Would you join me on a trip down memory lane today?
When I was two or so, my dad left a ladder leaning up against the house. He came inside for supper. Soon both he and my mom started looking for me. They went outside and there I was. On the roof.
A year or two later, my dad was looking for me . I suppose that I must have been hard to keep up with. There was one place on my Papaw’s farm where I was supposed to never go. It was the pond. My dad crested the hill and, sure enough, there I was, pretending to fish with a piece of barbwire. I learned to be afraid of that pond all the way back to our house.
The thing that strikes me about those stories is that I didn’t have any sort of natural fear in either situation. I climbed the ladder and sat on the roof. I walked to the pond. In my mind, there was nothing to be afraid of, no danger in either situation.
Today? I can tell you several things that I am afraid of. Heights? Check. Roofs? Not crazy about them. Bridges. Tunnels. Each of which I have learned to be afraid of.
Let’s face it. We all have fears, some real and some imagined. Some rational. Others irrational. The question looms in front of us in regard to each fear that we face.
What are we going to do about it?
I can avoid heights all I want. Sometimes, though, I have to face them. I had to climb up on my roof the other day. It’s a pretty steep roof. When my house was originally roofed, the roofers wore harness to keep from falling. Me? I put a ladder against my house. My father-in-law brought his tractor over with its bucket attachment on it. We put the bucket up as high as it would go. Then I put another ladder inside the bucket. I climbed the first ladder and then performed an amazing mid-air switch to the ladder in the bucket. That ladder was positioned to lay on top of my roof. I climbed up that ladder, did what I need to do and came down. Another death-defying switchover and I was on the ground. All was good.
I beat my fear. Was I still nervous about it? Absolutely. But we did enough to calm my fears and give me courage.
That’s what the Lord said, right?
“Be not afraid.”
“Be courageous and fear not.”
There is much to be afraid of in the world. However, there is nothing to be afraid of in the Lord. We simply have the “fear of the Lord.”
He does not want us to live our lives afraid of this or that. He had the book written. We know how it ends Why do we spend our time anxiously fretting over things that He tells us to be courageous about?
It’s time for us to face our fears and be courageous as the Lord wants us to be. It beats the alternative.
Do you fear anything?
I’m not sure when you are reading today’s post. It may be early and I haven’t left for work yet. Maybe it’s mid-day and I am wrapping things up at work. Perhaps I’m on my way to Franklin, TN or on my way back to Dunn Holler.
It doesn’t matter.
Today is the day I Start.
I am part of Jon Acuff’s Start Launch Team. Start is Jon Acuff’s new book that releases today. I also happen to be going to Start Night where Jon will be presenting much of what is in the book. I look forward hearing about:
Punch Fear In The Face
We all fear something don’t we? Often it is fear that prevents us from starting….anything. Whatever our dream is, whether it’s becoming a public speaker, starting a business or writing a novel, fear likes to cuddle up to us and keep us comfortable. Starting is not comfortable. Once we start, though, is when we will find our reward.
Too many of us simply settle for average. We have average lives with average families and average jobs. Average wouldn’t be so bad if it wasn’t just average. Escaping average requires something. it means that we have to start.
Do Work That Matters
One of the worst indictments we may face is that we come to the end of our life and it simply didn’t matter. We have no made no impact on the world. We didn’t affect anyone else’s life or our community’s or, gasp, the world. Where will we find the beginning of the answer? When we start.
The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. That single step requires one thing. It requires us to start.
Are you ready to Start?
Christians aren’t supposed to fear, but I’m afraid that many of us do.
It might be a fear of spiders.
Maybe it’s tunnels.
However, at church this past Sunday, I realized what I think is most Christian’s fear.
It’s sharing our faith.
The reason I realized this is that we are offering a class on how to share our faith. I saw this up on the screen as the announcements scrolled and had an amazing thought.
“I have never had to have anyone teach me how to share my love for University of Tennessee football.”
No one ever had to teach me to get excited at a Tennessee game.
I am eager to do it.
My faith? Well, I’m cool with that too.
But I haven’t always been that way. Judging by a lot of what I see, a lot of folks are in that boat.
Why is that?
I think I know some of the answers.
We have bought into the idea that we shouldn’t push our beliefs on others.
We are afraid that we will be asked tough questions that will stump us.
We are afraid of looking like Bible-thumpers.
One of the things I’ve noticed when Jehovah’s Witnesses come to my door is that one person does the talking. The other one just kind of stands there and smiles. The guy that does the talking has been trained. He knows all of the answers. He knows how to try to counter all of my objections. He has been to the “CLASS”.
Do you know what he has trouble telling me?
He has trouble telling me about his relationship with God. He can tell me all of the answers. He can tell me everything he has been trained to say. What he can’t tell me is about a relationship.
That is what grabs people.
You want to share your faith? Tell people about your relationship with Christ. Be honest. Tell them you don’t have all of the answers. Tell them about the difference He is making in your life.
I’m not saying don’t take the class. It can be beneficial.
Just don’t rely on that. Rely on the One who you want to share.
Do you or have you ever feared sharing your faith? Why do you think that is?
A few years ago, I decided that I was going to learn how to play the mandolin. I bought a mandolin. I bought a book and DVD. Then I quickly realized that I had no ability to put all of this together and actually learn how to play the instrument.
So I signed up for lessons.
I began taking lessons from a world-class mandolin player named Roscoe Morgan. Our thirty minutes together every week were spent learning the mandolin and discussing everything from family to faith to politics and everything in between.
I didn’t become very good and after a couple of years I gave up it. After several years of reflection, I have figured out the main reason I didn’t become good (besides the fact that I don’t have much musical ability).
I was afraid to fail. I was afraid to make a mistake.
I was so concerned with being precise and hitting every note that I held back. I didn’t go for it.
I haven’t discussed this with anyone, but I don’t think really good musicians worry about whether they hit the notes. They do most of the time, but if they miss one they don’t care. They just keep going. They move on. And let’s be honest. Most of us wouldn’t notice if one note is missed.
What they do is simply deliver the music.
Dave Johnson and Jeff Austin, now of Yonder Mountain String Band, met in college. Dave invited Jeff to join his band at the time, The Bluegrassholes. Austin replied that he did not play an instrument, but that he did own a mandolin. Johnson told him to come on and “play anything, just play fast and loud.” So he did.
Did you see that? Jeff Austin didn’t fear it. He just did it. Now he is in a progressive bluegrass group that has a huge tribe.
Fear did not hold Jeff Austin back.
That is where we need to be in our lives. That is where we need to be in our faith.
It may as simple as getting outside of our comfort zones.
It may be lifting up a hand in praise in a church service.
It may be giving up a week of vacation at the beach for a week on a mission trip.
I can’t decide that for you.
You have to decide that for yourself.
Figure out what fear is holding you back from where you want to go and what you want to be. And go for it.
What is fear holding you back from doing that you really want to do?
Today is the 70th anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor. I don’t know how people felt 70 years ago when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. Because of 9/11, I believe I can come close, but I don’t know exactly what it was like back then. I don’t know the exact feelings of terror that might have swept across our country as we faced an enemy in Japan, Germany and the other Axis powers.
I definitely don’t know what it was like to be entering the Christmas season with that type of fear looming over what we consider a season of joy.
However, Christmas gives us the proper response to that fear and all other fears and uncertainty that we face.
Christmas gives us Christ.
Christmas gives us hope.
Christmas gives us courage.
Christmas gives us grace.
Christmas give us forgiveness of our enemies, as we, who follow Him, have been forgiven.
Pearl Harbor was a time that defeat felt overwhelmingly near.
Christmas gave us what overcomes all fear and defeat in our lives.
Thank you, Lord, for giving us Christmas for every Pearl Harbor in our lives.
What Pearl Harbors in your life has Christ helped you overcome?
What are you afraid of? Don’t lie. You are afraid of something. Me? I don’t like heights or tunnels. You should have seen me when we went to see the Sylvester Stallone movie Cliffhanger a few years ago. When Sly drops the girl in the beginning, I just about flipped out. But that was nothing compared to a movie I watched when I was four.
My parents went to bed and left me up to watch a Dracula movie. What they were thinking, I have no idea. Whatever it was, it turned into a disaster. At some point, just as Dracula was about to pounce on the girl, I turned around. What did I see? Yes, I saw Dracula’s head floating at the end of the room. That was the end of the Dracula movie and the beginning of sleeping with the bathroom light on until I was out of the second grade. In other words, I was afraid for a long time.
I’m not afraid of vampires any more, but like I said above, heights and tunnels freak me out. The lovely Jan is afraid of spiders. Lauren is afraid of bugs in general. We all fear something.
The children of Israel were afraid before they entered the Promised Land. It kept them out for forty years until a new generation would enter. Even then you see the words Be Strong and Courageous. They needed the reassurance to not be afraid of what was before them.
Like the Israelites, we can become fearful as followers of Christ. It could be anything. We could be afraid of the world. We could be afraid of the ramifications of following Christ. We could be afraid of losing our families. We could be afraid of losing friends or jobs. We could be afraid of losing our lives. That is all true. But what is at the heart of our fear?
When we were slaves of sin, we really had something to be afraid of. But now we have been set free. We are no longer bound as slaves to sin. We aren’t bound to death. The very things we are afraid of are now paper tigers. God has freed us fro this slavery through his Son. We have been adopted. All things now work for the good of those who love Him. If God is for us, who can be against us? Death? Sin? Fear? Those things no longer apply to those who follow Christ and walk in His Spirit.
Floating Vampire Heads? Heights? Tunnels? Those things are nothing now.