They let me be me in all of my crazy, and I love them for it. Last Thursday it started, my Fear to Faith class, and as I stared into the faces of the twenty women I have been praying over for months…I was in awe. I was excited too. Also a little high strung on coffee, but ya know, that’s part of a woman’s study right?
To be honest they have no idea what to expect, we all know we are studying what God says about Fear and we all know our end game is Faith…but the in between I have left a mystery. Mostly because I don’t think words do justice to what God has in store. Secondly because I don’t want pre-determined fears to stop us from being there, really there, open to whatever God has in store each week. I promised them I have an outline, 10 weeks that I have prayerfully toiled over, studied, and lived through myself. But I am floored with their trust, and thankful that these women (who don’t know me) will come each week to be with me.
I wanted to share some with you too! Maybe, if you can’t be with us in person, you would like to study alongside of us and pray along with us. Here are a few challenges we established from the get go:
A Prayer Journal
For 10 weeks we are going to take the prayer journal challenge. All of our prayers, thoughts, struggles, tears, and learnings are to be written down in one place. Keeping record, hard ink record, of what is going on in our hearts over these weeks. Some of us do this all the time, others have never done it before…but we are going into the business of fear redemption and we don’t want to miss a beat. We want to be able to scroll back to the beginning, we want to be able to write down every answered prayer, we want to be able to confess every deep dark fear and SEE with our eyes what God does.
In order to be able to have a shot at fighting our loud, boisterous, and often all consuming fears we have to learn how to listen and hone in on the quiet still voice of the Holy Spirit…through which God wants to help us. We have to believe in Him first, we have to strive to know Him second, and we then have to listen for Him. So many days I sat on my bed crying, weeping because I felt all alone in my pain and sorrow. Google came up short again, kind words couldn’t help pain so deep, and no one knows your own pain and fear except…well…except you and God. Listening was my only prayer. Listening, hearing, and writing. I pray that over these next 10 weeks you might try too.
I joked in class about how at first I felt funny writing down what I heard God telling me. Like I was being blasphemous for putting God speak down in my journal or self conscious that someone would call me crazy. But those nudges? Those little heart prompts that you aren’t really sure what they are but they grab your attention? Write first, and test later. You can always scribble out or erase…but its a good practice to get into. This was a big way God used to encourage my heart and love on me in my darkest moments.
Day to Day Trust
I didn’t pass out a syllabus. What the heck kind of a teacher am I? I know its crazy, and I know I maybe should have…but we don’t…always…need…to…know right? I mean if you are me you need to know everything! Whats happening for breakfast? Whats happening after that? What’s happening tonight? Tomorrow too, I want to know what the plan is for tomorrow. Also next week, next month, Christmas time, and we had better start planning that summer vacation before the calendar fills up!! And its this exact need to know where so much fear can come from. We can’t know all the time. In fact most times even when we think we know, we don’t really. And so there is value, even in the small things, practicing day to day trust. That sure I will pencil in the fact that I will go to class, or commit to following from afar…but the details are God’s to fill in. Sure I will pencil in the commitment to get up in the morning, take my kids to school, and keep my coffee appointment with a friend…but the details are God’s to fill in. How about for 10 weeks, give a practice to not…needing…to know.
Those are some of the nitty gritty’s. I would love for you to journey with us too! As I told one of my good friends who is in the class…I really think God has something up His sleeve.
“Do Not Let Your Hearts Be Troubled” John 14:1
Do you trust Jesus? That really is the question. It is the question upon which everything in our lives, in the Bible, in our fears, and in our faith stands upon. Can we trust Him? I mean do we even believe He is trustworthy?
If the answer is “Yes,” if the answer for you is yes…I mean really yes, then it carries certain implications. It means that you believe Him when He says to you “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God. Trust also in me.” John 14:1
When Jesus said these words He was speaking to His disciples. The same disciples that, with just one sentence, Jesus trampled their expectations, hopes, dreams, and security. You see when Jesus told the disciples that He was going to die it meant He was NOT staying to establish the earthly kingdom they were hoping in. It meant that immense grief and sorrow was about to be theirs as they would watch their best friend and teacher be murdered. It meant that they too could be hanging on a cross to die in the name of Jesus. All these things were very true and very real circumstances for the disciples and has there ever been a better circumstance for fear to be an acceptable reaction? And what does Christ say? He says, “Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27
Jesus knew the world, He knew the pain, He knew the torment He himself was about to experience yet because He knew the power available to us through God, He could actually ask us to not…be…afraid.
So I say to you as I say to the beautiful, lovely, admirable, already inspiring women God put in my path. Can you really trust Jesus? Do His words mean anything to you? Think on it. Pray on it. Journal on it. And dig through the entire chapter of John 14.
Until next week know I thank God for you everyday. I know He has placed you here with me, together, a group that has cried together, prayed together, and admired God’s workmanship together. Together let’s see what He has in store next.