Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Do not be afraid.......

1 Chronicles 28:20

David also said to Solomon his son, "Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you until all the work for the service of the temple of the Lord is finished.

I have been afraid, I have been discouraged, and I have wandered away from the work of the Lord. I started this blog several months ago, after my baptism, with the encouragement of my daughter. I was  so excited to have reconciled my anger, and my deliberate alienation from God. I had welcomed Jesus into my life, had said I would follow Him wherever He led me, and could not wait to tell my story.

I still feel excited and joyous when I remember that day. I did not yet realize, when I wrote that initial blog post, that it was a decision I would have to make every day, to continue to follow Jesus. Some days I was not even aware of it, following was so instinctual. Other days there were events that required a greater leap of faith, and I realized that when troubled times hit I often forgot to turn to Him, forgot to ask for help.

And trouble did hit. Serious illness within my immediate family, 11 weeks of unemployment, worsening debt, needing to rely on my children and my family to support me, fear, discouragement, anxiety. I did pray, I did ask for help, I did say that I would follow Him wherever He led......but then I also always added qualifiers. I will follow if......., I will follow anywhere. anywhere but to......... During this time of trouble I learned many lessons, lessons that were invaluable to continuing to grow in my relationship with Christ, invaluable to doing the work I am, or will be, called to. During this time period there were also many blessings. Time spent with loved ones, time with friends, time to commune with nature and with God. Many of these blessings, troubles, and the lessons they taught me, will be subjects of upcoming blog posts.

This post is specifically about being afraid and discouraged. Afraid of posting blogs that nobody would read, discouraged that I didn't know quite how to write them in a way that would draw readers in. Afraid of failure, of not being good enough. Clearly, things were happening in my life, and in my faith journey, and yet I felt unmotivated to post, or more honestly afraid.

I did discuss this fear, not with God though. I discussed it with my daughter, who writes a wonderful blog of her own. My daughter suggested, very wisely, that I don't worry about whether or not anyone read the blog, instead just write it for myself. I thought she was right, I should write it for myself. Writing can be very therapeutic, can be a means of processing our thoughts and feelings, and I love to write. I would just write the blog for myself.......but I didn't.

Since that first blog post, along with the challenges I wrote about, I have had the opportunity to attend two different Christian programs that both did wonders for me. The first, an Unbound, Freedom in Christ conference, gave me a much deeper understanding of my relationship with Christ...and of all the ways I had blocked my ability to have a closer relationship with Him. The second, a Walk to Emmaus weekend, furthered that understanding that had begun at Unbound. Walk to Emmaus did so much more for me than just reinforce the Unbound experience though. I came away feeling excited, renewed, loved, eager, and looking for ways to serve God. I prayed daily for guidance, in what way was I suppose to serve? I had some ideas, but I felt they were just things I was feeling an interest in, not things I was being called to. I continued to pray and ask for discernment.

Last Saturday I had the opportunity to spend time with people I had met at the Walk to Emmaus weekend, and with others I had not yet met. One of the things I shared was that I felt strongly that there was something I was suppose to be doing, but I didn't yet know what it was. As others shared some of the ways they were serving Christ I could see their joy. I prayed with renewed fervor, all the way home. Once home, I fell into bed exhausted as I had hardly slept for the previous two days.

Sunday morning, as I awakened from the soundest sleep I had experienced in ages, I literally had a voice in my head telling me several different things all at the same time, and yet I could understand them all. I will share only one of them here and now, the one message that inspired me to write this with no fear of who will or will not read it.

One of the things the voice clearly said was:

Do not be afraid. It matters not if anyone reads what you write. If you spend the rest of your life writing about your faith, and only one person reads it and invites Me into their life then that is one person who receives My grace and mercy. And do not be mistaken, you are not writing for yourself, you are writing for ME.

So, I will continue to write my blog posts. I have a list of topics already, all that were being listed in my head when I woke up Sunday, all that were jotted down quickly. It matters not if anyone reads any of them!!