In last week's podcast episode, I discussed overcoming adversity, the first session or first chapter in Bill Hybels' book, Living in God's Power, Finding God's Strength for Life's Challenges. I am doing a 7 week book study on Hybels' book. The book study discusses the ways in which we can go about getting to the next level in what God has for our lives. Last week's episode also talked about what Hybels says about getting over adversity. He said, "adversity can come pounding down on us in many different ways. It may come in the form of a financial, relational, or emotional beating. It may come from a stranger or from those closest to you. Or it may come out of the clear blue sky' (p. 11). As I said in that podcast, adversity will come. Yet we can and will overcome anything that "ails" us when we live in the power of God. You can and will make it. Know that.
The focus on this week's episode is on overcoming fear, session or chapter 2 of Hybels' book. I lived in fear for a long time. I lived in fear of failure and fear of success. My fear of failure was, what if things didn't work out? What would I do if I fell on my face? Would people laugh at me? Blah blah blah. And my fear of success was, what if things worked out very well? Would I be able to handle everything that came with that success? What if I fell on my face? What would people think and say about me? Blah blah blah. As a result of all of the what-if scenarios I played out in my mind, I didn't act on doing what was in my heart. Because of that fear, I didn't write, I didn't encourage as much as I should have, and I didn't move on my gifts. I was idle -- going nowhere -- living unhappily ever after. I let the fear of what could happen stop me from doing anything, so I did nothing. I let what people may or may not have said about me, incapacitate me, so I remained in a holding pattern. I was going nowhere fast. I let the fear of putting myself out there, stop me from going up, so I remained where I was, down and out -- in a false comfort zone. I wasted so much time wasting time. Fear had gripped me. It had a hold on my life. It convinced me I didn't have what it took for greatness. It made me believe that I didn't deserve as much as God had for my life. Doing nothing was my fake friend. All the while, living a life of unfulfilled dreams. Please don't let that happen to you. Move on what lives inside of you. March to the steps the Lord has lined up for you. Dance to the music that continuously plays out in your mind when you lay your head on that pillow. As long as you're breathing it is never too late. And if time is going to go by anyway, rock and roll right on with it. Don't let fear grip you like it did me. Flow. Run. Glide. Move. Go. Proceed. And search for why you may be letting that fear stop your flow. Get to the bottom on it. Investigate. Seek and you will find.
Hybels says, if we are serious about being liberated from fear, we must seek to understand the origins of our fear (p. 21). For me, I think I always worried about what people would think and say about me, because I was so concerned about my image, which I know now, was based on an insecurity I had about myself. I realized I wasn't as confident as I thought I was. My mother used to always tell me she saw greatness in me, but it took years to finally know that to the level I know it today. My mother instilled confidence in me, but it took awhile before I really believed it for myself. When I got that revelation I was out of the people-pleasing business. Now I know that the only one I need to please is God. It took me much soul searching (by praying, reading God's Word, talking to wise people, reading wise books, and listening to wise things) that I was finally able to know who Sharon was. And there is no way I will go back to that little fearful person. I am living my life like it's golden, because God told me I desire for you to live that way, my child. He has put a fire in me that I am yelling from the rooftops to you, that God has a divine plan for your life and He doesn't want you wasting it like I did, on what any enemy is trying to place in your mind. God has more for you. And when we please God, do you know it will make even our enemies be well with us? Proverbs 16:7 says, "when the Lord takes pleasure in anyone's way, he causes their enemies to make peace with them." If we are operating in fear, get to the root of that thing and move on out from there. "Only when we identify the birthplace of fear, can we begin the process of overcoming it" (Hybels, p. 21). Remember, fear is a lie and doesn't come from God. Hybels says, 'we have to expose the lies of fear and not be paralyzed by them (p. 22). We can all overcome fear. We can all walk in the new creations Christ made us to be. Do you believe it? Good, then let's get it on and get this action-oriented party started in Jesus name. Today is the day you will begin to live in faith, not fear. Amen.