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I've been pushed out of my comfort zone several times in the past few days and thrust into things that scare me, like public speaking and opportunities that encourage me to try new things. But when I allow myself to stretch beyond my limits, God works in wondrous ways.
I've learned to say "no" to my fears and let God work because I know those situations will turn into my best stories and my favorite memories: like when I moved to Southern California for college and was the only one from my town to go, and when I flew across the country by myself to study for a semester in Washington, D.C., and completed my first internship. The thing that makes actually doing these things incredible is that I can be a timid person, and I am very much an introvert.
Had I given in to fear and stayed within my comfort zone, I would have missed out on many positive, life-changing experiences. Fear is not our conscience talking. It doesn't always imply that what we're about to dive into is something we'll regret. More often than not, it's Satan trying to hinder God's plan and keep us from His blessings.
It's interesting when someone who believes in you more than you feel like you believe in yourself, presents you with an opportunity. Someone presented me with an opportunity the other day and told me that when we limit ourselves to what we think we can and cannot do, we also limit God.
We must not limit God by limiting ourselves. He makes all things possible, and when Christ is in us, we are unstoppable warriors set out to conquer the tasks He calls us to do.
There is a passage in Scripture I read for inspiration when I know God is calling me to do something that scares me. It encourages me when I start doubting myself:
"For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control" (2 Timothy 1:6-7, ESV).
Have no fear in fanning into flame the gifts God has given you and is asking you to use. Even though it might scare you and force you out of your comfort zone, I hope you join me this week in seizing opportunities God gives you to grow. It might involve your career, your passion or something new God is calling you into.
Believe in yourself, because God has prepared you for this moment. The person presenting you with the opportunity believes in you, and more importantly, God believes in you. Don't allow fear to keep you from something good.
You can do all things through Christ who gives you strength. If you don't let go of fear and obey God's call, He can surely put someone else in your place. But God doesn't make mistakes, and He is calling you.
If you're not faced this week with an opportunity that forces you out of your comfort zone in a positive way, what was your experience the last time you said "no" to fear and "yes" to God?
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Hello Amy, I told you I would eventually get around to making a profile and so here it is. So you already know i do not know about religion and God, so i am going to spare you my attempt at trying to make sense of all of that. But, just so you know this is an opportunity for me that is putting me way out of my comfort zone. I tend to not talk about religion at all because it makes me uncomfortable. Getting on here is doing just that for me, making me uncomfortable. Especially trying to talk about it. I've never had solid views on religion and i tend to just read into a lot about what people say instead of figuring things out for myself. Which i know taking your advice is not the best solution to discovering Christ but its a start. I am happy that i am taking this step. Fear is always something that has hindered me in a lot of my endeavors in life, and when times got extremely difficult and i just didn't think i could bare it anymore i resulted to prayer. Which is extremely ironic looking back on those experiences because it wasn't until i prayed and begged and pleaded for whatever it was that was going on to stop that i finally was able to reach some sort of peace. I always blamed it on the passing of time or other things of that nature to get me by. It feels weird to make this connection as i am typing this. Facing fear though, has always been a very touchy subject to me. I am not the one who is afraid to do things such as: skydive, bungee jump, wrestle, get in fights, etc.; but i am afraid of feelings and emotions. Such as my feelings towards God and my feelings towards religion. I am afraid to be that person. I don't know why but i am. So here ya go. Positive and negative experiences surrounding one thought or action of mine.
Fear could be the theme for last few weeks in my life. I've been struggling with loneliness for quite a while now and for some reason I've stopped reading my Bible every night and I can feel the fear of loss stalking me everywhere I go. Sometimes I think I should analyze my fear more and that will help but it doesn't. The only thing that works is my connection to Christ. My connection to Christ is directly tied to my peace and courage and that's directly linked to my prayer life. The scripture says to take courage like its an object to be acquired. I try to remember that when the fear comes. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to reflect on the strength of Christ. :-)
A few months ago, my boss hired another employee. I have been at the job almost two years, so I am the "senior" developer, so to speak. It can be uncomfortable in a good way how sometimes I am tasked with making the call on how to proceed when my coworker asks for help in a situation. Like you were saying, my boss apparently believes in me on how to instruct our new employee, so it's a healthy challenge having leadership responsibility.
Last Summer I spent some time at the river, and at the prodding of friends, engaged in high-rock jumping into the water. Funny enough, I feel as if the experience was symbolic and actually helpful in overcoming fear in more important areas of my life. In fearful moments, there is this hurdle that simply must be overcome with an act of the will. I don't want to encourage people to be needlessly reckless, but perhaps some similar, seemingly trivial task can prove a psychological boost for more significant endeavors.
Matt, I will pray for you, and if you have a good Christian friend, I would recommend attending church with them regularly. If the Spirit resides in the hearts of that congregation, believe me, even through the obvious imperfections, you will see something in their lives that cannot be explained by human will or effort in possessing real love! A friend of mine who recently came to Christ can attest to such an experience. Read the Bible as well, as slowly or quickly as it draws you. Be honest with yourself, God, and friends in expressing your reactions to it.
Amy, if it's not confidential, what was the setting and topic of which you publicly spoke?
RIsoldier: Fear is a liar. It persuades you that it is stronger than it really is. And fear is a thief, because it steals the worship that belongs to God by persuading us to focus on whatever we fear instead of Christ. If you read my (following) response to this blog, you'll see that I still battle this sin of fear, but Christ has given me a lot of victory over the last year through revealing that whatever we fear, we are worshiping it instead of God. It has been a matter of repenting of fear (distrust of God) and trusting Jesus and his power in order to tear down these idols, one at a time. I have had some great victories, such as being healed from PTSD. Even after great victories, however, I have had some paralyzing anxiety attacks (just last night I had a severe attack and had to call a friend to pray for me and speak truth to me because it got so bad that I couldn't even make sense of what I was reading in my Bible). But be encouraged: victory is possible. And however hard it is, keep reading your Bible, and find friends to pray with/for you. The truth in it is one of your strongest weapons against fear. I speak to myself as well as to you in all these statements.
DPimental: I agree that doing something like high-rock jumping into water can help in overcoming fears in other areas of our lives. It's like fighting against a couple of bullies: if you take out one of them, the other loses courage without his sidekick. For me, I chose a safer alternative: indoor rock wall climbing, with a rope and a helmet.
Response to blog: It's amazing how I can read the same verses a thousand times, and suddenly, something I never saw before becomes obvious. I never saw verse 6 and 7 as connected to each other until I read this blog, but of course they are since they're right next to each other! The situation it describes is exactly where I'm at with my new temporary job. I know God has called me to it, and he has promised that he has gifted me spiritually for it (though "in the natural" I am not gifted for it). Yet I have frequently listened to fear and discouragement, and my obedience to remain at the job has been reluctant and whiny. Meanwhile, he is calling me to do exactly what these verses (and blog) exhort: to let go of fear, to let go of the belief that I can't do this, and to fan into flame the gift he gave me with joy. Why am I so stubborn, so afraid to acknowledge any goodness in this job and this call?
Thank you all for sharing your experiences with me regarding your battles with fear. I appreciate so much the conversation that has been started here. To answer your question DPimentel, I was actually called up in front of my church to talk about blogging for Boundless. It was completely a surprise. I found out later that my brother and sister-in-law knew my pastor wanted me to share about Boundless, but they didn't tell me because they knew I would find an excuse not to be there that day, haha. Public speaking is one of those things that makes me more uncomfortable than most other things I could be asked to do. I get so nervous my voice shakes, and there is nothing I can do or say to myself to stop it. I haven't figured out why because I it never used to be a problem until I got to high school. I don't remember having a traumatic public speaking experience, so I'm not sure where it came from or why it suddenly became a problem!
Wow Amy! This is right on with what I tell people all the time! I love this post! My favorite part is when you said "God has prepared you for this moment." That's so true. Too many times I have seen believers receive a call, and deny it just because they didn't see a column of fire fall from heaven. I really hope you have more to say on this topic! I would love to hear it. If you want, you can see what I talk about on my blog.
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