Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Fear and Faithfulness

I’ve found in my life that fear can become a huge motivator for my actions. It can motivate me to do something, or not do something, because of fear of the repercussions.

There are things I don’t say for fear of the reaction. There are things I don’t do for fear of failure. There are paths I take in my life that just seem easier, less complicated perhaps. But these decisions are all a part of what I call the “fear reaction.”

It’s an ingrained reaction in our bodies. We physically change when we are fearful. When I become anxious, for example, my whole body becomes splotchy and red. My face turns three shades of pink, my eyes well up, or I get sweaty (gross, I know). My heart may start to palpitate. I have always had a physical reaction to more emotional triggers.

I think if you really take the time to pay attention, you will recognize it too. Where this became important for me, is when I began learning how to judge when I was reacting out of fear or anxiety, and change my actions because of it. It is easy to justify reactions when you are anxious. We are creative people and can create logic where there is none to satisfy our need for comfort. When we learn our “fear reaction” and learn to recognize those physical triggers, we can respond better to the situations in front of us.

We have to learn to be faithful, rather than fearful.

Let me give you a recent example. On my 27 before 27 list, I wrote that I wanted to write a $1000 check to the church. And I’ve been feeling that call really heavily on my heart lately. I’ve been saving to make it happen, and figuring out where the money could come from, and then one day, there it was. I had the money I needed to give.

And as much as I had talked about it, I was finding it so hard to give in the moment I could. I’ve got a wedding coming up. We want to buy a house after that. $1000 is not easy to come by when you’re 22 and working in ministry. I have debt and bills, and things that need to be taken care of.

The excuses kept pouring in. Reason after reason why I shouldn’t tithe. And then finally it hit me.

I’m lucky that my church has an on-line giving system that allows me to tithe the same way I do on-line bill pay. That is huge for me, an added element of comfort in a situation where I felt so uncomfortable. I was scared to give that amount. I could feel the fear. I chose to be faithful in that situation.

I find those moments of fear in a lot of different realms of my life. New endeavours. Here on this blog even. But even though outcomes are far from guaranteed, I have faith that whatever the Lord has in store for me is so much bigger than I can even imagine.

Just some food for thought.

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