Facing My Fears

FullSizeRender-4

This is me. Posing for the camera, teeth chattering, and biting my nails. It’s just a pose. So you can get a picture of what I look like afraid.

Actually, it’s not a good picture. It’s just for show. It’s pretend. Cause what I’m really feeling right now is a mixture of fear, excitement, anticipation, amazement, and I don’t know if you can understand this one, but it comes to me in waves…P.A.N.I.C.

Yes, in the midst of all that positive energy is some really pitiful stuff.

Please don’t judge me.

A few years ago I spoke to a group of women with a message from the story of Gideon. You can read the story for yourself in Judges 6 and 7. In fact, I encourage you to read it. I want you to read it. You need to read it. Just sayin’…

Gideon was threshing wheat in a winepress, under a tree, hiding in fear from the terrifying Midianites who were oppressing God’s people. One of the ways they instilled fear was to swoop down and steal the Israelite’s food the minute it was harvested. Yep, for all their power and strength, they couldn’t even thresh the wheat for themselves. They preyed on the children of God by watching them do all the work and stealing the fruit of their labor. Can I hear a “Not fair, Lord, not fair!” 

Scripture tells us that The Angel of the Lord came to Gideon as he was threshing wheat. Most scholars agree that this was the pre-incarnate Christ. It was Jesus Himself who came down to give Gideon some much-needed encouragement. God had heard the cries of His people and had chosen Gideon to deliver them from oppression. It was the farthest thing from Gideon’s mind at the time. I’m sure he had done his fair share of crying out, but never in a million years did he stop to think that God would raise him up to lead an army, carry a sword, and fight some battles.

I love that God came down. Not to the strongest man in Israel. Not to the wealthiest. Not to the one with the most prestige and status, but to a man so afraid he was in hiding, threshing wheat where grapes were pressed for wine, trying to throw his enemy off track by keeping what little harvest he had a secret.

God met Gideon where he was. In all his fear and insecurity and weakness. And, yet, the Angel still called Gideon a mighty warrior!

“The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.”  (Judges 6:12)

Oh, my shivering soul! Oh, my racing heart! Oh, how I love that God saw Gideon not for what he was at the moment of encounter, but for what he would become!

Can I hear an “Amen,” please?!?

God didn’t see Gideon as a coward. God saw a man of courage.

I needed to revisit this story today. I needed to reread my notes. Because sometimes I feel just like Gideon. Small. Insignificant. Definitely not the strongest of the strong and certainly not the wealthiest. Yet, God has called me to ‘go in the strength (I) have.’ Because tomorrow I fly out to California, all by my lonesome, to share a message with some very Jesus-loving women who live in Glendora. Like Gideon, I’ve often found myself questioning God and making excuses, “But who am I? I am the least. I am the weakest.” (Like I said earlier, please don’t judge.)

But, you know what I love about an encounter with The Almighty? I can take all my fears and weaknesses and insecurities to Him and He does the most amazing thing. He changes my perspective. Just like He did for Gideon.

God graciously made Himself known to Gideon. The Lord who is strength Himself gave Gideon a pep talk. Charged him up real good, too! And He gave Gideon a few promises, “The Lord is with you…I am sending you…go in the strength I give you…peace to you…fear not…”

And this encounter changed Gideon’s life forever. He understood where the answers lie to that age-old question, Who am I?, that plagues us all when God asks us to step out of our comfort zones and face our fears…

…he finally realized that even though he battled fear of monumental proportions, God would empower him with courage, strength, and might.

…he finally understood that even though he had no previous experience as a leader, God would equip him with wisdom, discernment, and counsel to rally an army.

…he finally grasped that even though he felt weak and insignificant, God would enable him to see himself as a vessel, an instrument, and a man of great value.

I think the encouragement of God comes to all of us when we hear His call to “Go.” Like Gideon, we come to see that it’s never about us. It’s never about me. It’s always unquestionably, undeniably, unmistakably all about Him. When we realize we have nothing to offer in and of our own then we’re in a good place for God to use us.

And sometimes…most of the time…alright, all of the time…for me, it means I just gotta “Go” scared. Because it’s in my teeth-chattering-biting-nails-racing-heart-shivering-kinda-fear that I am completely, wholely, and absolutely dependent upon God. Like Gideon, I can face my fear head-on because I have the certainty that He is with me…He is sending me…He is strengthening me…He gives me peace.

When the question Who am I? taunts me like a pounding drum keeping in time with my racing heart I answer,

I am a mighty warrior, thank you very much!

2 thoughts on “Facing My Fears”

  1. Nina, I add to your Gideon message from Judges 7.
    Go, broken and wide open!
    Your Virginia sister-in-Christ (who misses your sweet joy), Susan

    Judges 7:15-16, 19-21 (NCV)
    “15 When Gideon heard about the dream and what it meant, he worshiped God. Then Gideon went back to the camp of Israel and called out to them, “Get up! The LORD has handed the army of Midian over to you!” Gideon divided the three hundred men into three groups. He gave each man a trumpet and an empty jar with a burning torch inside.
    19 So Gideon and the one hundred men with him came to the edge of the enemy camp just after they had changed guards. It was during the middle watch of the night. Then Gideon and his men blew their trumpets and smashed their jars. All three groups of Gideon’s men blew their trumpets and smashed their jars. They held the torches in their left hands and the trumpets in their right hands. Then they shouted, “A sword for the LORD and for Gideon!” Each of Gideon’s men stayed in his place around the camp, but the Midianites began shouting and running to escape.”

    Are you getting this? “… an empty jar with a burning torch inside.” They carried fire inside clay jars, which they brought into the enemy’s camp. We, too, are like jars of clay, and the light is Jesus Christ and His fiery passion/Spirit within us.

    2 Corinthians 4:6-7
    “God once said, “Let the light shine out of the darkness!” This is the same God who made his light shine in our hearts by letting us know the glory of God that is in the face of Christ. We have this treasure from God, but we are like clay jars that hold the treasure. This shows that the great power is from God, not from us.”

    It was not until those jars were broken that their torches blazed. When we are broken and vulnerable before the Lord and before our enemies, we are in the place where God wants us to SHINE!

    Do not set your jar on a shelf where it won’t get broken, and only gathers dust. Allow God to break you wide open!

    Matthew 5:16
    “In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”

    1. Oh, my goodness, Susan! You had no way of knowing that I actually posted a little devotion on my Instagram feed several months ago with this very truth. I even added a picture of the flaming pot I drew in my Bible. There are so many wonderful nuggets tucked inside the story of Gideon. That’s why I love it so. Thank you so very much for reminding me and for your sweet encouragement. I’ll actually be using the 2 Corinthians passage in one of my messages at the retreat this weekend. Go in God’s strength today, sweet sister! Love…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s