People are a little surprised to learn that my blog was inspired over three years ago. “What made you decide to start it now?” (Or in other words, “What took you so long?!” Haha.)
I knew the Lord gave me a clear mission – but I was too afraid to actually move forward and I wrestled with fear for quite awhile. “What if I can’t do it?” “What if I don’t always have the time?” “I don’t even have a seminary degree.” “What will people think?” “How will they respond?” “What if this ends up being yet another failure?” I was so tangled in a sticky web of questions, so busy swatting away at the swarm of doubts that I lost hold of my conviction and the vision that God entrusted me to carry out.
Satan’s very first and original scheme was to put a “question mark” where God had put a “period.” The enemy likes to sneer, “Did God really say?” and try to vandalize our attempts to boldly act in faith.
God instructed Adam and Eve not to eat from the tree of knowledge, and Satan tempted them saying, “Did God actually say to not eat from the tree? You will not surely die . . . you will be like God knowing good and evil.” (Genesis 3:1-3)
That is how every lie begins. Satan tries to make us question God’s authority by twisting and manipulating the truth. He tries to make us doubt. He tries to make our hearts to covet what we already have in Christ. Satan seduced Eve with the lure they would be “like God.” But in Genesis 1:27, they were already made in the image of God! Satan tempted them with what they already had ownership in.
“Don’t dig up in doubt what you have already planted in faith.”Elisabeth Elliott
Throughout my three years of digging up doubt, and re-planting faith, over and over again, I learned a lot about the power of fear – AND the power of freedom from fear!
Fear of Man v. Fear of the Lord
When I first grappled with my fears of acceptance for this blog, God brought me to Exodus Chapter 1. The new Pharaoh commanded the Hebrew midwives to kill all the baby boys at the start of the people’s oppression and slavery in Egypt.
“When you serve as midwife to the Hebrew women . . . if it is a son, you shall kill him, but if it is a daughter she shall live.”Exodus 1:16
But the midwives FEARED GOD and did not do as the king of Egypt commanded them, but let the male children live. (Exodus 1:17)
And as a result, “God dealt well with the midwives. And the people multiplied and grew very strong. And because the midwives feared God, he gave them families.” (Exodus 1:20)
In Hebrew, “fear” (yare’) translates “reverential awe and respect.”
To “fear the Lord” is to honor His authority with our humility and obedience. This also means renouncing our allegiance to ourselves and to others.
The midwives chose to fear God rather than to fear a man – even the most powerful man who reigned over the most powerful kingdom in the world at that time. Their steadfast fidelity to God led to protection, blessings, and multiplication – not only for the midwives, but for their people.
How we respond to fear will not only affect ourselves, but will affect the people around us.
Through that story, God showed me how much is at stake. My fear of people’s responses should shift to a fear of the Lord. And if I truly fear the Lord above anything and everything else, then that means what is important to Him should be important to me. And Jesus doesn’t care about likes, comments, and followers. He cares about where our hearts are truly aligned.
I began praying that my heart would let go of fearing the response – and instead to pray for the restoration, the redemption, the reconciliation, and the revival to come!
Exchanging Our Covering for God’s Covering
For a long time, I tried to conceal my failures and hide my story. I was ashamed that I failed the Bar four times, embarrassed that I was laid off from my job, etc. and only confided in a small handful of close, trusted friends.
But then one night, one of my best friends, Oghosa, and I had an insightful discussion about Adam and Eve.
In the beginning, Adam and Eve were naked and unashamed because they were covered by God’s provision. They dwelled in freedom and complete surrender, rooted in their transparent intimacy with the Lord.
But once sin set in, they were ashamed and tried to cover themselves.
“And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves form the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, ‘Where are you?’ And he said, ‘I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked and I hid myself.’”Genesis 3:8-11 (ESV)
Sometimes we may be ashamed of our sin. Other times, we may be ashamed because of what someone else did to us, or something that happened to us, outside of our control.
What Adam and Eve didn’t realize is that when we take off our covering of embarrassment and shame, and we cover instead ourselves with God’s love and grace, there is no need to hide.
For me, that meant no longer being ashamed of my failures, imperfections, singleness, defeat, and weaknesses. It meant declaring that my story is not a story of failure – but of freedom. It that I could “gladly boast in my weakness” as Paul describes in II Corinthians 12:9 SO THAT the power of Christ could work through me.
My first step in declaring freedom was publicly sharing part of my story at Prestonwood’s Women’s Retreat last year. I was honored with the invitation to sit alongside a panel of amazing women as we openly shared our stories of grief, heartache, brokenness and failure that we tried to cover and conceal for so long. I felt such freedom in sharing my story of unemployment and failure, a story that I was still sitting in that day.
That very same day, when I went home and unpacked my suitcase from the retreat, I reconnected with a friend who left Dallas for a new opportunity San Francisco, and he offered to introduce me to the Managing Partner at his Dallas firm. After three rounds of interviews, I was offered a position and have currently worked at the firm for almost two years.
To anyone else wrestling with fear, know that you were created for freedom. Freedom from Satan’s lies, and freedom to live out your calling. A beautiful life of intimacy with God – free of fear and full of faith!