I never really saw myself as a fearful person. I would certainly never describe myself as one. I mean, I enjoy leading, I openly speak my mind (admittedly, not always my best quality), I preach regularly in front of large gatherings of people, I’m a sucker for a good dare, I travel to new places, I have tattoos, and I even went skydiving once. (Have you ever noticed how people who have been skydiving always find a way to let people know they have been skydiving. So annoying, am I right? 😉 ) All of these obviously make me a brave soul who is immune to the powers of timidity and trepidation. I am courageous, and there is no stopping me, world! Or in the words of the great philosopher Katy Perry, “I am a champion, and you’re going to hear me roar!”
Wrong. This last year was one of the most challenging years of my adult life for many reasons that I will save for another time and another blog. I promise. But for now, simply know my life became increasingly uncomfortable, not only because circumstances got difficult, but because they exposed places within my heart that desperately needed to be tended to. I had some big choices to make, the kind of choices that I knew would define me as a person way past my current situations. And in the midst of my crucial decision-making, something unexpected occurred… I became scared. Or to be more honest, I didn’t become scared; I became aware of how scared I had always been.
It takes courage to do anything great in life. Every extraordinary story worth hearing or extraordinary event in history worth studying or extraordinary biography worth reading became extraordinary because someone chose to be courageous, bold, even daring. And even more impressive, these same people were not somehow less susceptible to timidity than the rest of us. They struggled with their own fears, but instead of running from them, they faced them head on. And for us, the same goes. Any ambition worth pursuing or journey worth taking or transformation worth embracing will require a level of tenacity and audacity in the face of our own well-established and all too often well-tolerated fears.
It takes courage to start over when things don’t work out the way you thought they would. It takes courage to go on a first date after you’ve had your heart broken. It takes courage to start a new job when you knew your old one like the back of your hand. It takes courage to be kind when the other person is being rude. It takes courage to make new friends when you’d rather stay hidden in the crowd. It takes courage to admit you need help when you’ve developed a steady devotion to self-reliance. It takes courage to admit you are wrong when you’ve made such a strong case for being right. It takes courage to be a student when you’ve grown accustomed to being a teacher. It takes courage to trust again when your past would advise against it. It takes courage to show up when you’d rather give up. It takes courage to go public with your passions when for so long they have stayed unspoken in your heart. It takes courage to blaze a trail when you have been strolling along on a smooth and paved path. It takes courage to say ‘no’ when you’ve spent a lifetime saying ‘yes’. It takes courage to say ‘yes’ when you’ve spent a lifetime saying ‘no’. It takes courage to stay when everything inside of you wants to run. It takes courage to let go when everything inside of you wants to hold on. It takes courage to try when you could fail and love when you could get hurt and hope when you could be disappointed.
Life takes courage. Or at least, life on Jesus’ terms takes courage. Jesus offers us “life and life to the full” (John 10:10) when we follow Him. But we have to be courageous enough to follow.
That’s what faith is all about. It’s trusting Jesus and following His lead… even when fear would try to talk us out of it. Just look at the heroes of the New Testament. I take a hard look at those who followed Jesus in the Gospels and the Book of Acts, and they all had these three things in common: 1. They were all afraid of something. 2. They all had enough courage to follow Jesus anyway. 3. They all found the courage they needed in Jesus.
And not much has changed. We all get scared sometimes. But unless we embrace daring faith, we will never experience the liberation found in letting Jesus lead us beyond our fears. Unless we invite His perfect love to infiltrate the places of our heart currently occupied by fear, we will never live the great lives we were destined to live…
I am where I am, and I am headed where I am headed, and most importantly I am becoming who I am becoming because at some point last year fear took the backseat and faith began driving. In a way that I am convinced I will never fully be able to give justice to with my best efforts in front of this laptop, typing away on this Word Doc, last year in the midst of my fear, I discovered faith. That seems strange for me to write since I began placing my faith in Jesus at 12 years old, and I’ve been in full time ministry for the last 14 years of my life. It’s not that I didn’t know faith. In fact, we had been comrades of sorts for quite sometime. But just because we had a rapport doesn’t mean I knew her all that well. It’s like how you can think you have someone all figured out, and then one day you have a real conversation with them, one personal and honest and sincere; and suddenly, you come to realize they weren’t at all how you had pegged them. It’s as if you are seeing this person for the first time. Well, last year I looked faith in the eyes, desperate to connect, and really began to listen to her, study her. It was like I was seeing faith for the very first time.
And I have to say, faith has exceeded my wildest imagination in every way! Faith is a gift straight from Heaven, one that continues to astonish me on a daily basis. Faith daringly rescues me from the grip of paralyzing fear and continues to introduce me to facets of Jesus I have always read about, but now am experiencing first-hand. The more I learn from faith, the more I get to know Jesus, and well, the more daring I am becoming.
And that would be my hope for you, friend. That’s why I created Daring Faith. It’s a 7 Day You Version Bible Plan complete with video messages from me to you available at Bible.com and featured on the YouVersion App. It’s personal and it’s practical, because more than anything I want these 7 days to have a much longer lasting impact than just one week. I want the Word of God and the Holy Spirit to put you face to face with faith, that you might see something you’ve never seen before. I know Daring Faith will open your eyes to new facets of Jesus, and equip you to embrace all the courage He has for you! Cuz, friends, why let fear call the shots in your life, when you were meant to live with daring faith?
To join simply click on this link or visit www.Bible.com or your You Version App and find Daring Faith under New Plans.