Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.
Deuteronomy 31:6 (New King James Version)
I prayed today.
“Lord remove all anxiety and fear from me”
I appealed sincerely to God. I know He listens. It is during this transaction of petition and reply that I am strong voicing my appeal, weak on listening for His response. I must listen.
Today in my prayer a single word came into my head. Courage. It was enough. The one word will carry an army or a battle in the balance of life and death. It will help any one of us overcome fear that encapsulate our brain and hold it hostage. How I loathe that feeling of being overwhelmed. How I hate when I feel my heart accelerate with butterflies, fluttering. Anxiety is a tool of the enemy that will hold me imprisoned.
I know that being anxious is a distraction. Doctors and therapist will say it is an evolutionary response by our brain to be aware of danger and when to take flight. That response mechanism is now a tool of prevention. It prevents us from walking where we cannot see. It is clutter on a path between the Lord and me. It is uncomfortable and it is bothersome. How will I respond? Writing about it is not a response, it is a recognition. I pray for courage…
The Lord will call me to walk in dark places. I mean that He will ask that I leave my comfort zone and step gingerly on a path of trust. My instinct is to run on sunlit paved roads, God asks more. When fear strikes or I reach a zone of discomfort, I flee in fear. It is anxiety that fuels my fear or fear that fuels my anxiety. Fear is making assumptions of what is unknown and he walks hand-in-hand with anxiety. O, how I tire of it. Take me back to Egypt…
O, really? It is true for all of us. We all have our Egypt. Hear God’s word for it is not empty (a). Egypt is my comfort zone and what a waste. My comfort zone is built with excuses, rationalization, justification… It is where I can write all day regarding God’s will and never step out and really further His kingdom. Furthering His kingdom is what He wants me to do. I am sure. There are plenty of darker places ahead. They aren’t even really dangerous as my evolutionary anxiety would lead me to behave. These are places that take me from my zone of comfort and now I must rise. God has now spoken courage into my life. I shall respond.
The Children of Israel who were the exodus from Egypt died because of fear of the unknown even when God promised milk and honey [b]. Even when God promises, we still hesitate. Some of us are steadfast as mules – stiff forelegs digging in with resistance. But God has promised many of us a clear path and now we must walk. I must walk. Even as I say clear, it is not really all clear and that is the beauty of it all. His will sometimes walks us down unclear, darker paths. However, He promises. He promises. He promises! I believe it. For even on a path void of sunlight, darkness sometimes gives way to the subtle light of the moon. Just enough to quell our fear. Yes I see this light. It is unfolding now before each step. In the end will be a promise of knowing God had a plan all along. Being a part of that plan is all the difference. It is beautiful and to my comfort zone, I bid farewell for I have courage. My courage will bring reward, it may bring salvation to someone just ahead on a dark path. But remember the moon. It offers God’s help on an otherwise dark night.
September 16, 2012