daily devotional

Let me tell you what fear does to you. Fear prophesies a future for you that God hasn’t. Fear tells you of scenarios God has not planned. Fear paints a picture the master has not envisioned for you. But because your brain only knows each thought you think to be absolute truth, even ridiculous fears that play no role in your future cause you to respond to life in a restricted way.

My daughter Alexa has been fearful since the day I met her at the orphanage. She was a 5 year old little girl who had endured the worst humans had to offer, but now, even in a safe place, she hid. She was more than shy, she was fearful. Fearful of everyone and everything. What could go wrong or might go wrong, were the thoughts that filled her mind. She doubted any love shown, rejected offerings of goodness, and refused invitations to do anything exciting.

We brought Alexa home on her 6th birthday. In the first year with us she broke her left arm 3 times because of her frail and fragile bones. Her prior malnutrition would take time to heal, but even more so, her little heart would take time to heal. It took time for her to learn to trust. It took time for her to learn to play without calculating the cost. It took nearly 6 months for her to crawl on her Daddy’s lap for the first time and lay her sweet head on his strong shoulder.

She grew to become a beautiful young woman. She’s sharp, she’s strong, and she’s a total knock out when she puts on that mascara. In a story only God could write, Alexa followed the footsteps of her Daddy and her big brother and joined the Army. Not because she was without fear, but because she wanted to overcome her fear. I’ve never seen a girl more terrified than she was the day she left. I’ve never heard a voice tremble like that. I’ve never seen a head hang so low and feet drag so slow. But she did it. She went.

6 months into training she got her first tattoo. It says “NO FEAR Joshua 1:9”. She thought by doing so she would no longer have fear, but to her surprise, she still had a whole lot of it. But what I explained to her is “honey, it’s not that you will ever remove all fear, it’s that you are telling fear no.” NO FEAR, you won’t hold me back any longer. NO FEAR, you can’t have my future. NO FEAR, you can’t paint your dark gray and black pictures of what’s next for me. NO FEAR, you don’t get to run wild with my thoughts any longer.

She said NO to fear.

This past weekend she went sky diving and bungee jumping in Italy! The bungee jumping video made even my heart race. I’m an adrenaline junkie. I love crazy things that make you feel like you’re going to die … but you don’t. But I don’t know that I could have taken that graceful vertical dive off that 500 foot bridge in the Italian mountains like she did.

She’s a girl who has decided to say NO TO FEAR, and look at the life she is living!

Joshua 1:9 “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

Fear will come knocking on your door. Fear will offer it’s dark scenarios of future failure and disaster. Fear will try to take you hostage and render you incapable of moving forward on the path God has already made for you. But my sister, fear has to be told NO. If it’s not told no, it becomes like a toddler with no parental guidance. SOMEHOW THAT LITTLE THING WILL DESTROY EVERYTHING. Everything will be broken, chaos will ensue and nothing but a mess will remain.

Has fear been given free reign in your life? Have you been operating from a principle of ‘if I’m afraid of it, I will avoid it.’ If so, my guess is, you’ve been missing out on life giving opportunities God has aligned for you. My guess is also you’ve been discouraged.

Discouragement is a natural effect caused by fear. We fear what’s next, so we don’t step into what’s next, then we’re discouraged with where we are. Are you discouraged with the current reality of your life? Are you? If so, could it be perhaps because you’ve been less than courageous in the battle with the fears that fill your mind? Have you surrendered to those fears, believed the future they offer, and settled for the safer option of what is familiar over what is unknown?

The Lord has commanded you to be strong and courageous. He has told you to recognize the fear and tell it NO! He has told you how to overcome discouragement. He has promised to be with you wherever you go. So hey sister … GO!

You have assumed bad endings just because you don’t see exactly how this is all going to come together. But I assure you, God is working in the unseen, doing things you can’t possibly imagine on your behalf. You can’t see what God is doing at this very moment to clear the path and make a way for getting you in position for the good plans he has for you. The future fear has been prophesying to you is not the same future God has been planning. Rise up and tell that fear NO!

NO FEAR, you don’t get my thoughts today.
NO FEAR, you don’t get to play in my plans.
NO FEAR, you don’t get to override my faith.
NO FEAR, you don’t get to sideline me again.
NO FEAR, you don’t get to hold me back here.
NO FEAR, you don’t get to tell me what I can’t do.
NO FEAR, you will not distract me from my purpose.
NO FEAR, you will not drain me of my hope.
NO FEAR, you will not steal my joy.

The Lord has commanded me to be strong and courageous, so strong and courageous is what I will be! I may still have fear, but fear doesn’t have me. I will go afraid. I will go shaking. I will go uncertain. I will go knowing God’s good plans for me overwrite any future my fear has painted.

If a fearful girl with a terrible childhood can do ridiculously amazing things with her life, why couldn’t you? Why couldn’t you go even when you’re afraid? Why couldn’t you dare to see what’s possible? Why couldn’t you trust God will strengthen you in supernatural ways on the journey?

You can’t afford to wait until your voice is no longer shaky. You can’t delay until you have your 5 year plan all planned out perfectly. You can’t put your next step on hold until the fear has passed. Girl, you’ll be standing right here forever. Fear doesn’t just loosen it’s grip and give up. Fear holds on tight, and the longer you stand still, the more it digs in.

This is your life, and you can waste it standing here on the edge, or you can step on up and take that leap knowing God is with you wherever you go and fear gets left behind while you fly.