I’ve been reading through a book with my small group called “Pathway to Purpose for Women: connecting your to-do list, your passions, and God’s purposes for your life” by Katie Brazelton. It is a great book about discovering how your life roles, longings, and experiences point you toward your life mission. Toward God’s bold agenda for your life. It has been very insightful and helpful. We’ve spent the summer on it and honestly I want to go back and read it again now. There are definitely some chapters that I feel like I need to go back and spend some more time in.
One of those chapters (and one of her steps on the Pathway to Purpose) is Taking Courage.
The author talks about how we are all vulnerable of being sidetracked from our life purpose by fear. Fear can prevent us from being all that God designed us to be. She says that “once fear has you in its wicked grasp, it blocks creativity, productivity, and relationships.” Fear can hold us back from authentic relationships, meaningful tasks, and our grand life purpose.
She talks about some of the more common fears that can sidetrack us:
- Fear of ridicule & criticism – “Do you have a fear of ridicule or criticism that keeps you from pursuing your purpose?” A fear that others will laugh at or tear apart what you have set out to do?
- Fear of success – This one is not immediately as recognizable, but can also be paralyzing. What if I succeed? What will be expected of me then, and will I be able to live up to that? I’m scared it will be too hard…
- Fear of being found out – This is the fear that others will find out that “you’re really not smart enough, good enough, funny enough, articulate enough, organized enough, or loving enough to really fulfill God’s purpose for your life.” What if God chose the wrong person for this job and they all find out?
- Fear of failure – Definitely one of the most common fears. The fear that you’ll look like a fool, that people won’t believe in you the next time…
I know I struggle with all of these from time to time. I hate that these fears can hold me back from taking a leap of faith, from doing what God is really calling me to do… whether it is in the scope of a grand, over-arching life purpose or just in the day to day nudgings from the Holy Spirit (to share about Christ with someone, to buy a homeless person a meal, to take a risk at work).
We must put our trust in the Lord. It is a command we are given. But it doesn’t mean that the task at hand will be any easier. We are definitely in for a wild ride when it comes to following our calling from God.
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. Do not be afraid, for I am with you.” -from Isaiah 43
Brazelton says that “taking courage is a determined act of our will that helps us release our fears and enables us to move forward. Taking courage is an act we initiate that is based on something real and reliable – God’s steadfastness. Taking courage begins with our understanding that the Lord God has called each of us by name and promises to be with us.”
“Don’t be afraid of the will of God. The will of God will not take you where the power of God cannot keep you.” -Adrian Rogers
“Positive Christian women move out even when their knees are shaking. Why? Because they have been kneeling on those knees that are shaking. Not only do they know who they are, they know whose they are.” -Janet Congo
What do you fear? Are your fears blocking your creativity, productivity, or relationships? How do you get past them?