This month, I (Tracy) get to share with our FACETS readers one of my favorite people. Meet my friend Megan. She is kind, humble, and attentive and attuned to God’s leading. One of the things I love most about her is her willingness to be brave, in spite of fear, obediently stepping into what God has for her. I have been blessed to know her, and I’d love to pass that blessing on to you, our readers. Praying you will bravely step through any residual fear in your lives, as you read and are encouraged by Megan’s story.
Fear has been present in many different forms throughout my life. When I was 3 it was anyone (and I mean anyone) who would say “hi” to me. I would hide behind my mom and cry until they went away. My older brother was the opposite. He loved to yell “hi!” to all we passed and then loudly comment how rude they were when they didn’t respond. We were quite the pair.
As I grew up, though, the fears I faced slowly changed form to things like grades, the idea of perpetual singleness, “what if they knew”, back surgery and, sadly, leading worship. So, when I was asked to write in response to Can I trust God when I’m afraid?, it seemed rather appropriate given my long list. It also, though, led to many pages of scribbled words, songs, scriptures and generally incoherent thoughts as I tried to piece together where God was leading. My brain screamed “YES! Of course you can trust God!”, my heart right there behind it wanting so badly to agree, but my actions – they expose the truth.
The truth is, my fear is often much bigger than my trust.
I never thought of myself as a fearful person, even with all the previous listed items. The day someone asked me to help sing with the worship band and my prayers to God didn’t seem to be leading me away from it, was when I came to terms with my unreasonable and unexplainable fear. Standing with a microphone my heart races. My voice quivers. All I have practiced slips away. What remains is my doubt and an overwhelming fear. I hear every shaky note magnified by the microphone, hands trembling. Why can I worship freely, joyfully and confidently until someone hands me this silly microphone? It is as if every insecurity and fear I have ever felt chooses that moment to come up to the surface, leaving me incredibly vulnerable, blocking the praises of my heart.
There is something about being vulnerable –exposed, admitting you are imperfect, opening up to rejection. It is terrifying. It leaves me wanting to be just vulnerable enough I appear real and relatable, while hiding just enough I don’t really have to fear rejection or judgement. “What if they actually knew the real me? All of me?” I want to control my vulnerability, and the response of others. In these moments, my fear is much bigger than my trust.
So, can I trust God in these moments of fear? If I let go of my control, my pride, and my expectations and trust God with all my fears, then what am I left with?
I am left with my Heavenly Father. My Father who knows me, knows every thought, every fear, and He walks right beside me through all of them – never leaving me. He sees where I am today and he sees me on the other side, already victorious.
This is illustrated well in the story from Matthew 14 where Jesus sent His disciples ahead of Him, across the lake and said He would meet them there. He went up the hills alone to pray, and as night fell, He started walking across the water to meet them. Meanwhile, the disciples were in the boat in the middle of the lake fighting through stormy waves. They were terrified! Then, along comes Jesus, walking by them on the water and His disciples cried out in fear. Jesus said, “Do not be afraid. Take courage. I am here.”
Did Jesus send them out alone into a storm to battle on their own and just show up when He no longer thought they could handle it themselves? I don’t think so. He was asking them to trust Him.
When the disciples saw Jesus walking on water, Peter called out to Him, “Lord, if it’s really you, tell me to come to you, walking on the water.” Peter was able to walk towards Jesus on the water until he let himself look back to the storm, was overcome with fear and began to sink.
When Peter called out for help, Jesus immediately reached out to grab him. He didn’t let him drown. Jesus climbed into the boat with them, and His presence stopped the storm.
When Peter’s eyes were focused on Jesus, trusting Jesus, his storm was calmed (and he walked on water!). It was only when he allowed himself to look away he began to fear. Trusting in Jesus overpowered his fear.
I can trust God with my fear, because He is more powerful than my fear. While my fear may come and go, when I cry out to the Lord “Help!” and I focus my eyes on Him, my fear has no power over me. He will not let me drown.
Take reassurance from God’s message to the Israelites, His chosen people, in Isaiah 41:10 (NLT):
Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.
Trust the Lord with your fear, He sees your victory.
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