There have been so many times in my life that I have let fear stand in the way of me doing something. Sometimes it’s not always a conscious decision to avoid something, many times its a subconscious decision riddled with excuses and rationalizations. But either way fear hinders me.
Some may say fear is healthy, it serves as a protective instinct, shielding you from possible failures or hurts. But what if thats not the case? What if fear is keeping you from reaching your potential, or accomplishing your goals?
Last summer, our youngest child was only a few months old, and I was playing around on the internet looking at real estate in our area. We weren’t in the market to buy a house, but I enjoyed seeing what was out there. For several months prior, I kept getting alerts from one of my phone apps of this one house in particular. The price just kept going down and going down. I’ll admit, the pictures weren’t impressive, but the stats on the house were and it happened to be in the neighborhood we envisioned for our future. One day I had gotten another alert that the house had been reduced, so I felt compelled to email our real estate agent and ask…what is wrong with this house?!?
She promptly responded to my email telling me there wasn’t anything wrong with the house, it just had initially been priced to high by the bank (the house was in foreclosure), and it was just too much house for most retirees. “Did we want to go look at it?”
There’s no need to tell you that she’s a good real estate agent…because I said yeah, sure, why not?
It was both the biggest blessing and the biggest mistake we have ever made. Once we saw this house we were ruined…and not because it was perfect, but because it was perfect for us. It had the space we were craving, it was in the neighborhood we desired, there was outdoor space for entertaining, a large yard for the kids to play in, and it had the potential to be what we wanted it to be with some time, money, and work.
We walked away from the house that day wishing that there were some way we could make an offer, but knowing we just weren’t in a position to buy the house at that time.
We spent the next several weeks thinking and dreaming about this house, but knowing the stars would have to align just perfectly to make it happen. One day I was talking to my husband and I said, honey, I will do whatever I need to do to make this happen…I’ll apply to any and every job, I will work at the local grocery store if I have to. You see at that time I was working at our chiropractic business, but not collecting a paycheck. I was doing more of the behind-the-scenes work, and taking care of our kids and home.
In fact, at that time, I had just finished up my acupuncture certification and received my license. My plan was to build-up my patient base, and start collecting my own paycheck from our business. I had even done the math to figure out how many patients I would need to see in order to make up for the increase in living expenses that would happen if we took on this new, bigger mortgage.
So after much deliberation, my husband and I agreed, that if I would start bringing in additional income that we would put an offer on the house. As crazy as we were, we decided to step out in faith and put an offer on the house before there was a guarantee of money.
I started talking to everyone I knew about how I was doing acupuncture now, trying to spread the word and get appointments scheduled. I was sharing articles on our Facebook business page talking about the benefits of acupuncture. I was encouraging family and friends to tell others about acupuncture.
While many people showed interest in receiving treatment, only a few actually scheduled appointments…and I was growing anxious. Our offer on the house had been accepted, we were in the process of selling our own house, time was winding down and my anxiety was growing. Fear was taking over!
In my fear, I decided to start applying for jobs outside of our business. Even though I had been praying that God would provide for us financially by way of supplying acupuncture patients, I am ashamed to say that I didn’t trust that He was going to come through for me. So in my fear and in my flesh, I decided to take control of the situation the only way I knew how, and that was to find a job that guaranteed me a paycheck right away.
Well, I found that job, and within the first few weeks of starting the job my office had received numerous phone calls of patients who wanted to schedule acupuncture appointments. ~sigh~ Needless to say…had I not have let my fear make my decision for me, I may have very well had received a positive answer to my prayers.
All was not lost though, I have learned a very valuable lesson out of that situation. God works on His own time! I can very simply sum it up into one verse, “The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” (Exodus 14:14) Had I have just been still and waited on the Lord I could’ve been victorious, but I bailed out while He was still fighting for me.
Fast forward to today…after much discussion, and seeking wise counsel, I made the decision to apply for a few part-time jobs. As it stands now with my current job, I work the full-time 40 hours per week, plus an additional 1 1/2 hours per day for travel time…which is leaving me little to no time to take care of my kids, my home, or to build my acupuncture practice. Not to mention that I am only accruing a measly 1.5 hours of vacation time every two weeks so there isn’t much wiggle room to take time off. Getting a part-time job would free up more time to do all of these things, and still have a little bit of a paycheck coming into the household funds.
Without discussing the decision to seek out part-time employment with anyone but my husband, my mom sends me a classified ad from the local paper for a part-time job right where I live. I knew right then that this was no mere coincidence, this was God’s hand at work.
After filling out the application and interviewing for the job, God has decided to open the door for me with this job. It’s for 20 hours a week, totally flexible, making my own schedule, and 10 minutes from home…everything I was looking for in a part-time job, except that I’ll be making less than half of what I’m making at my current job.
After I interviewed for the job, I knew when I left that I had hit it out of the park…and suddenly it dawned on me, what if I do get the job? Money is already tight, can I really do this? Once again fear was creeping in and taking over me.
So…as it seems, the Lord is granting me the opportunity to redeem myself! He is once again giving me the chance to be patient and trust in Him. But here is the kicker…I’m doing it afraid! This time I will not let fear get the better of me and tell me that my God is not enough, or that He will not come through for me. I will feel the fear, but I will NOT let it control me.
I have listened to multiple sermons from several different speakers on the topic of fear, and what I have learned is that scripture tells us NOT to fear. In fact, over 300 times in the Bible we are told do not be afraid or fear not. (If you don’t believe me, Google it.) But I’m sure if you’re like me, you feel like you have no control of whether you feel fear or not.
The truth is you can feel fear but not be in fear. I know it sounds like one of those cliche sayings but it’s true. Fear only has power if you give it control over you and/or your decisions.
Psalm 56:3 says, “When I am afraid, I put my trust in You.” The Psalmist doesn’t say when I’m afraid I immediately remember that I’m not supposed to be afraid, so then I feel guilty for being afraid, and so I stop being afraid. (LOL, I know that was a mouthful.) He says when I’m afraid, I put my trust in You! Even before he stops being afraid, He is choosing to trust in the Lord.
And that is what I’m doing today! Even while I am still afraid, I am stepping out in faith out of obedience to my God who is so lovingly and clearly telling me through many signs that He wants me to take this job, He wants me to pursue my goals, He wants me to spend more time with my family, He wants me to pay off my debt…and if I will only have patience and trust in Him he will provide me everything I need…not everything I want, but everything I need. This time around, I will rest in the comfort of knowing that He is in control, and I can achieve my goals, not in my strength alone…but in the strength of my Dad. This time around I’m learning to do it afraid!