With a new year underway, I have been contemplating what my goals and plans for this year will be. I have been taking time to think about what kind of content I want to create on my little corner of the web this year, what direction I want to take, how I can make a positive impact in the lives of others, and my other personal goals. What keeps coming to mind, though, and what I feel the Lord keeps laying on my heart more than anything else are these words:
"Do not be afraid."
We can find this comforting phrase written throughout the Bible, such as in Deuteronomy 31:6-8 and Jeremiah 1:8, and I feel like the Lord has been speaking these words to me over and over to be my
words of intention for 2019.
It might not appear this way based on what you see in all of those perfect little squares on your screen, but I have come to realize that I struggle with fear on a daily basis; fear of being true to myself that leads me to compare myself to others, fear of failure that keeps me from pursuing personal goals, fear of the future that keeps me stagnant, fear of the unknown that keeps me in my comfort zone and keeps me from growing, fear of pain that keeps me from getting my wisdom teeth removed to starting a family, fear of rejection, fear of disapproval and disappointment.
The list goes on.
Looking back at my personal goals from last year, I'm happy to report that I did accomplish several of those small goals. Of the ones I didn't accomplish, I noticed they all had this underlying trait in common. I didn't even attempt to pursue some of those goals because of fear, despite how much I wanted to. This is NOT how I want to live my life, nor is it how we were called to live. We were called to do so much more than we can ask or even imagine: to be strong and courageous, to trust in the Lord with all our hearts despite the circumstances and despite our basic understanding. Fear is also not from the Lord, but a clever tool used by the enemy.
When I think back on many of the things I was once afraid to do, but instead said a prayer, gave it to God, and pursued it anyway, beautiful things came from it. Like when I was afraid to reach out to an old friend that I'd lost touch with for fear of what she might say or think-- like too much time has passed, or she doesn't care about our friendship, or she's angry with me; but I prayed, took a deep breath, and sent her a heartfelt message letting her know I was sorry for the time that had passed, that I missed her, that our friendship was too valuable to lose, and that I was thinking about her. To my pleasant surprise, she felt the same way, and we've since rekindled a friendship that has now spanned more than a decade-- and that's just one small example.
If I let fear dictate these small actions and decisions in my life, how much more am I going to miss out on and miss what incredible things God has planned for me? I don't want this downward spiral of fear to continue any longer, so this year as I do make my small goals and plans, I am going to write my words of intention, "Do not be afraid" next to each one, and do them. Even if the outcome isn't what I hoped, or even if it is different than what I had planned, I would rather try and trust God and learn from the experience than to live a life of fear and what-ifs.
So don't be afraid to call that friend. Don't be afraid to apologize. Don't be afraid to ask for that raise. Don't be afraid to make that switch. Whatever it is this year, do not be afraid.
Little bitty love,