We are at the end of our book study! What an amazing journey this has been. As I have said before, this is a book that will probably not find it's way to the donation pile :) I will read it, quote it and read it again.
God is calling us "-in our heart of hearts- to follow Him on the unpredictable, but exhilarating journey of life!"
If you've ever struggled with fear, you know there is truth in the following statements:
Fear is truly the enemy of passion and a roadblock to the wisdom God would give us.
Fear can breed a kind of paralysis that makes you think you have to wait until the fear is gone to do the thing you need to do.
...where the fear that stalks our souls and strangles the life of our hearts comes from resisting the gentle prodding of God to move out into life in some new way.
....we get stuck in a shrunken form of the life we are meant to have.
What is it (if anything) that you are afraid of? What is the one thing that is holding you back from living the life God meant for you to live?
I love this quote by Eleanor Roosevelt:
You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face....You must do the thing you cannot do.
When we operate in fear, we are being controlled by whatever it is that we are afraid of. We are accepting limits and boundaries placed on our lives by the thing that does not want us to succeed or move forward. When we move forward anyway, and DO IT AFRAID....we are taking back ground that was stolen from us and releasing ourselves from the chains that held us captive.
That we are afraid is not a mark of being insufficient to the task or made of inferior stuff. Risk is always part of the package (pg. 167).
The movement of God in our lives is always to take us by the hand and walk us through the territory of our fear. Sometimes that feels like the adventure it is - other times, we are led there kicking and screaming. But God leads in that direction because it is the place of encounter with Him (pg 161).
Fear comes in many different packages, colors, shapes and sizes. Our own insecurities are rooted fear. And if we let them, they will speak to us with "advice" that is not so Godly or encouraging! On this topic, Paula quotes Nicole Johnson on page 164, "These voices keep our souls chained in the basement. They make us fearful to try anything new, anxious about what others may think of us, and they keep us on the treadmill of performance (oh my, I've started that exercise program one too many times!). In short, if we allow them, these voices can easily rob every ounce of enjoyment from the lives we have. Many women don't even know they are giving power to the voices, living in a state of constant self-disapproval. Understand this: these voices can immobilize us and keep us from dreaming our dreams. They can discourage us and cause us to think too small and expect too little from our lives....They make us afraid to be who we are. The voices can keep us from writing books or changing careers or loving our children well......But only if we let them."
When we begin to trust God in spite of the fear whispering (or sometimes screaming) in our ear, and step out in faith to do that which He has told us to do, there we will find Him, His provision, and the grace we need to complete our task. In that place of trust, we begin to know Christ intimately. In that place of intimacy, in that place of KNOWING, we begin to BE. We begin to live the life we were meant to live.
A few questions from the back of the book to keep you thinking! (pg 233-237)
Do you ever see the smiles of confident women and think they are made of sturdier stuff? In what way do you identify with the tendency to wait until you no longer feel fear, rather than "doing it afraid"?
If your fear assumed a voice (which it does), what would it say to you? What does the harsh negative message in your mind sound like?
Now, as you pray, think of Jesus sitting with you in the place of your fear. What words of encouragement do you think He would speak to you?