For years I feared the Lord. I thought He was this huge ruler, sitting on a throne (the Bible says He sits on a throne (Heb. 1:8), waiting for me to mess up so He could "zap" me! I would hear how we were supposed to work for the Lord, and how if we didn't work then our faith was dead (James 2:17), etc. I would always timidly serve my part wherever I was needed. Always knowing in my heart what I was supposed to do. No one understood that though. I would hear things like, "Oh, we really NEED you here" or "We've been talking and we think you should do this." I would never say a word. I would always comply, quietly going to do the job no one wanted, quietly wondering why I couldn't do what I knew the Lord called me to do. I was afraid.
I was afraid to step out. I was afraid to stand up for myself. You see, I had been conditioned to always do what I was told to do. If I didn't, I would get into trouble and the consequences were devastating. If I got into trouble at school, just plan on being in trouble at home, only more severely. And somehow I always brought it on myself. I'm still trying to figure that one out. Intimidation and manipulation. It filtered into my adult life. If I didn't obey my husband, then the consequences were going to be devastating. Oh wait a minute...MY husband is loving, kind, a man of God, someone who loves the Lord and loves me, too. He never raises his voice. He never raises his hand to me. He never cuts me down. He never does any of the things I was told a husband would do if a wife didn't obey him. But you know what? A marriage isn't supposed to be like that anyway. A marriage between a man and woman is supposed to be loving, kind, patient, gentle, and above all respectful. I had all those things in my husband, yet I was still afraid. Not of him, but of what "might" happen. I lived in fear every day, when I didn't need to.
How hurtful do you think it is to someone to know that while they love you for who you are, you still are afraid of them and are intimidated by them? How do you think the Lord feels? This must be what my husband felt, and has felt for most of the 29 years we've been married. I have apologized to him and do you know what he has said to me? "Honey, I love you."
Until the Lord finally healed me of the years of oppression and hurt that I was packing deep inside me, I lived in a constant state of indecision, confusion, and fear. None of that is of God. None of it. "For God is not the author of confusion but of peace..." ~1 Corinthians 14:33
Over the years, my oppressors have had many different forms; family members, church members, friends, friends of friends, friends of family. One would think that I would have overcome this. I finally did. And let me tell you, although I'm healed, I'm still learning what to do with my healed self! It's a whole new ballgame out there now. But people who know me have noticed that there's a change. Something is different in me. There's a new confidence. There's joy. There's a light in my eyes that wasn't there before. The major fear is gone and replaced with the confidence that once was missing. Oh, I'm still afraid, but not of getting in trouble. I'm afraid in an excited nervousness of what the Lord is teaching me and having me do. But this time I won't let fear control me. This time I'm forging ahead. I'm going to do it afraid!
Let me encourage you today. If the Lord has given you a task, don't sit and work yourself up into a tizzy in fear. The enemy would like nothing better than for you to get so afraid that you chicken out before you can complete your task. So here's my encouragement: DO IT AFRAID! If you do, I promise you that the Lord will meet you as soon as you take the first step in faith and the rest will be easy-peasy!