, or talking about my faith to non-believers did it evoke such fear in me? What exactly was I afraid of? After some self-searching, I discovered that my biggest reason was: Rejection.

 

Here’s an example of a fictional conversation I would have with myself:

“What would Suzy-Q think of me if I asked her to come to church this weekend?”

“She would probably say, “No.” Or she would say, ‘Thanks, let me think about it’ – when I know what she really means is ‘I don’t attend church, so don’t ask me, weirdo!’”

“And then my friend will feel awkward every time we’re together, and she probably won’t want to hang out with me anymore, and then we won’t be friends, and then she’ll tell all my other friends, and then I won’t have ANY friends!!!!”

Pretty irrational, don’t ya think? And certainly that fear of rejection was coming from one place: Satan.

 

 “For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love and self-discipline.”

2 Timothy 1:7 NLT

 

The enemy loves to stir up some good old fashioned fear in us. Keep us from inviting our friends to Bible study. Keep up from handing out the church invites. He wants to keep our mouths shut. After attending the Fearless conference, I decided I needed to make a change. I need to stop letting Satan win by keeping me in bondage of fear.

 

In the weeks leading up to Easter, Pastor Craig asked us to write in chalk on the walls of the church the names of people we would be praying for the next 21 days. I got up and wrote the names of six friends who do not attend church. And I prayed for them all month. And then I did something a bit uncomfortable… I invited every single one of them to Easter service. And you know what?? Four of those six families came to church! And one of them had their child baptized on Easter!

 

My friends didn’t think I was weird for inviting them. And the ones who decided not to come didn’t toss our friendship aside. Instead, it opened doors to some amazing conversations! I will not allow the enemy to make me fearful. Instead, I am choosing to be more confident in my faith.

 

Join me in being bolder for God. Let’s not back down when we feel the Holy Spirit leading us to invite someone to church or share our faith. I invite you to pray that God will do great and impactful things through us right here in our communities because according to His word, we are gifted with the spirit of power!

By Wanda Grimsley

In January I assigned this powerful word to the new year that lay before me. Everything in my stream of consciousness seemed to shout “FEARLESS!” It was everywhere. I was hearing it, singing it, wearing it, and speaking it over myself. I felt it too, every remnant of fear falling away, like I could conquer anything. It was amazing, intense, and invigorating!

 

It was also fleeting. It didn’t last. Not for me.

 

While I don’t remember anybody saying explicitly what fearlessness was supposed to look like, I did hear the word ninja at some point, and I chuckle as I admit that set me off down a path and  put a certain image in my mind. All I saw were powerful, stealthy, uncompromising, bold, women, calling out all sorts of evil, slaying devils left and right.

 

Life starts happening again pretty quickly after a moment like the conference. Far-reaching decisions have to be made thoughtfully and executed carefully. Challenges arise and it doesn’t take long to recognize that subtle tap on the shoulder or the worrisome whispers of fear. At that time, I was facing a new invitation to fear.  It was encompassed in all the realities of aging parents who live far away.

 

I no longer felt like an unstoppable force for God. I felt afraid.  I was tempted to believe I just don’t measure up, I must not have enough faith to live in fearlessness. What does God think about that?

 

During the next few months, God gave me his perspective on that question. I have a new appreciation for ‘fearlessness’ in my life and it started with realizing my fearlessness doesn’t have to look like yours.

 

I am not a ninja. I’m not stealth and smooth in any way. But I am learned in and steadied by the Word of God. I am not demanding and confrontational, but because God gives me unmatched power, I’m courageous and stand firm. I am not daring or audacious, but His Spirit makes me bold. My nature is quiet, but His nature in me leads me to be fervent and persistent in the things He calls me to. I don’t charge full speed ahead to conquer, but I do not back down and I refuse to give up ground to anything contrary to the Word of God.

 

Fearlessness is faith in action, whether dramatic or quietly confident in nature. I thank God for women demonstrating “Fearless” for me in many different ways.

 

  • Rahab who stood in the face of threatening authority and didn’t cower.
  • Hannah’s fervent, persistent prayers and her faith to believe. (1Samuel 1:9-28).
  • Sarah’s surrender to God’s plan, which included submission to her husband to literally pack up and follow and trust God.
  • Queen Esther’s strategic risk-taking and standing up to the King.
  • Mary’s willingness to sit at Jesus’ feet when her sister was pressuring her to be busy with other things.

 

Faithfulness equals Fearlessness

 

Fearlessness can be seen in the everyday things we do as believers, things often overlooked. It can be as simple as showing up when you’d rather not. In my case of aging parents, it has recently meant showing up at doctor’s offices, not knowing what the diagnosis will be. When fear starts whispering, I do it afraid. I show up.

 

By Nancy Strackany

I’ve always been afraid, but I didn’t know how much fear controlled me. I found it comforting when I read that one of the first emotions that Adam and Eve experienced after the fall was fear. “They were ashamed and they hid from God.” Genesis 3:10

 

I spent the earliest part of my life being afraid of everything that had risk. Later I became anxious about failure and so I avoided anything that was difficult. In marriage I hid my true self because I made my husband upset. I learned to please, I built a wall around myself and became someone else. When God found me hiding in the shame and mess I had made of my life, I was broken.

 

In 2012 my life verse was Psalm 51:12 “Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and sustain me with a willing spirit.” God kept the promise I claimed in that verse.

 

Over the last eight years God has shown me that He loves me, ME, with all my faults and failures. I love Him so much just because He first loved me. He has gently shown me all the things I have thought of as mistakes and imperfections, and revealed to me that the mistakes I make are lessons. When I say something I shouldn’t He does not condemn me, I need only to be sorry and show it and God will always protect me from the outcome I once feared. When I fail, or can’t live up to another’s expectations, He tells me, “that’s OK, I’m pleased with you anyway.”

 

I have learned that saying ‘no’ is all right. I laugh when I tell the story of when I was a kid, I told two families I would babysit on the same night because I couldn’t say no to either of them. I can now decline to do something and not worry if that person will still like me. God says do it for my glory, not yours.

 

I felt as though I was a bad wife and failed my children. I tried to be good all on my own and yet I always failed. I could rarely admit I was wrong, I argued my point to the death, or so it seemed to my husband. Then Jesus began to lead me, the Holy Spirit showed me what to do and what to say, how to make amends and find forgiveness with not only Him, with my family as well.

 

God showed me that I have a right to be myself, to feel what I feel and say what I need to say if it lines up with Gods truth. I don’t have to be afraid to follow my Savior. If my family doesn’t like it, that’s OK, God likes it. And guess what, they can handle it and I think they like me better.

 

I once was afraid that when I died I would have wasted my life. Now I know that God has a plan for me. I’m not afraid of eternity, or tomorrow or even today. God loves me. His perfect love casts out all fear. And it would be great if my husband and kids can stand and call me blessed, but my greatest hope is that Jesus will say “well done, good and faithful servant.” Matthew 25:23

By Kristin Bonham

 

 

The theme of the Beautiful Conference this past January was Fearless. In our planning meetings, we talked about the many different places women are coming up against fear and how we can move forward without letting it stop us. Over the next few months, The Beautiful Blog is highlighting Fearless steps and what we are doing about them. I’m excited about this series because when we share our vulnerabilities, we have a chance to encourage others to move past their fears too!

 

At the Fearless Conference, Lisa Bevere said something that nailed my fear.  She said, “One year from now, you will _________.”  My fear was that I will be in the same place.  That I will not accomplish the big scary thing God has put in my heart. That I won’t feel any different and maybe I will even feel worse.

 

During the conference, I was dealing with a weird health issue that I hadn’t experienced before. A week later, I got a bad cold for several weeks and then a series of strange symptoms. It’s been one thing after another and I just want to figure it out.

 

I have been asking God to show me what is going on and if my various random symptoms over the past few months are related. I have been doing what I think I should to get better all the while asking for the cause.  My focus has been on discovering the root of my problems and solving the puzzle. To be honest, I have not been fearless. I have been anxious and worked up. I have asked Jesus to fix it but I have not changed my focus.

 

I learned many years ago to stop praying against my fear… When I pray against whatever I am afraid of, I am focused on avoiding the pain associated with that fear. I know that I can only focus on one thing at a time and if I am praying against something, I am focused on that.

 

The things I have come up against recently bring fear right in my face. I can’t control what’s happening. If I could, I would change it right away! I can’t change some of the circumstances that are bringing anxiety but I can change my focus. I have control over what I am thinking about.

 

It’s not about the absence of Pain. It’s about the presence of Him.

 

I’m either focused on my pain or I’m focused on His presence in my life. I am focused on God and who He is first, or what I want Him to do for me. I don’t know about you but I easily get sucked into focusing on my pain and what I need God to do to fix it. The enemy keeps me spinning with looking for roots instead of giving it to God and trading my fear for His peace. I want to live from the truth that He is God and no matter what is happening in my life, that doesn’t change!  …and I’m fairly certain I will practice this the rest of my life.

  

Jesus said, “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have
many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” John 16:33