Fears are real and natural and at times bigger than the thing that we fear. Today we’ll be spending our time discovering how the uncommon woman isn’t defined, held back or bullied by her fears. I like to think of myself as an non fearing person, but by reading this chapter I have been reminded that far too often I’m stopped in my tracks by some fear that rears its ugly head. For me my fears are in the shape of what others might think. What if no one listens to me. What if I say something that I think is a good idea but it really isn’t. What if my ideas don’t work. My fears are the silent killers I call the “whatifs.” What if….what if…what if!
As an uncommon woman, I will not be bullied by my fears!
What Susie says on the bottom of page 143 is a constant challenge for me. Here’s how it goes…”I am challenged once again to remember in my core that God is who He says He is. He redeems, He restores, He delivers. And He establishes. When God is for us, who can every successfully stand against us?” So true. God is for me. God is my biggest cheerleader. He helps me. He gives me an extra push when I need it. He protects me. He makes everything possible. When I have him in my corner why do I need to worry? But yet I do. I think I’d like to change that!
So, what is fear anyway?
Fear is the sense that something bad is going to happen. It is the acknowledgment that somewhere close by is impending doom. There’s something that’s going to launch into a crisis at any moment. Someone is going to hurt me either with their words or by their hand. And with this momentum building within ourselves along comes the fear. Here’s how Susie brings it all together on page 147.
“We all have a ‘pain pendulum’ that compels us to react when we are first hurt in some way. Then later on in life when situations arise that are remotely reminiscent to our initial memory, we tend to overreact and overcompensate, and our beliefs are once again confirmed that people and circumstances (and sometimes God) cannot be trusted.” True…especially about the overreacting part! Here’s the real good part as she continues.
“Until we are willing to dig beneath the surface and reconcile our wrong beliefs and fears with the wonderful truths of God, we will be held captive by our past experiences. Unless we deal with our fears, the beliefs about our painful past experiences will continue to hurt us because they will continually translate into current wrong beliefs.”
Preach it sister!!! Our past has a nasty way of defining our future. I cannot tell you how many times I have been held by my past experiences…and I have a lot of them. As real as they are, they have no right to dictate my position in life. And the worst part is that it sounds so good saying it, but it’s so hard to do. Here’s a great resource on making progress in this area. It’s a study called “Making Peace with Your Past” by Tim Sledge. Go get it. It’s a deep study and is best paired in a group setting.
We all have pasts that we need to work on. The best part is that Jesus knows our heart and He knows every one of our weaknesses. He understands the shifting sands where I often life my life. He knows I’m likely to give into the oncoming waves. He knows the things that will give me encouragement and the things that will take me out of the game. And, in my more sane thoughts, I know that He is on my side. He is the one who will keep me standing upright and able to take on the next thing that’s headed my way…because there is always something headed our way.
How many choices do you suppose we’ve made out of fear; choices that sabotage our victory and the abundant life God promises. Just for fun take our poll this week and give voice to the fear that has most recently held you back.
For us to be the uncommon women that God wants us to be we must face our fears.
I appreciated the perspective Susie places on this subject of facing our fears on page 150 where she writes “Not that we should go carelessly running into traffic in the hopes that Jesus will rescue us before the traffic clobbers us. Jesus isn’t asking us to run haphazardly toward the things that scare us half to death. That would be silly. But are we willing to step out in faith when God calls us to something new? Most of what we fear will never happen. Yet we destroy our joy and interrupt our journey just in case there’s the tiniest, remotest possibility that they will.”
Do you love God more than your fear?
I know it sounds like a tough question that we instantly want to say “Well, of course” too. But think about for a moment. What would change in your life if you really loved God more than your fear? What is holding you back?
The devil is a real force in our lives. His main purpose is to sneak into those small cracks that life leaves behind and work in there planting doubt and confusion. He interjects a little fear and pettiness from others…stirs it up a bit and then lets it sit. And before you know it we are held captive by the fear that has grown. I like what is written on the bottom of page 152 on the topic of who we are. It reads “Where ever you go, Jesus is there with you. Remember, when you walk into a room the spiritual climate changes because you belong to the Most High God and He has assigned angels to your care. You are someone He loves and wants to protect. KNOW WHAT YOU POSSESS IN CHRIST.”
Isn’t that amazing…I can just picture it now. When I walk into a life situation where the devil thinks he has control, the temperature of the room changes because I’m walking in with a fist full of angels. It’s like the scene out of a great movie where the bad guy jumps out the window when he sees the superhero enter. And this time I get to be the superhero! I’m just captured at the moment of how differently I would walk about my everyday life with the knowledge of what company walks with me. How many times have I walked into that same room with the thought…”Well, you’ve got me. Why fight it.” When all I really had to say was “move it on out of my way I have things to do.”
Uncommon women refuse to be bullied by their fears. Fears are real and they are at times daunting. Be the woman He intended for you to be. We’ve spent 9 weeks talking about the kind of woman God wants us to be…full of love and mercy, seeking truth, full of prayer. There is simply no room to let fear take hold.
What About You?
Here are some practical questions I’ll walk through with my class. (As always…when you join me live you get the goofy stories from my everyday life.)
1. Discuss the scripture references found on pages 154 & 155.
- What are some ways where these verses are speaking to you today.
- What is one verse you can take with you this week that will apply to where you most struggle with fear?
2. Read Luke 8:40-48
Write down your thoughts.
- This woman had a horrible life and was probably shunned by society. Consider what drove her actions.
- Your fears are something that diminish your ability to life out your God-given life. What is keeping you from living out your life the way God wants you to live?
3. Joyce Meyer says that FEAR stands for “False Evidence Appearing Real.” Read John 8:44
- Write down ways you have been deceived by him in the past. What did you learn from those times?
4. Read Isaiah 54:4
- Write out this verse in a personalized prayer from God to you.
We’ll end our classes with this prayer from your book.
You are my dearest Friend. There is no one like You. Though my fears are many, Your love is greater than all of them. I will, by faith, press through the things that scare me that I might lay hold of all You have promised me. You’ve made me for the high places. You’ve appointed me for victory. It pleases You to see me conquer fear. Fill me up once again with more of You. Increase my capacity to comprehend Your perfect love. you precious, perfect love casts out every fear, every foe, and every defeating thought. I say this today, out loud for everyone to hear: I will serve You, and not my fears. By the power of Your great name, I pray. Amen”
In two weeks – Chapter 10 where I believe His promises are true.
If you’d like to join this study in real time…I’m teaching it at HopePark Wednesday Mornings & Thursday Nights. If you’re a Nashville local, the door is always open. We’re at 8001 Hwy. 70 South, just off I-40. Online at http://hopepark.com and on twitter @hopepark.
Me…well you can find me twittering @jodytodd.
Have a great week!
Questions and assigned quotes from the study by Susie Larson entitled The Uncommon Woman.