Archive for the ‘Fear’ Category

Photo Credit: cellar_door_films via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: cellar_door_films via Compfight cc

Have you ever been in a situation where you feel like you’re a failure no matter what you do? Or how about one where you walk away defeated every time a certain person speaks to you? Or maybe you’ve been in one where you feel like you’re just hanging on for dear life and are afraid to let go for fear that you will fall further than you can get back from. I can honestly say I’ve been there. In fact, I can think of at least one situation in my life right now where I feel like that.

The question I have at times like this is, do I give up or do I hang on? The reality is, I could do either one. And either could turn out for my good because there are good and bad to both decisions. Currently, I have a situation whereby I have to decide if I need to stay where I am at or look for a change. That’s difficult for me because I have invested a lot of time and effort into this situation. I have worked hard and have had a lot of successes. There was a point when I woke up wanting to be a part of this situation.

Those days have passed. So now, I have to ask myself, do I stay or do I go? Do I survive or do I live? Do I give up or do I let go? That last question might seem like I’m asking the same question twice. But I’m not. Giving up means I stop trying. I just give up and let things fall as they will. Letting go means, I make a choice to walk away. I’m not giving up; I’m choosing a different path. Giving up means I probably stay in the situation that is defeating me. Letting go means I look for an opportunity to learn and grow and change – and hopefully be built up.

Right now, I feel sometimes like all I do is survive. I do what I have always done because it’s what has worked for me in the past. I’ve probably mentioned I like to stay in my comfort zone. That’s because I know it works for me. The problem is, I think I’ve become stagnant. And that is probably part of the reason I feel frustrated and defeated all the time. I’m tired of doing the same thing, expecting a different outcome. That never works for me (duh!). Instead of things getting better, I fall further and further into defeat until eventually, I either am forced to get out, or I fall so far I can’t get myself out.

I no longer want to survive. I want to live. I want to grow. I want to be built up and build others up. I do not want to stay stuck in a place where there never seems to be a win any longer. I no longer want to be in a place where I feel like I’m a failure every single day of my life. I no longer want to listen to all the things I’m doing wrong (and believe me there are lots of them). I want to hear what I’m doing right once in a while. I’m tired of dwelling on the negative. I want to hear and see the positive.

So, the question I pose to myself today is: “Are you going to give up or are you going to let go?”

Your turn! Have you ever been in a situation where you spent each day feeling defeated? What did you do (or are you doing) to better that situation? Do you think there’s a difference between giving up and letting go? I’d love to hear from you!

~Until Next Time,

Karen Signature

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Photo Credit:  By Martin Wessely  (Unsplash.com)

Photo Credit: By Martin Wessely (Unsplash.com)

I am not one to try a lot of new things. I prefer to stick with the things I know and like, rather than try something that I might not like. However, lately, it’s been getting to the point where I am tired of the same old thing. I feel like I am trapped in a room, looking out at the world and seeing everything I wish I had the guts to do pass me by. A lot of that has to do with the fear of trying something new and not liking it or maybe even failing at it. I think for me, failure is the biggest fear I have. I think somehow, deep inside, I think it means that somehow I am lacking – that somehow I’m not good enough.

Much of my fear has to do with the fact that I have done so many stupid things in my past. I have a litany of events in my life that would illustrate the extent of how stupid I can really be. And for the past few years, I think I’ve done all I can to distance myself from that failure and make myself out to be this person who seldom messes up. It’s all about the image because if anyone saw who I really had been, they would perhaps not like me quite so much. Forget the fact that my past has taught me so many things. To let others see me as I really am might mean rejection. And I have faced enough of that in my life – at least that’s what I tell myself.

The reality is, my past is my past. I can’t change it, but I can look back on it and see how far I have come. Or rather, I can look back and see how far God has brought me. He took a scared, stupid, insecure little girl and He has grown me into someone who, while still scared, and still able to do stupid things, and often insecure, is also learning to be courageous and strong and to depend on Him. As a result, recently I have started to do things I never really expected I’d be able to do. For example, I went back to New York, where my roots are a few weeks ago. To say that was a step out of my comfort zone is an understatement. I was terrified. But I did it. That’s just one example, but I have others that I can point to. Except, that’s not the point today.

When I refuse to step out and take a risk – whether it be failure, rejection or something else unpleasant – I do myself a disservice. I put myself in a cage. I lock myself up into a tiny little box and instead of growing, I shrink. I go deep into myself and I lock everyone else out. And that’s a lonely life.

Paul says in Philippians 3:13-14, “Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it (perfection) yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (NASB). Paul had a lot to be ashamed of in his past. After all, he persecuted, imprisoned and caused the death of many followers of Christ before he went through is own conversion experience. He could have chosen to hate himself, belittle himself, or lock himself away from other believers. Instead, he chose to do the opposite and as a result started many different churches, not to mention the prevalence of his letters being included in the New Testament.

Paul went on to say in verses 15-16, “Let us therefore, as many as are perfect (or mature), have this attitude; and if in anything you have a different attitude, God will reveal that also to you; however, let us keep living by that same standard to which we have attained” (NASB). In other words, live up to who you are. I am a child of God. As a result that means I am sanctified, redeemed, and can rest in God. I don’t have to keep looking back in shame at my past. I can use it as a learning experience, but my life isn’t in the past. I am to be embracing what God has for me in the future, and that is that I am going to get to be with Him someday. And if that’s the case, then what do I have to be afraid of here? What am I avoiding?

With that in mind, I have a few “bucket list” items I am planning on this year, such as kayaking, driving to New York with my kids this summer, taking a chance and entering a couple of writing contests this year, and so much more. And I can do those things because I am free. Yes, I might fail. Yes, things can go wrong. Yes, I can get hurt and it’s going to be a risk. But, in the end, I am going to grow and learn, and most of all, I am going to escape from that cage I have locked myself into.

What about you? Have you locked yourself in a cage too? Are you avoiding certain things out of fear of failure or rejection? What do you do to get past those feelings and live the life God has called you to?

~Until Next Time,

Karen Signature

Have you ever known you should probably do something, but you didn’t?  You know, when you feel that urge deep inside – not a temptation that urges you to do something wrong, but the type of urging that says, “This will be good for you.  You need to go do this.”  Do you know what I’m talking about?  I have had these urges many times, and just about every time, I ignore the urge, and I don’t do that thing I feel like I’m supposed to do.  Last night was one of those times.

During our Wednesday evening service at church, Pastor gave an invitation for people to come forward and pray at the altar.  This would mean going up in front of everyone and kneeling on the floor at the front of the church.  It would mean, getting up and moving forward.  It would mean, anyone who wanted to could see whomever decided to go forward.  He said that those of us who had things going on in our lives that were difficult or painful, or if we wanted to pray for someone else who was going through something, then we could go forward.  It wasn’t a compulsory thing by any stretch, but it was an open invitation to be vulnerable and allow the people of God to embrace and comfort and pray for us.

I longed to go forward.  I felt like something was pulling on me to go forward.  And I resisted.  I fought.  I didn’t go forward.  I wanted to, but I didn’t.  Pastor mentioned that pride could keep us from going forward.  He said that we might not want people to see that we have needs.  He suggested that perhaps we felt like people would look down on us or that we might feel like it was an admission of weakness if we went forward.  He was right.  I keep letting my pride get in the way of me asking for help.  I let pride keep me from doing the things I need to do.  I let pride keep me pressed into that seat, longing to move, but unwilling – or unable – to do so.

But it’s not all about pride for me.  Fear plays a big part as well – fear that I might be letting someone down if I admit that I am weak.  Or maybe it’s fear that God might be disappointed in me, or that I am not good enough.  I am afraid to fail, afraid that I will look like a failure.  For me, pride and fear go hand in hand.  They are not separate, they are united and they are equal in strength.

Even now, as I sit here writing about this memory, with tears rolling down my cheeks, I wonder why I could not bring myself to get up out of my seat and go forward.  There are so many difficulties that I am going through right now – some that only I know, and some that only a couple of people know.  Some of the problems are little things, but when they are all combined and the big things are rolled in, they seem insurmountable and overwhelming.

Perhaps you are wondering why I am bothering to write this and share this with whoever decides to read this.  It’s simple.  This is my altar tonight.  I didn’t go forward last night.  But I am coming forward today.  I am admitting that I am overwhelmed and in need of prayers.  I am admitting that I am weak and have these heavy burdens.  I am confessing that I was wrong to stay in my seat when I so clearly needed to go forward.  And I am asking you, my readers, to pray for me.  I am not going to go into details, but I feel “hard pressed on every side” (2 Cor. 4:8 NIV).  I need wisdom and strength to get through this difficult period in my life.  But, I haven’t forgotten the rest of 2 Corinthians 4:8, which reads, “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair;” (NIV).  I am not crushed or despairing.  I may be weak, but God’s “strength is made perfect in weakness” (2 Cor. 12:9, KJV).

Have you ever felt like you were drawn to do something, but resisted?  Perhaps you’re overwhelmed now.  Perhaps you have something that you want to lay at the altar yourself.  Please share below, I’ll be happy to pray for your needs as well.

Until Next Time,

Karen Signature