Don’t Be Afraid, but Prepare Yourself

Warning, there may be triggers in this post for people who do not like reading about violence or psychosomatic responses. Proceed with caution, hug an animal/teddy bear, and breathe.

When God created us, God gave us reflexes, which are meant to protect us. If we’re driving on the road and a giant truck is speeding the wrong way toward us, we have every reason to respond in fear, since that truck could potentially kill us. In the face of dangerous situations, adrenaline rushes through our body and tells us to fight, flight, or freeze.

I love the reminder that “God does not call the qualified, he qualifies the called.” However, I think we need to define what that looks like. God calls us to do impossible things with his strength, but he does not leave us empty handed. We may be unqualified when he calls us to a task, but when we actually do the task, he will have prepared us through trials and acts of faith. When we look at Scripture and the people who were used of God despite their fear, we see that God prepared them to conquer the giants in their way.

Due to his prejudice and the reputation that the Ninevites had, Jonah, despite being a prophet of God, did not want to speak judgment over those people. He ran in the exact opposite direction of where God was calling him. Nevertheless, God chased down Jonah and prepared him to follow his will. Jonah spent two days in the belly of a large fish, praying and seeking God. God used those trials to grow Jonah’s faith and to prepare him for the task of calling the Ninevites to repentance.

Moses was eighty years old when he got the call from God to lead the people out of Egypt. Although Moses was afraid, God had molded Moses’ life as a shepherd who was raised by Pharaoh’s daughter, so that Moses had influence to speak to Pharaoh and had wisdom to lead the Israelites.

Mary was a teenager when the angel Gabriel spoke to her and told her that she would give birth to the Messiah and then raise him to walk in the way of God. Her response? She was afraid! She was engaged to Joseph, who probably would be wondering how a baby got inside of her. Also, did I mention that she was a young teenager? Nevertheless, God had prepared her to hear the prophecy from Gabriel through her years of faith, and I am certain that God used the pregnancy to grow her faith to where she could raise the Messiah and give glory to God through His birth.

These people from the Bible, in addition to several others, were scared, but they were also prepared. When you’re faced with fear, it is important to take several steps. First, think about what actually makes you afraid. “What about flying on an airplane or confronting my boss or walking around my neighborhood scares me? What’s the worst that can happen?” You may get some healing from simply asking yourself that question, especially when your fears are irrational.

However, if you discover that your fear is legitimate (whether you’ve faced trauma that almost killed you, or the fear paralyzes you), you need to ask yourself, “Am I prepared to face my fear?” I personally have a fear of planes, but I love to travel. Once I buy a plane ticket, I research how long the flight will be, I think of fun activities to do while on the flight, I stock up on essential oils and natural calming products, and I pray. Even if I book a flight months in advance, I do all these things, because I obsess about my future safety.

If you’re afraid of getting attacked by a person with a weapon, unless you are an armed police officer who is trained in self-defense, you are not prepared to face your fear. If you’re afraid of skydiving but you want to jump without a parachute, you are not prepared to face your fear. Fears are healthy when our bodies know we are not prepared to deal with that dangerous situation. Before being a hero, be patient with yourself and go through the training you need to conquer your fears.

How can you use these steps to prepare yourself for the next time you face your fears?

Photo by chuttersnap on Unsplash

Throwback Thursday

Like a Wife (#tbt to Preparing for Marriage)

Last year, I shared what I learned while preparing for my wedding.  Well, my husband and I have enjoyed nine months of wedded bliss since I posted this.  Honestly, we’re still waiting for it to become true that “it goes by fast.”  We feel like we’ve been married for our entire lives, even though it’s only been a few months.  I’m not sure what that means, but we’re loving it!

The post I wrote last year showed up on my Facebook memories about a week ago.  Right around that time, my husband and I had started a Bible plan on YouVersion called “Your Home Matters.”  Up until the very end of the plan (where they used the wrong verse to make a point), my husband and I appreciated the encouragement that this plan offers to have a more intentional view of marriage.  God has a bigger plan for us as a couple, and that plan is much bigger than ourselves.

On our wedding day, we made a vow to love each other and be faithful to each other until death separates us.  Just as Christ is faithful to us, we are called to be faithful to one another.  Just as Christ sacrificed His life for us, we are to consider each other more important than ourselves.  Just as the Holy Spirit helps us live as God wants us to live, we are called to help each other and guide each other to the Truth.

And although I say “just as,” God is way more faithful than we can ever be; when we fall short, God does not.  We can praise God when our spouses show us faithfulness, and we can praise God when our spouses miss the mark.

I challenged you to put just as much effort into preparing for the second coming of Christ as you do into planning for a wedding (obviously, you should put more effort into preparing for the second coming of Christ, but we have to start somewhere!).  My new challenge is to put just as much effort, if not more, into your relationship with Christ as you do in investing in your marriage.  In addition to this, we should aim to emulate our love for Christ in our marriage.

Here’s how my husband and I invest in our marriage:

  • Dedicated date time: We make time together an absolute priority.  No matter what we do together, we make sure our phones are off, our minds are focused, and our conversations are centered around improving our relationship.
  • Praying together: Every night before bed, we turn to each other and say a prayer for our marriage, our jobs, and our walks with Christ.  Hearing my husband’s heart for me and his desire for my well-being grows me closer to him.
  • Open communication: Whenever we have a problem, we talk about it right away.  We constantly work to make communication more open and understandable between the two of us.

Unfortunately, when my husband and I die, our marriage will be over.  However, my relationship with Jesus will always be.  Jesus is forever faithful to me, and He has granted me eternal life with Him.  So, considering I’m going to be spending the rest of forever with Jesus, I should be constantly trying to learn more about Him.

Here are some ways that we can grow closer to Christ in our daily lives:

  • Dedicated devotional time: I have to admit, marriage makes it more difficult to find a set time to spend with the Lord.  I usually listen to worship music on my drive to work, or I’ll read the Bible for a few minutes in the morning before I leave. Whatever amount of time you can give to God will be fruitful.
  • Prayer: Prayer is open communication to God.  Be honest with Him.  Even if you’re struggling to get out of bed, wishing you didn’t have work…share your heart with God.  Then, listen to what He says.  Read the Bible (which records what God has said and continues to speak to us today).  Be still and wait patiently for His peace.
  • Community: We were never meant to do life alone.  God created us for community.  When we spend time with people who have surrendered their lives to Christ and seek to encourage us, we can appreciate how God works in and through them as well.  This allows us to give glory to God for His power to redeem.

The Bible says that in the last days, the Church will be presented to Christ as a bride in fine linen (Revelation 19:7-8).  Are you ready for the ultimate marriage ceremony?

Photo by Thomas Curryer on Unsplash