Do It Afraid

shutterstock_192059996Fear. Faith. Fear. Faith. FEAR. FAITH! Like a chant I kept putting one foot in front of the other. Wanting to cry one second and hyperventilate the next. All the while knowing that I had to do it. Like an invisible rope pulling me forward, I knew that the decision I was making was the right decision. Albeit one of the hardest ones I have ever had to make.

Ever had one of those decisions? You dread it, try to talk God out of it, procrastinate, but in the end you know that it is the only way. And you are scared out of your mind. At this point, you could become paralyzed in your fear – going over every “what if” scenario known to man. Question if you really heard God? Maybe you should pray one more time, you might get a different answer. You call everyone you know just to see what they say about your current situation. And yet, still, you know.

Many years ago I heard Joyce Meyer say something I have never forgotten, “Do it afraid.” Some things in life do not come easy, or in cute little gift packages waiting to be opened. Some things in life are designed to challenge us and cause us to grow. Push us past the comfort zone, requiring use of feelings and thought processes we may not be familiar with – or not want to become familiar with.

Very recently I have had three separate issues going on at the same time, but all three teaching me the same lesson. I had a problem with taking ownership of things that were not mine to carry. I was causing undue anxiety on myself. This was a learned behavior mind you, but one that I had not clearly identified before until I had a very short conversation with a wise woman who called it on the carpet – quick. And it was like the sun shined down on this brain of mine and my eyes were opened. In my particular case, I was concerned with how people would act or respond to me in light of some things I needed to do in each situation. Fear. Each separate issue needed to be taken care of, and I was not being hurtful or uncaring to any individual in any way, but I still felt anxiety about how things would turn out.

Do it afraid. This has been my mantra the last week. Do it afraid. Do it afraid. This has actually been the year of “Do it afraid.” From ending an unhealthy friendship earlier in the year, to now changing my home address. I am having to do it afraid. There have been tears – many, many tears. But there has also been hope. A wind beneath my wings that I can’t quite describe to you.

Throughout this time, I have made it a point to keep my mind stayed on Jesus. For me, that means that no matter what, I have been including Him in my mental wanderings and have gotten down on my face and cried out to Him to keep me through anything and everything I was feeling. I have asked for Him to show me the truth, and to reveal things to me that I needed to know. I have spent time in His word and prayer and asked Him to give me strength and to keep me strong, constantly reminding myself that His grace is sufficient for me.

Doing it afraid does not mean you do it alone. Through this time God has strategically provided people who will pray with me, listen to me, encourage me – but most importantly, He has been there for me. Even last night, I was awoken with fears of what this new chapter of my life would be like and I was afraid. And instantly I felt peace, I felt Him wrap Himself around me and assure me that He would be there.

He will be there for you too. Do it afraid. If you are truly being led by God, you will be so glad you did.

Jamie Stapleton

 

Throw Out the Bootstraps

shutterstock_2607433I am sure that you have heard the saying “Pull yourself up by your bootstraps.”  As a young single parent, this was pretty much ingrained in my mind from the get-go.  I had an “I can do it all” mentality and I didn’t need anyone’s help.  The only problem being that I did – desperately.  In an effort to show the world how capable I was though and to prove everyone “wrong”, I slapped on the mask that I was strong and had total control.  My bootstraps were pulled so many times over the years that a commercial appearance my hands will not make.  And no one ever tells you how exhausting pulling those bootstraps can make you – just a rant.

Fast forward now to my kids being teenagers and me being a much wiser woman, I have discovered truly how much my decision-making was influenced by my lack of a father in my own life.  I really did not feel that I had someone I could depend on, so all that left was me.  And this in turn severely affected my relationship with my heavenly Father.  I had no problem trusting that God was who He said He was…it was more of not trusting that He was going to do what He said He would.  I wasn’t even sure what that looked like.  I had been let down a lot by men in my life who had said a lot, but showed very little.  The walls were fortified by unmet needs and broken promises.  I desperately wanted help, but I truly did not know how to let the help in.  I was afraid to allow myself to be vulnerable, because that was a sign of weakness.  Or so I believed.  I didn’t realize that true vulnerability makes you strong, if you are vulnerable in a safe place, with someone who truly has a great heart and is full of love.

I have made many decisions in my life that have led to unsavory outcomes and in all honesty, because they were usually things that I knew better than to do, I didn’t feel like I had the right to ask for help or seek compassion.  Shame and guilt clouded my perception and caused me to believe that I would get rejected.  This kept me bound for a long time because I was scared to be rejected and that kept me from seeking the help I truly needed.  In God’s love and amazing wisdom, He brought me to a place where once and for all, I could finally kick that fear to the curb and let those fortified walls come crumbling down.  And he did it gently I might add, giving me strength to take one baby step of faith at a time.

If you have been struggling, but have been afraid to reach out and ask for help, my charge to you, my plea to you, is to throw out those bootstraps and take that first baby step of faith. Life is so much sweeter when done together and you will find that when you take that first step of faith, your trust will grow.  Not only is He who He says He is, but He will do what He says He will do.  He will plant you in a place that you can grow, He will provide the water and the seed, and your only job will be to receive the love, grace and mercy He pours out on you.

“Come to me, I’m all you need, come to me, I’m your everything…” (Bethel Music)

Even if you don’t have a great relationship with your earthly father, your Heavenly Father says to you:  It’s ok my daughter.  I have never left you, nor will I ever leave you.  Your knowledge of me does not negate my foreknowledge of you.  I have planned and prepared you for such a time as this.  What you think is broken is beautiful in my sight.  If you trust Me with your heart, I will make everything right.

– Written by Jamie Stapleton