I've been very impacted by this song by Steven Curtis Chapman. I hope you'll take a moment to listen to it today. Let's rise up and fall on our knees.
Schedules. Lists. Watch the clock, and stay on task.
It’s how I grew up. I love, let me say it again, I love checking an item off a list when I’ve accomplished it. What a sense of well, accomplishment.
In the past, I set times in my day to pray, read Scripture, and memorize the words God gave. Another feeling of success came when I finished and could retain an entire chapter. Then I could recall those verses whenever I needed. Made sense to me.
You see, I am a rule follower.
Best. Better. Top. Favorite.
That’s all I wanted. Was that too much to ask?
I deeply desired to be a favorite aunt of one of my nieces or nephews. I craved being someone’s best friend … above anyone else. I wanted to win a writing contest.
It all circled around the same thing.
Attention. Accolades. Applause. Significance. Acceptance.
My voice shook as my diaphragm trembled. Panic gripped my throat as I worked to get the words out while fearing I wouldn’t be heard. I pushed harder, cupped my hands around my mouth, and pressed for sound with all my strength. From the next room, I heard my husband’s response, “What did you say?”
Excitement? Trepidation? What is this spinning inside? The date for a new Bible study at a different church loomed ahead. Because of the last time I’d ventured into a new space like this, I had mixed emotions. Would it be the same negative experience as before? I wanted to get to know new people. I even desired to apply what I’d learned myself. (See Fear vs. Truth 1/25/19)
I began to pray. (I know … God idea, right?)
I stood against the wall watching women greet each other, chat a moment, and sit together continuing their conversation. I told myself I could do this—go into a new group and make friends. After all, it was a Bible study. How hard could it be?
The woman was sweet-natured, giving, loved by so many who met her, efficient in what she did, and had a good business.
But fear threatened to snuff out the gifts and abilities in her for one simple reason: lack of confidence.
Every year, before Christmas, I spend time reading the prophecies of Christ’s coming and the gospel accounts of His birth. I love to think about all of it. I love the way the truth of the season is threaded through the Old Testament and the New. I like to make notes of little tidbits of grace or wisdom that God highlights for me.
I used to love winter. Anticipation grew as leaves turned to colors of amber, terracotta, burnt orange, and umber. Trees would lose their coverings and soon the whiteness would fall covering the ground in a blanket of sleep. I adored being the first one to step out onto a field covered in white and leave the first footprints across the scape. I didn’t even mind the cold as I wore sweaters and many comforting layers and adorned my feet with new slippers.
The tingles began around my heart, moved down my body, flowed through my legs, and right out my toes. The lightness that wrapped around my heart came from only one Source.
God and I had just done some business I didn’t even know needed doing.
After years of living under lies and fear, I have found truth and victory in God.