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Turning fear into faith

I am a type-A, anal control freak…and I’m not afraid to admit it. But what do these attributes of my personality really say about me? I’m just plain afraid! I’m afraid of letting go of any control that I think I have. Afraid that if I do my world will come crashing down. As a believer, though, my confidence should be in the Lord, not myself. Where is my faith in Him? Did I just forget that God–the maker of heaven and earth–is much bigger than I am? Where can I find faith?

There are so many instances in the Bible where God showed the people His glory in the midst of impossible situations. He brought Jesus back from the dead!

A book that I’ve been reading takes a look at the issue of turning fear into faith. The author took the story of Jesus walking on water (Matthew 14:22-32) as an instance when Jesus’ disciples let their faith override their fear. Several lessons can be learned from this story.

  • Obey fully– sometimes we don’t know why we feel God is calling us to do something, especially when it’s something that we might not feel compelled to do. We need to obey Him and trust that He has a plan and that we will be taken care of no matter what.
  • Accept God’s comfort– just because we’re obeying God doesn’t mean it’s not going to feel scarey…going into unknown territory isn’t comfortable for many people. Remember what it feels like to have a parent hug you and comfort you after a nightmare? This is what our Father is doing for us.
  • Keep a childlike faith– how many little kids are completely logical in their everyday thinking? Mine still think the bathtub drain will swallow them up if they get too close! As adults we take logic a step too far when it comes to obeying God…we rationalize why it’s not a good idea, why there’s no way that we can live the way God is asking us to live. God asks us to step out of our comfort zones in seemingly illogical ways but having that childlike faith in Him, that he will take care of us, can help us step out of those zones into the unknown.
  • Listen for God’s invitation– “Stepping out in faith outside God’s will is foolishness” (Savage, 2009). Listen to God, have a conversation with Him and hear His invitation.
  • Get out of the boat– Just as Peter took that first step out of the boat to walk on water toward Jesus (Matthew 14:29) we too need to get out of the proverbial boat and walk toward Jesus trusting that He won’t let us drown.
  • Keep focused on Jesus– When Peter took his eyes off Jesus he began to sink…this can very easily happen to us. Our doubts begin to surface and fear wells up in every crevice of our bodies when our eyes aren’t on our Savior.

I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken. ~Psalm 16:8

  • Grab God’s hand– you may not feel His hand necessarily in the most expected ways…He might be reaching out via other followers or situations. He has amazing ways of sending us encouragement at just the right times.
  • Recognize the value of storms in our lives– It’s not easy for some to reach out in our darkest hours and it’s definitely not easy to recognize that there is value to these times. But these are the times when our faith has the potential to grow exponentially as does our intimacy with the Lord.
  • Respond with worship– Give credit where credit is deserved. Praise Him, thank Him, tell others of His works in you!

Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.” ~Matthew 14:33

Resource: Savage, Jill. Real Moms…Real Jesus: Meet the Friend Who Understands (Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers, 2009).


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Falling asleep at the wheel

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.

Matthew 11:28

(Image courtesy of Schonfeld Photography)

Do you ever have days where you forget to pray, days when you probably need to pray the most? Pray that you can find one extra ounce of energy to stay awake at the wheel of life? Those days seem to just drag on, and on, and on…you get the picture. Today has been one of those days for me.

I found myself ready to get up and go first thing in the morning. I took our dog around a local lake for a quick workout while my husband loaded the four kiddos in the car and dropped Gracie off at school. I was excited to get out in the fresh, brisk Colorado air and just breathe. About halfway around the lake, however, I hit a wall and looking ahead at what I had left to jog felt like I was looking into eternity! “You can do it Noell, not much farther!” I kept telling myself.

Fast forward to the rest of the day…doing laundry just to avoid playing with my babes, perusing the internet as a way to zone out. At one point Jeannie, who just got her cast off of her leg, falls with a huge thud from the kitchen chair. Oh crap!! What a “wake up call”! What the heck am I doing?! Thoughts of rushing her to the hospital with another fracture, run through my mind. What would I say when asked what happened? “Oh, well I was staring at the computer instead of watching my little girl, no biggie,” yeah right!

The rest of the day was an emotional roller coaster. One minute I found the motivation to rough-house and give piggyback rides, the next minute I’m pulling my hair out because all four kids are screaming. When will the day end?! Normally I would try to take a deep breath and ask God for mercy but today I completely forgot…and you know what? God gave me mercy anyway! He was still there with me encouraging me throughout the screaming, the spaghetti dinner on the floor, the kids fighting and talking back to their mama. He was still there giving me the strength to get through the day. I made it and only because of Christ carrying me through it all! Hallelujah!

And it all starts again tomorrow!