Most of us struggle with fear, worry and anxiety at times. This is just a part of life, but we don’t have to allow our fears to keep us in a cage. I recall when I was younger being very shy. And of course, being shy, I rarely spoke. This made me “different” from the other kids and as we know, when children identify the one that is different, that is typically the kid who winds up getting picked on by others. Well, unfortunately, that was true for me the duration of my elementary school years. As a result, I became more introverted and withdrawn. This was crippling, because this “shyness”, or fear, kept me from being myself – a loving, imaginative and joyful kid. My fears kept others from seeing my true self too. Ultimately, my mother put me in a self-defense class, and unfortunately, there were a few times I had to use my new skills.
I recall being surrounded by a bunch of kids on the play ground one time and just like Ralphie in the movie, A Christmas Story, I let loose on those bullies and was never bothered again. Another episode happened during summer camp, and once again, as soon as I stood up for myself, it didn’t happen again.
It’s an interesting thing, how in life, so much of our outcome depends on our willingness to “step-out”. To be bold and to be courageous. I am in no way advocating fighting, or that aggressiveness is bold, but if I had just been able to be “myself” during those early years, and not so shy, which wasn’t being myself anyway, I would have saved myself a lot of trouble.
Thankfully, I matured over the years and grew to distain what my shyness caused me to be. Today, I refuse to be shy, or let it get in the way of being who God created me to be. I will never be the highly extraverted and gregarious person, but I don’t have to be the highly introverted one either – for neither are who I truly am.
God loves us and created each of us different and with a specific purpose. He wants us to be who He created us to be, but often times our fear and insecurity can stifle this. It’s like a self-inflicting prison that prevents us from being ourselves and boldly living for God. Whether it be shyness, fear, anxiety, or worry, we are told in His word to trust Him and not to fear. So, when we do, we disobey and lack trust. I don’t want this to be the case for my life. Rather, I desire to live for God, which is allowing Him to live through me. This requires making myself available to Him – to be vulnerable, exposed and courageous.
Vulnerable: I was led to believe I was shy. That I was just born that way, but I knew even back then that wasn’t true. For my true identity screamed to be released. It was an internal struggle and shyness was my self-induced prison. To overcome it, I had to risk being vulnerable, which required more reliance on God and this strengthened my faith.
Exposed: It’s a difficult thing to be seen for who we truly are. This is why we typically create and hide behind “masks” for others to see. However, as Christians, it is Jesus who shines through, and He doesn’t hide behind any masks, but desires to be fully exposed in and through us.
Courageous: Contrary to what many nonbelievers say, Christianity is not for the weak minded, but rather it is for the courageous and strong. For to be a follower of Christ requires us to face our fears, stand up for injustice and fight for the weak. We can’t do this effectively when we hide and allow our fears and insecurities to reign over God.
Application: “Unfettered Faith”
To live unfettered – without restraints for Christ! That is abundant living! A life of adventure, challenge, opportunity and total dependency on Him. Is there any fear, worry, and/or anxiety holding us back from this calling? Let us courageously lay them down and choose to walk boldly in faith. Trusting God with reckless reliance on Him.