If anyone were to ask me what my greatest flaw or weakness was, I would not hesitate to say it is fear. As much as I hate to admit it, because with every fiber of my being I want to be brave, fear has always had a funny way of controlling my life. The worst part is that when fear truly gets its way with me, I feel like I become someone else. Instead of walking in God’s grace and light, I begin to shut down and hide.
Lately, fear has been heavily on my mind as I am about to face what I consider my greatest fear – childbirth. I can think back to when I first learned the truth about where babies come from and what my body was expected to do to prepare for that and all I’d have to endure while pregnant and then on top of that, the worst part, actually birth a human out of a very private area. I immediately decided that I would never have kids. Everything about it seemed invasive, embarrassing, uncomfortable, painful, and like something I just couldn’t do.
That fear only grew as I got older. I actually would beg God to allow me to not go through having a menstrual cycle just so it would be impossible for me to have a baby. When it started anyway, I celebrated that it was irregular, only happing maybe twice a year. For many years, I felt blessed by that. I thought God had answered my prayer to protect me from the horrifying experience of childbirth.
This fear was also part of what kept me away from dating, because I figured if I dated someone and that turned into a relationship, one day I might get married – and oh no, what if that person expected me to have a baby? Of course, deep down I longed for God to bring me someone to marry, but as I prayed for Him to do so, the fear in me hoped that he would be someone who was not interested in having children.
In adulthood, especially once I got involved in children’s ministry, my heart began to soften like crazy toward kids. God worked very steadily on me until I wanted a baby more than anything in the world. He’d given me an amazing husband who I could tell would be a wonderful father, and I started longing to see him in that role. I wanted to see us have a family of our own and create life with him.
However, not terribly long after becoming pregnant, my old fears started to rise. Every week that passes, every kick I feel, every time I can’t fit into another piece of clothing – I find myself fretting delivering this baby. There were several instances where the doctor’s mentioned situations that could lead to a C-section, and honestly, a part of me cries, “PLEASE!”. I want to be put to sleep. I don’t want to know what’s happening. I just want a scheduled day and time and to be unconscious and not know I’m in pain until the baby is in my arms to distract me.
But another part of me knows that is wrong. I know what lies on the other side of this fear – deliverance. Not just the baby’s! But mine. I know that once I do this, I will have conquered a near lifelong fear that has grossly affected my attitude and actions for as long as I can remember. I will have faced all the pain, humiliation, violation, and uncertainty that has kept me up at night for the last 8 months.
And here’s the thing –
The Enemy knows this. The Enemy is the breeder of fear. Our minds do all the work, but all he has to do is drop the right thoughts around us and when we pick them up, we fall into his snare. Our lives are riddled with fears that are meant to pull us away from God’s plans and purposes. My last two posts were both about purpose and how to discern what God’s plans are for you. It isn’t until now that I’m seeing with stark clarity that one of the easiest ways to spot God’s plans, is how afraid we are of it.
God specifically promised this baby to me. She means the entire world to me already and has from the moment God declared this promise. I know that having her is God’s will for my life and that all His other plans for me are somehow entwined with this sweet girl. I know the dreams and hopes God has breathed into my soul are lying on the other side of this event – and maybe just because this event is what will teach me how to conquer fear. But one way or another, I know this is God’s plan.
So, when I look at the years of fear behind it, I see the Enemy. He has been trying to keep me away from bringing this little girl into the world for years – practically my whole life! That tells me she’s a big deal to him. And thattells me she’s a big deal to God. If the Enemy is trying that hard to keep me from having a child, then he must know something I don’t about what this child’s God-given purpose is and what will become of me and my husband as a result of this child.
Why else would he torment me for years over it?
Now, I’m not writing this as a pep-talk for myself (though it is helping!). I’m writing this to demonstrate a way that Satan tries to take us from our purposes. The Bible declares, arguably over 300 times, not to be afraid. God tells us not to fear more times than He tells us anything else. I could restate a thousand sermons on this, but I’ll leave it at this: if God repeated it that many times, it probably means it’s the chief way the Enemy seeks to throw us off course and lead us away from God.
Satan doesn’t want us to fulfill our purposes. He wants us to choose the safe route and to cower before man, circumstances, and our insecurities. He wants us to believe that the things in this world are bigger than us and the God we believe in. If we cower, we can’t be the light of the world. If we cower, our voices are muted. Our witness is cloaked. Our testimonies become dust. We don’t fulfill our callings, we don’t lead people to Christ, and honestly, fear can separate us from God. The way we draw closer to Him is through obedience and trust – we can’t do that if we are too afraid to do anything He tells us to do!
So, what’s the answer? How can we be brave and overcome fear and the Enemy? How do we discern and fulfill our purposes in Christ?
The answer is ironic.
God tells us not to be afraid, do not fear, fear not, etc. all throughout the Bible, but then He says to fear Him.
I’ve written on this before, so I’ll keep the definition short: fearing God is to be reverent of Him. This means we are so in awe of God and who He is that we don’t have time to worry about earthly fears. This doesn’t mean we won’t feel fear, because we are human, but we don’t give in to it. We don’t allow it to control us. We know that our God is so high above our humanly fears that we don’t need to surrender to them. We know that if God said to do it, He will make a way for it to happen.
Imagine if you were more afraid to disobey God (out of respect and love of Him, not fear of punishment) than you were afraid to face the things He’s led you to? Think about it. If you dwelled on His character and power, thought about His track record, thought about His love and sacrifice for you – doesn’t it belittle the obstacles you are afraid of? What if we started to question our fears and pray God would reveal to us the purposes in them? What if each time we had to make a big choice in life we considered which one we are hesitant about due to fear and actually took the time to question why the Enemy might try to keep us from it?
The Lord’s plans for us often seem too big for us. They might be appealing, you might even consider them your dreams, but often times we shut them down out of fear. Fear is nothing but a tool of the Enemy – a way to paralyze us or run us off. Fear is not of God nor is it from Him. Remember 2 Timothy 1:7 says, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.” God gives us tools to overcome fear! Power. Love. Self-discipline. And most importantly, Himself.
So, what are you afraid of?
Maybe it’s the very thing you were created to do.