What You Must Do to Live Fearlessly

My husband’s work hours have been crazy due to the recent natural disasters. He was called into work every Sunday in October. I had just returned from a speaking engagement.

Fearless
(Image by Samuel Foster on Unsplash)

I had yet to unpack . . . I was tired.

Church is often a struggle for me. It’s tragically amazing how creative my excuses can be for not going to church. (Notice I said “excuses” and not “reasons.”)

I really did not want to go to church last Sunday.

We all have justifications for not attending church:

  • Illness
  • Relocation
  • Caring for a disabled loved one
  • Work

I get it. We make excuses to get out of something we don’t want to do, because we want to do something else—or nothing at all.

For example, instead of going to church, I wanted to sleep in, sip coffee, and surf the net in my soft, cozy bed. (Last time I did that, I was on VACATION.) Obviously, I created an excuse rather than a valid reason for not going to church.

On the other hand, my son Jon was ready to go—an hour early. Because he usually struggles far more than I can imagine, his “ready-to-go” presence made me feel like the Holy Spirit was sitting on the couch waiting for me to get over my lazy self and get out the door.

The Truth Is . . .

The truth is, something besides the allure of my cozy bed lurked, trying to keep me homebound. It was fear.

God created us to have a fabulous physiological “fear response” when danger is present, which works automatically. However, in this threat-duping world of ours, actual threats mingle with perceived dangers, and our automatic response harms us instead of helps us.

The distorted fear response shows up in countless ways, but here are two very common responses:

  1. Avoidance: We focus on the PAST and promise ourselves we will never be put in THAT position or endure THAT experience EVER AGAIN!
  2. Anxiety: We focus on the unknown FUTURE, assume danger is ahead, and choose whatever behavior we hope will keep us safe. Often, we choose to resist or avoid all circumstances that cause anxiety to surface.

The truth is that the enemy loves for us to be held captive to our fears. When fear poisons the root of our lives, it distorts how we see our . . .

  • Reality
  • Interactions with others
  • Choices
  • Attitudes
  • Physical health and physiology
  • Our beliefs and behaviors

We can’t grow well when our roots are diseased, when fear starves us of our enthusiasm and removes our passion. Most significantly, fear blocks us from the nourishment of God’s work and guidance in our daily lives.

Fundamentally, trust and fear wage war within our souls. Like oil and water, they separate us from living as God longs for us to live. We are offered a choice each day: live imprisoned by fear or embraced by God as we choose to trust Him.

It’s a Daily Process

For me, and maybe you as well, living in trust instead of fear is a daily process. I am choosing to trust that God is my healer, protector, provider, refuge, and strength.

Trusting Christ does not remove us from pain and sorrow in this life; it instead provides a way for us to persevere through our pain and sorrow because Christ walks with us with an understanding we can’t imagine. He’s been there, and nothing we encounter is beyond His power.

The choice is ours to make, which is not easy when one has experienced abuse, wounds, betrayal, or the worst this world dishes out. (That pretty much includes us all, doesn’t it?)

Because people in the church have hurt me, I make excuses to avoid attending. Instead of admitting “I’m afraid,” I hide behind, “Oh, how I wish I could be on vacation.” How tragically creative is that!

The Holy Spirit was at work through Jon before we finally headed out the door. After settling into my seat, amazing things began to happen. It was like God had read my mail, knowing that I needed to reaffirm the choice to trust Him one more time.

Fearlessly

(Image by Samuel Foster on Unsplash)

As I sat in the service, I realized it was a celebration. It had been 19 years since Stonebriar Community Church held its first meeting. My dad asked me to start the children’s program, which included a special needs program.

It was one of the first in our area—a program desperately needed in every church today. I recalled those early months, as I didn’t know if Jon would live. He is now 20. God’s faithfulness was and is all over that.

Next, I looked over the passage we would study: 1 Corinthians 15:58 and 16:13–14. In the New Living Translation, they read:

So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless. . . . Be on guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong. And do everything with love.

Paul was exhorting Christians in Corinth to take on an attitude of strength. Just listen to the commands:

  1. Be strong (in faith)
  2. Be immovable (in faith)
  3. Work enthusiastically (God-infused strength)
  4. Be on guard
  5. Stand firm
  6. Be courageous
  7. DO EVERYTHING WITH LOVE

Strength from the Lord is a function of faith, not fear.

I copied those commands onto my bathroom mirror with a huge, black sharpie, and I say them out loud daily. Within my strength, I fail and the Enemy wins. BUT as I speak those commands, God reminds me that HE is the one infusing me with . . .

  • His strength
  • His stability
  • His wisdom
  • His firm foundation
  • His courage
  • His strength
  • His love

And to think: if I had given in to my fear, I would have missed out on the strengthening words of the Bible and the celebration of all God has done at Stonebriar!

Let Me Hear from You

Without Christ, fear would be a tipping point for distraction and destruction. It is only through Christ that fear is dismantled and the work of God continues.

So it is with all who choose to trust Christ . . . moment by moment, day by day. In 19 years, how will your life be defined? Will you be known as one who loved with a whole heart?

What are you doing today to take on the mind of Christ and to live fully in the freedom and strength of Christ? Let’s encourage one another to do that this week.

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  • Jennifer Van Allen

    yes, even though the church hurts us, we can not give up on the church. We just need to pray and make sure we are where God wants us and then forgive.

    • Jennifer,
      You are so right on…we cannot give up. Thanks for your encouragement today! Have a wonderful weekend.
      Oh, did you ever hear of the book “A Tale of Three Kings” by Gene Edwards? Written years ago but it’s fantastic on healing from “church” wounds.
      Great to connect today! Colleen

      • Jennifer Van Allen

        I will look into the book and thanks for sahring!

  • fabulous family of 5

    Funny thing is my first adopted is 19, easy, funny, kind, soft spoken and messy by accident. Because he was everything a mother could dream of, so we wanted more and adopted siblings. Oh my, they are opinionated, obstinate, passionate, opinionated. And one is destructive as he works through Reactive Attachment disorder, a form of PSTD. Your posts always speak to me. THANK YOU for following God’s leading. HUGS, from one SUPER HERO MOM to ANOTHER, empowered by God through His Holy Spirit.

    • I just had to start out with that from your name below because you are totally FABULOUS! I cannot imagine….RAD is one of the most difficult, trying, exhausting challenges out there. What an amazing mother you are to have taken these precious ones under your wings and are loving them back to life. Way to go! SO glad the blog speaks to your soul! I would love to hear more about the family…yes, opinionated, obstinate, ….raising kids is a work of humility and GRACE and more GRACE and more….
      Great to connect and hope to hear from you again soon! Colleen

  • Missy Wang

    Colleen what timing . What a post I have God bumps .
    I just wrote this private thought down like 20 minutes from seeing your post. Here is my thought. Mind you directly from my heart and heavy on my mind .
    “Just sitting here thinking . As Christians we are called to love people. To love and do life with each other . Why is it people pull back when it gets messy ? Is it fear? Is it a learned trait from this world to only allow someone in so far ? Is it because the world usually takes a bite and hurt is left ? Why can we not see when someone truly cares and loves you like your suppose to be loved and will walk through the fire with you that you put up a wall? So easier to believe the lies of this world and recoil inward . Don’t do it . Don’t hide . Why is it easier to fear then love ? Why is it hard to believe? We can believe Jesus loves us but is that only through the “good”times ? Is it hard to believe he sends others to walk along side us and fulfill his plan in each of our lives and he demands that they love? If you look at love like a heart ❤️. Half are the goods thing of love , family , friends and relationships. The other half all the hurt , chaos , and mess. Why do we only walk around with half a heart ? You will never live fully in Gods plan if you leave the other half out. You miss opportunity. I’ve been told I wear my heart on my sleeve and yes I admit that but I’m learning to use it according to Gods Will. I would rather love greatly and take the bad with the good. Feeling emotion is a gift . It’s a good gift when God uses it to see others and their circumstances beyond my own. This world wears me out but I will fight and stand for God, my family , and everyone else whom I love. There is no choice . ”
    Love is so needed in this world if only we would not fear . Thank you Colleen for posting . God amazes me so much.

    • Missy,
      THAT is totally incredible….I guess God’s got us on His radar! Even some of the words were the very same…it’s just amazing. You are so right…we walk around with half a heart and God’s desire is to heal the other half so we are fully His and fully alive. I think the enemy loves us to be fearful and isolated. I was just talking with someone the other day about how isolation keeps us from connecting which, we have to ask how is God able to work through us if we remain shut down or closed off??? It’s a big struggle for me, it is for you so let’s just encourage one another. I need to write down the positive experiences because the mind remembers the negative ones so much more than the positive ones. I bet it would be cool to see how many times God’s dropped a little love our way and we would have missed it if we only focused on self-protection and fear. You are a total encouragement to me, love hearing from you sweet friend. How is life around your place otherwise? Colleen

      • Jennifer Van Allen

        Really encouraging! Thank you for y’all sharing.

        • Jennifer, It’s an older copy so the title may have changed but his work is fantastic! Let me know if you need help with it or anything else.
          Have a great weekend. Colleen