Hi Friends, I’m resting at home and hope you’re doing well, too. I wanted to share the below with you via video but it didn’t work out. Praying that God uses it to speak to your heart!
I’ve found that people will either cower away from hard situations or charge forward with courage. As for the cowardly lion in the classical movie, The Wizard of OZ, he did both. Of all the OZ characters, I best identify with him. Like the lion, I believe I could do anything if I only had the nerve. The trouble is that in scary situations the only “nerve” I have is a nervous stomach. Yet, I’ve faced some pretty hard circumstances in my life and I’ve discovered that I’m more courageous than I ever dreamed. One of the hurdles that took real courage was my first speaking engagement.
I was asked to give a devotional to the band members of a Christian school as they prepared to compete with other high school bands at the state competition. On my way to the school that fall morning, my heart was full of joy. I was eager and well prepared to speak to the teens. All was going well until I pulled into the school’s parking lot.
Suddenly, I was paralyzed by fear. With my hands frozen to the steering wheel of the car, I couldn’t move. I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t believe I had said, “Yes” to speak to anyone! Doubts about my ability and message flooded my heart and mind. I was in full-blown panic mode. With my hands still glued to the wheel, I turned and looked at the passenger seat. In my mind’s eye, Satan was sitting there with a boastful grin painted across his devilish face that taunted me with doubt. How am I going to pull this off? I anxiously wondered.
Still, I had a choice to make. Either I could allow my anxiety to prevent me from speaking or I could face the platform with courage. How does one find courage when they’re trembling in fear? Sometimes it comes down to deciding what is more important—the thing we need to do or yielding to our fear. Courage is not absence of fear as you might think. Rather, it withstands fear. Being courageous is being brave enough to move through our fears. How? We put our hope in God who will see us through.
That day in my car when fear gripped me, I searched my thoughts only to discover that my nervousness is based on pride. What will they think of me? I nervously wondered. Knowing my own limitations created doubt in my mind, which in turn could have caused me to back away. Instead, I decided to move forward in faith. My heart warmed as I considered what was more important. God wanted to use me to speak truth and encouragement to those teens. Sure, my heart was pounding and my knees were knocking, but I chose to be brave. I chose to speak–afraid. The result was amazing. That’s the incredible truth about courage. It transforms the ordinary into something extraordinary.
When you feel fearful, what’s at the source? Are you focusing on yourself? Taking our eyes off ourselves helps us to see past our fears to the needs of others. Where has God placed you right now? Are you in an ungodly workplace? Perhaps, you’re in a bad relationship with a spouse or friend. Maybe you’re living beside unbelieving neighbors or you have to care for aging parents. Whatever your situation, you have a decision to make. Will you cower away or charge forth in faith? While you may face scary risks, think of the difference you could make in someone’s life or a whole community if you simply choose to be courageous!
Whatever God is calling you to do this is His promise. “Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9). Through you and me God can touch another, perhaps save a life. The possibilities are endless if you only have the nerve.
Dear Lord, Break this stronghold of fear and worry in my life. Increase my faith in you.