Welcome back to Faithful Friday! My name is Jamie and I struggle with fear. However I am a grateful believer in Jesus Christ and there is no doubt in my mind that He created a good plan to deal with that fear.
As I told you on Monday, I work with children…..ALL WEEK LONG!!
I work with kids during the week, kids on Wednesday nights, kids on Friday nights, kids on Sunday mornings, and on my days off I have Mimi days and play dates.
I love what I do! It’s the best (and one of the hardest) jobs there is. It has so many blessings, but it comes with so much responsibility. And with responsibility comes fear. Fear of failure. Fear of letting one slip through the cracks. Fear of leading one down the wrong path. Fear of not recognizing the signs of abuse. Fear of not catching a disability soon enough to ensure early intervention. Fear of how I’ve already screwed up because I wasn’t there for my own kids because I got so wrapped up in everyone else’s.
I’ve worked with kids for over ten years now. And you would think I would just get comfortable or settled into my position, but this has never been the case for me.
For most of the ten years I have worked at the same church in pretty much the same role. But it seems like it is ever changing and change also scares me. And even though I have proven myself faithful and loyal, I still have a very real fear that tomorrow I will go into work and they will say, “You just aren’t good enough.” I am afraid they will say we have found someone better, someone younger, someone more energetic, someone more creative, someone not divorced….and so on. You get the idea.
And as hard as this job is, I love it with every fiber of my being. I love my church. I love the staff. I believe I have fasted and prayed over their situations more than my own. It was my knees on their hardwood floor when their child was going through something.
So why all this fear?
On Monday I referred to a verse about Satan seeking to devour us. Here is that verse:
Be sober and self-controlled. Be watchful. Your adversary the devil, roams around like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour (1 Peter 5:8).
I have been watching a sermon series called “Triggered: Taking Back Your Mind in the Age of Anxiety.” Pastor Steven Furtick breaks this verse down very effectively. The thing that stood out to me was the fact that Satan is not a lion. There is only one Lion of Judah and that is Jesus Christ and He will prevail! He is by His very nature Victorious!! The verse says the devil is LIKE a lion. He has a mighty roar. He is loud. He seeks to devour. We know from God’s word that the battles we fight are spiritual. Sometimes those battles take a toll on our flesh but the main struggle is in our spirit (subsequently in our mind). I believe what Satan seeks to devour is our minds.
Satan longs to devour our minds and disable us from doing the work that God has called us to do! God has given all of us a job to do. I had the privilege of teaching a lesson to a group of awesome people at our Celebrate Recovery service last Friday. I talked about the job that God has called me to do.
Jesus declared, “No one who puts his hand to plow and looks back is fit for service in the Kingdom of God” (Luke 9:62).
I have made a commitment. I have put my hand to plow. I don’t want to look back. But Lord help me if I hear something behind me that sounds like a lion; I’m really scared that I might look back to see what it is.
So what can I do? How do I keep pushing that plow and working for the Kingdom and serving God and the children in the ministry he’s called me to?
I have to know without a shadow of a doubt that my God is the real lion and if He is behind me, there is nothing I should fear.
But sometimes I get confused about the voices I hear in my mind. Are these roars coming from God or from Satan? I have to have a sound mind. I have to know WHO it is behind me. I have to know WHO it is surrounding me:
You hem me in from behind and before; You have placed your hand of protection upon me (Psalm 139:5).
Shortly after my divorce from the father of my two most prized possessions, I was alone in the living room of the two bedroom single wide trailer I had rented for us. Jordan (my girl) was in one room and Grayson (my boy) was in the other and I was sleeping on the couch. I couldn’t afford anything bigger and they were too old to share a room. We were in a new town. It was a fairly quiet trailer park, but our trailer butted up to a small graveyard. I was only 23 and scared to death. I wasn’t really living a life that anyone would look at and say, “She sure know who her Creator and King is.”
But that night I began to pray. I begged God to make me feel safe. I begged Him to protect me and my children. I begged Him to anoint that trailer and fill it with joy and laughter. I begged Him to put of hedge of protection around those walls.
You see although my parents were far from perfect and I was exposed to way more things than a little girl should be exposed to, God had also strategically placed some very spiritual people in my path. I remember hearing my Aunt Barbara (and my mom who was with her) anoint her new house when the construction was complete and she was about to move in. She walked down every hall and covered every single tile on the floor and door frame. She prayed with such fervor that she began to speak in tongues. I have never been a fan of that because doggone it, I’m just too nosy to not know what’s being said.
But that night in my little trailer after a few minutes of praying some of those same things I heard her pray, I had to come up off that couch. The praise that was coming out of my mouth was too ridiculous to let out from a lying position. I couldn’t contain it.
The joy that came from knowing He had me….indescribable.
I can’t say I immediately began living for the Lord or made any real life changes, but I never forgot how He showed up when I needed Him.
So…how can we be sober-minded? How can we be vigilant? How can we be on the lookout for this devil who roars LIKE a lion and seeks to destroy our minds?
Three simple things. Things you already know. Things that I will just confirm for you. Things you will draw upon when you can’t take the roaring inside of your own mind anymore.
1. Renew your mind daily. You’ve got to stop staring at your situation and start staring at God. This happens only through prayer and bible study. You have to get to know your Creator and King on a personal level. You have to know His promises. We get overcome with fear when we think we have the power to make a difference. We do have access to power, but it’s only by God working in us and through us. Paul said when I am strong then I am weak. It is God’s grace working through us to accomplish all things. When we look at things through the lens of God’s grace and God’s plan for how He wants to use us, suddenly our situation doesn’t seem that unmanageable.
2. Surround yourself with a fellowship of believers who can encourage you and speak truth to your situation when you can’t see it for yourself. You need sisters in Christ, mentors, sponsors, accountability partners. My pastor, Rodney Pearce, just preached on this very thing this past Sunday. You need church. The Church doesn’t need you. God will do what He wants with His church with or without you. I have seen it with my own eyes. I have refused to be obedient in the past and then I had to sit back and watch (devastatingly) as someone else did what I knew God has called me to do. (And they received the blessing)
3. Praise the Lord. You have to have a heart of worship. You have to spend time appreciating what He has already done and what He is going to do instead of focusing on what you think He’s not doing this very moment.
I was complaining to Him recently about a particular person was treating me. During this session of whining I had received three very detailed and encouraging texts from amazing women of God who He has blessed me with. I was glad they texted and cared, but I was in the middle of complaining and didn’t care to be interrupted. (Humor intended here). God spoke to me very clearly: “Jamie, if you would be more grateful for the people I have placed in your life than bitter about the people I haven’t taken out, you would be much happier. Look at these amazing people I have given you.” I was humbled as I always am when He speaks to me. Y’all the Creator of the whole world took time out of His busy day to listen to me complain and then had a special answer just for me. It brought me to joyous tears, actually ridiculous sobbing.
I love Him so much. He deserves so much praise and worship. I am falling in love more and more with Christian artists who pour their hearts out to create songs that are played on Youtube so that I can enter into his courts with thanksgiving and a heart of praise.
So barring chemical imbalances and mental disorders that require medical care, I believe we can overcome our fears. We can one hundred percent put on the armor of God and go to battle. Your one weapon: the sword, God’s Word, the Bible. Read it. Memorize some scripture today. My go to these past few weeks has been Psalms. I have particularly fallen in love with Psalm 84 and Psalm 139.
Most of the time I have found when fear is getting the best of me is when God is about to do a mighty work in my life. I need Him. I need His direction. I need His vision for my future. You need it too. Seek Him!! Seek Him with all your heart today! Blast those worship songs in your car. Subscribe to that Youtube channel. Drown out that fake roar of sharp words that wants to cut you down and tells you you’re not good enough. Fear is a liar…just ask Zach Williams.
Let me pray for us:
Father we need you. Please give each of us a sound mind. Please calm our fears and give us a heart of worship and praise. Let us be grateful for every weakness, and trial, and persecution. For you are enough. Your grace is enough. Let us lift your name up high whenever the enemy tries to break us. Let us remind him that his roar doesn’t scare us because we know the real Lion of Judah who has sent an angel of armies to fight with us and surround us on all sides. Let all that we do give you glory. Take our attitudes, our actions, our work, our best efforts and multiply them to Kingdom size accomplishments. I love you Father. You are always good, You do all things well, and You are in control!!