I realize my life vacillates between living in faith and fear. When I live in faith, I make decisions immersed in God’s presence and blessings. When I live in fear, God isn’t there. The quality of my life deteriorates; I end up feeling anxious, unsteady, misunderstood, and alone.
Throughout my lifetime, I have been blessed to always have people speaking life into me, both Christians and non-Christians. From family to friends, classmates, professors, to strangers. Many people have told me that I am smart and full of talents. I was told from a young age that I would be successful, a leader, at the frontlines of change and innovation. But somehow, my mind warped that into fear. How can I live up to these kind words?
I renamed my fear into something cute and more appealing than fear, though, I called it perfectionism. That’s more acceptable than the word scared, and I could use it to explain away my lack of advancement. I was afraid people would find out that I am not as talented or as smart as they think. Of course, hiding my skills made even more people believe I did not have any. Some people even began to assume I was lazy, they would measure my progress next to my gifts and come back confounded. How could I be an intellectual with nothing much to show for it?
Many times, God has called me back to Him, to go deeper, get closer, recognize His presence, and step out in faith. Several times, I let fear block the call. Instead of obeying the Lord, I would do what was safe: stay at a job that did not care about me, hang with friends who did not care about me, continue to be with a guy that God did not want for me, and constantly compromise my morals and beliefs in order to not burst the bubble of safety that I had imagined. But what I viewed as safe, was actually a trap.
Every time I run back to a guy, friends who regress my progress, a job, or partnership, I get further away from Christ. No matter how fun or nice they seem.
Let’s think about Egypt in the bible, often described as lush and beautiful, where people went to look for help or to prosper instead of turning to Christ.
Lot took a long look at the fertile plains of the Jordan Valley in the direction of Zoar. The whole area was well watered everywhere, like the garden of the Lord or the beautiful land of EgyptGenesis 13:10 (NLT)
In Numbers, the Israelites, who were just freed from slavery, oppression, subjugation, and violence, the same people who were shown numerous miracles in the wilderness, wanted to go back to Egypt at the first sign of an obstacle. How often do we run back into chains, sin, and oppression when things get tough? For example, how many times have you run back to an ex, a situationship, a friend, a certain lifestyle, or a profession when you felt challenged?
The Israelites were going to be taken into a land flowing with milk and honey, abundance, a bountiful community, but they allowed fear to grip them and overtake their lives. To them, Egypt, a place where they were subjected to inhumane treatment, looked more appetizing than obedience.
Sin and disobedience can often mirror pleasure, fun, and satisfaction but only on the surface. The deeper you involve yourself, the more trapped and eventually imprisoned you become. Unfortunately for them, because of their blatant disregard for God’s presence, they were figuratively imprisoned, destined to wander in the wilderness for forty years.
How many miracles in your life must God complete before you stop treating Him with contempt and before you stop questioning Him? How long will you hamper your prosperity and remain in the chains of your mind, also called anxiety, perfectionism, immaturity and lack of self-love before you choose to run to Christ?
How long are you going to run back to the safety of your job where you live paycheck-to-paycheck and ignore the call God has on your life to be an entrepreneur and change the world for good? How long are you going to run back to that relationship that breeds tepidness, mediocrity, and even sin when God’s has someone better for you?
And how long will you continue to overlook the behavior, lifestyle, and beliefs of your friends because you’ve known them all of your life instead of obeying God who wants you to isolate and become closer to Him?
When will you stop being disobedient and allowing fear to rule over you? When will you stop wandering, afflicted by fear?
God has plans to prosper you; He has performed miracles for you. He loved you so much that he gave. And will continue to. So why are you afraid?
For God so [greatly] loved and dearly prized the world, that He [even] gave His [One and] only begotten Son, so that whoever believes and trusts in Him [as Savior] shall not perish, but have eternal lifeJohn 3:16 (AMP)
However, even if you’ve been living in fear, there is a way to turn it around.
Instead of burrowing away in guilt because of your disobedience, let’s instead activate God’s grace. Unlike the Israelites who God forced to wander in the wilderness for forty years due to their contempt, we are living under His grace, due to the gift of Christ on the cross.
So join me, the former perfectionist, in repenting and taking action today by choosing to live in faith instead of fear.