I know, a lot of people did not enjoy the New Year as much as usual this time around. No matter how much you call each January 1 a “fresh start” or a “new opportunity,” the promise of 2012 just doesn’t shine as brightly as what we are used to. The US economy has been drifting toward trouble for some time. It now seems to be teetering at the edge of the falls, and our leaders appear more interested in fighting each other than in working together to sort out our problems. It all seems out of control.
You might say that our confidence has been shaken.
If so, it doesn’t need to be that way.
Last fall I studied through A Confident Heart by Renee Swope, led by my blogger friend Ashley. In this book Swope offers some pretty keen insights on why our confidence might falter. I highly recommend reading it when you have time. Meanwhile, I’d like to share some of the quotes and notes I recorded while studying a section on “fear” in Chapter 10.
Swope recalls that she used to be afraid to go to sleep when her husband was out of town. Even after praying for safety, she would gather things around her to help her feel safe. Like any of us might do. One night she even brought the children into her room and then put the dresser in front of the bedroom door. She writes,
I thought I was controlling my circumstances, but instead fear had taken control of me. … That night God helped me see that my fears were like flames and my efforts to protect myself were like gasoline.
It sounded like a spiral of increasing fear. As I thought about her words, I could see how that had worked on me in the past. Every effort at self-protection served to validate my fear. That is, I was telling myself, “There is good reason to be afraid.”
I was telling myself, “God won’t take care of you.”
Swope gained that insight after reading Isaiah, chapter 43, verses 1 and 2 (God speaking): “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. … When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned…”
She remembered, as the apostle Paul reminded Timothy, that God had not given her a spirit of fear, but of power and love and a sound mind (Paul’s 2nd letter to Timothy, chapter 1, verse 7).
Swope realized that the only way to overcome her fears was to walk through them. She concludes, “I would have to put away my props and to go bed trusting God and not myself, knowing that even if my fears came true He would be with me.
Even those of us who have trusted in Christ for eternal life may miss that last key phrase. I know I tend to fear because I cannot be sure that nothing unpleasant will happen.
But “faith” doesn’t mean believing that nothing unpleasant will happen. As near as I can figure, real faith trusts God even when we get hurt, or fired, or… whatever. He knows where we are and he cares.
By the way, Swope adds that (paraphrasing here) when she put the furniture, the children and her faith back where they belonged… she slept better than she had in weeks.
Meanwhile, I am linking up with Jen and the Soli Deo Gloria sisters. Come see how Jen gathered her courage… and the exciting results!
Also, with the Company Girls for a visit with Rachel Anne and her ever-impish donkey, Flash.
Thanks for reading,