Saturday, October 1, 2011

Afraid of What?

October and its accompanying Halloween holiday is the one time of year when the “fear monster” is allowed to run rampant.  It’s said to be just fun and games, but the “fear monster” likes to find a home in our hearts after the holiday has long since passed.
One of my favorite movies, the 1965 major motion picture “The Sound of Music”, has a scene about fear.  After hearing thunder as a storm passed by, each of Captain Von Trapp’s 7 children ends up in Maria’s bedroom for comfort.  The upbeat song, “These are a few of my favorite things” follows which seems to cheer the kids right up!  I love the song and it might help for a bit of thunder.  But when fear grips my heart in the deepest way, it’s not all fun and games!  Thinking of raindrops on roses, kitten whiskers, woolen mittens, sleigh bells or even GEESE does not cut it.  In fact, when fear is embedded in my heart the song I find myself singing sounds more like this...
Raindrops on windows and thunder unending…
Bright colored lightning and candle wicks dwindling;
Brown branches swaying, what will this night bring?
These are a few of my scariest things.
Hospital doctors and long pokey needles…
Bumble bees, sting rays and stinky butt beetles;
Black creepy spiders with red diamond spleens,
These are a few of my scariest things.
Ghosts in white dresses with blue glowing chains…
Fear thoughts that stay on my mind and my brain;
Silver stone walls that are trapped in my dreams,
These are a few of my scariest things.
When I don’t pray -
When fear gets in the way -
When I forget to trust my “Dad” …
I’m simply remembering my scariest things,
And I’m caught up in what feels so bad.
Fear beyond a few cracks of thunder is crippling.  I’ve been afraid of who might come through my children's windows, of failure, of someone not liking me.  Years ago I struggled with fear in such a way that it seemed to be a living monster in my body.  One day I gathered up the courage to tell a near stranger about my fears.  She was sitting at a boutique reading a bible and after revealing my fears to her, she promptly shared a good thing with me.  She encouraged me to memorize 2 Timothy 1:7, “For God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”
As I memorized and constantly recited 2 Timothy 1:7, I experienced that transforming power first hand. “Dear Lord,” I would say in the face of fear, “You have not given me a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”  Day by day God answered my prayers and my anxious feelings were replaced with confidence in Him. 
The “fear monster” has left the premises, but it continues to peek its ugly face out of unexpected dark corners.  This past week I found myself fearing the worse would happen while my husband was away on business.  I recognized it and the powerful Word of God at work in my life sent the “fear monster” running with its tail between its legs.  
The word for "fear" in 2 Timothy 1:7 is not referring to general fear as it is commonly known, as in fearing a bit of thunder. The word in the original greek language is not 'phobos' (foboV) but rather 'deilias' (deiliaV) which means "cowardice". God has not given us a spirit of cowardice. The actual context of the words found in this passage refer to partaking in Kingdom work, that is God’s Kingdom, and not to wimp out.
Fears that keep us from Kingdom work are more crippling than a passing storm or a hunting holiday.  By praying and claiming this scripture for so many years it has led to opportunities to leave cowardice in the dumpster, where it belongs! To confidently share a good thing where I otherwise would have let fear win.  
One of the “good things” I like to share about is Moms In Touch International (MITI).  A few years back I heard about groups of praying moms that focus on prayers for their children and for schools.  It did not take long for me to research it and find a praying partner, Julie Paik, to start a group.  It is a place where we partner with God on behalf of our children who, in turn, get to experience the same power of transformation while us moms, being aware of the benefits, actually do the praying.  Every week moms pray specific scriptures over their children’s lives that cover a multitude of concerns.  This allows the concerns to be handed over to a God that is willing and able to do more than we can imagine and definitely more than can be done on our own.  Being constant and deliberate in prayers directly effects our children with their constant and sometimes deliberate struggles.  What child does not have struggles as they walk onto their school campuses every weekday?  
When I first stepped up to be a MIT Co-Leader with Julie for our children's school (Yerba Buena)… it was an opportunity for me to set aside cowardliness and take on courage.  I remember loving the prayer time but was sort of a wimp about sharing this “good thing”.   Would people think I was “religious”?  Even worse would people think they couldn’t be real around me because I was one of those Christians?  Yes, the “fear monster” tried to keep me immobile. I remember praying for courage with Julie and He delivered a cup of courage all right!  In fact our cups overflowed and we now have over a dozen praying moms at Yerba Buena Elementary School.

I was then asked to step up to be a Moms In Touch Area Coordinator (an AC).  Why not, we had seen God's power unleashed!  "Why keep a good thing all to myself'" I prayed, "let's get every school in my area prayed over!  Lord raise up Moms with a desire to pray for their children and use me to be an encouragement to them!"   It was again an opportunity for me to set aside cowardliness and take on courage.  Right on que the “fear monster” tried to keep me immobile with a variety of fear oriented thoughts.  But if it had found a home in me concerning MIT, you would not be reading this today.  I am sharing this “good thing”!  As a MIT leader and AC  a courageous player in Kingdom work is on the field!  Taking action can be exhilarating!
Richard DeHaan put it into perspective when he wrote, "If God has given you some special work to do that frightens you, it is your responsibility to jump at it. It is up to the Lord to see you through. As you faithfully do your part, He will do His part."
My Aunt Janet (Brown) puts it this way, “When we experience tasks that are daunting... He meets us there with His sustaining power and all-consuming courage.”
Cream colored ponies and crisp apple strudels, as the song, “These are a few of my favorite things” recites, can never compete with what God gives.  The “fear monster” can’t flee fast enough when it comes face to face with God’s immeasurable power.
Philippians 4:8 talks about how to step out of crippling fear thoughts. “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”
I often think about this lovely truth, us moms hold a common thread that weaves us all together.  It is a deep desire to see our children persevere through life challenges, to accomplish great things, to grow in their faith and live out their God-given purpose to the fullest.  Our mom-hearts ache when life comes in hard at them.  Our mom passion is put on fire when our child is flourishing in a talent or a unique gifting.  We share the common desire for wanting what is best for our children.  Praying for them, their schools and classmates is one of the more pro-active and “cowardLESS” parenting moves we can make.

So are AFRAID OF WHAT?  What "good thing" is God asking you to do for His Kingdom's sake? Pause for a moment and lay down those fears. Lay down whatever frightens you; what you see as scary.  In short... I encourage you to PRAY THOSE FEARS AWAY!  Then we can sing a new October song...
Rainbows from heaven and courage to start…
Bright Calvary's cross and peace in my heart;
Brown leather bibles and His perfect timing,
These are a few of my God’s promised things.
Unending love and new seasons of joy…
Provision for family and healing my boy;
Spirit filled moments by praising the King,
These are a few of my God’s promised things.
Girls in white dresses dance with the bridegroom…
Forgiveness, deliverance, changed lives are in bloom;
Silver white winters that melt into springs,
These are a few of my God’s promised things.
When I need shelter -
When I seek comfort -
When I’m afraid or sad…
I get on my knees and claim God’s promised things,
And then I don’t feel so bad.
"The One who calls you is faithful and He will do it!" Thessalonians 5:24
"All honor and power to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power at work within us."   Ephesians 3:20

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