Faith Over Fear

Recently my husband and I started working out at a gym called Athletic Republic. It has been a FAT minute since I worked out in a gym with a trainer. Honestly, it has been a refreshing change to work out with someone who pushes me, rather than relying on myself.

The other day our trainer had us doing box jumps. I started off on level 2. It was fairly easy, so the next round I went up to level 3. He looked at me and said, “go up to the next one (level 4). You can do it.”

Ummmm…. I am not a spring chicken, nor have I ever considered myself a springy chicken. So, I half-heartedly attempted to jump, and then fear took over. Regrettably, I stepped away…hating that fear inside of myself the entire day.

These workouts have produced a lot of moments where I find I have trust issues. Whether it is running backwards on a treadmill and letting go of the bar, doing pull-ups, plyo pushups, or box jumps, I find I lack trust within myself to accomplish them.

And I hate it. I hate feeling fear.

I know God hears my heart. I know He understands how much I hate feeling fear. I also know He is not going to take it away from me. He is going to let me work through it, because on the other side is power, strength and courage.

One of the ways He knows He can reach me is through words. I had begun to read a book this past weekend called Think Like A Warrior by Darrin Donnelly. It talks about five inner beliefs that make one unstoppable. The last one is choosing faith over fear.

For so long I have justified my fears and allowed them to rule over me. It is easy to justify them, because it feels like they are protecting us from some inherent harm. When in all reality they are doing more harm by keeping us in the same place, not living.

The opposite of fear is faith. Faith in God. Faith in the abilities and gifts He has given us. Faith that life is full of opportunity and growth. Faith that, even if we get hurt, we will grow. Faith that we are more than we think we are. Faith that the next step is renewal. Faith that there is more than what we see right now.

Faith in God

“You see when we place our dependence on God, we no longer have to worry. This type of faith allows us to be bold, even recklessly bold, in the pursuit of our dreams. Faith in God takes confidence to a whole new level. It provides us with help along the way as well as sureness in our action. We can know with certainty that if we give our absolute best, God will take care of the rest.”

There is power in faith. Power over fear. Power over weakness. Power over the unknown. Power over anything holding us back. It is only accessible when we CHOOSE it.

Choosing faith is something that needs to be done all day, every day. It is a power that adds upon itself, giving us confidence in the next step. It is truly a gift from God.

I love that He is so aware of us. I love that He sends us the ability to be strong through faith. I love that He knows each of our fears and provides us a way through them. Knowing this helps me know I am His.

Today I choose faith over fear.

Limiting God

Sometimes I truly hope I can express what is going on inside. As much as I want to be able to translate the feelings of my heart and the lessons I am learning into words, I find I am not as skilled as I would like to be. Refinement comes through action, so here we go.

Last week I had a gut check of faith. Acting on inspiration from Heaven, our family has sold our home and purchased a spec home in another town. It will take a few weeks for this home to be completed, so we are staying with my kind parents in the meantime. After all of the chaos of packing and moving, we settled into their home and the stillness settled in. I am learning that I do not do well sitting still.

My mind started to race and think about why we were moving and doubts began to creep in. The adversary is quite skilled because these thoughts didn’t feel like doubts, they felt like legitimate ideas. One idea would lead to another and to another until my mind was racing and I had forgotten all of the miracles that had led us to where we were buying our home. Fear set into my heart and I could not see my way forward.

After a sleepless night, I found myself on a car ride with my husband where I shared all that was going on in my heart and soul. He patiently listened to all of my concerns and never once told me that I was wrong. Instead he took me out to the house we are buying. To be honest, I did not want to be there. I had truly convinced myself that it was not where we were supposed to be, so it was the last place I wanted to be.

He found a bucket, put his jacket on it (he is a true gentleman) and sat me down. Through inspiration from God, he reminded me of everything that had happened to bring us there. We had offers on two other homes, but neither worked out. We were NOT going to look for a home in this particular town, but it was the only one we liked. New construction/spec homes were never anything we considered, yet it was the one that felt the best. After we put an offer on it, all of the paths began to open to get us there. It truly has been one miracle after another. He told me to rejoice and let God show me why we are supposed to be there. It will always be a special moment to me.

After a good amount of sleep, my heart was healed and I began to see things as they are.

I had allowed fear to take over and hold me back from an amazing adventure and opportunity for our family. Rather than using fear to drive me forward, I had let it hold me back. We have never been able to see the whole reason for why we have moved in the past, because the experiences have shaped us one at a time. I had forgotten this.

I realized that my fears and doubts limited the power of God in my life. They had became the barriers that restrained inspiration, joy and strength that would drive me forward.

Yet, the moment I turned to Him and Jesus Christ through prayer and talking to my husband, they were right there. There wasn’t a hesitation on their part. It was as if they were waiting for me to invite them to help me take down the walls I had built.

In moments of reflection, I see how much their power was limited because of me. Rather than submit, I chose to let fear to take over. In fear, I felt defeated, overwhelmed, tired, impatient, weak, defiant, stagnant.

As soon as I let Them in, I began to feel creative, hopeful, peaceful, receptive, powerful, centered.

Which led me to the question… Are there more places in life where I limit God?

Yes.

The power comes in recognizing them to overcome. It takes courage to face the walls we have built with our fears and doubts. It takes more strength than we have to tear them down on our own. The incredible moments come when we accept help and allow His power to manifest in our lives. It is always humbling to see how much He knows us and loves us.

His Answers

The quiet that comes after the chaos is some of the most insightful times. If I take the time to slow down and truly see, I am usually blessed with a deeper level of understanding that I normally would not recognize.

God is a master at how He orchestrates our lives, especially when we include Him. What I am learning time and time again is that the answers He gives to my prayers are not how I have them planned out in my mind. And I am so thankful for that.

His answers are only found and seen when we are searching and open. Sometimes they seem more like a ‘curse’ than a gift. But all of the time, they are right.

I have been praying for something. It has been in my heart prayers for a very long time. Even if I don’t utter it out loud, my heart has been speaking this desire. I have had so many ideas of how this prayer could be answered, but each time it never worked out.

So, I have kept praying.

Some days I have felt discouraged because I have wanted my way to work out. I want to be that smart and when it is quite obvious that I haven’t seen the entire picture, it is hard.

Other days I am soooo grateful that my way didn’t work because better things have fallen into place. Things I NEVER would have thought about, pieces I NEVER would have put together.

You see, answers to prayers are never just ONE thing. Answers ripple through different lives and directions in life. Each time it seems like it is a, “no” or a, “just wait” there is something else I need to learn in the process to prepare me for the next step.

I am learning that these things that are deep in our hearts, the things that we want most are put there for a reason. If I didn’t want it so badly, I wouldn’t allow God to answer through opportunities for growth and refinement. This desire has shaped my prayers, defined my faith, and allowed me to search different paths of growth.

God is truly in the details of our lives. He wants to be part of all that we do, who we want to become and the journey it takes to get there. All we need to do is trust Him.

Who Am I Feeding?

I remember reading the tale of the two wolves that live inside us. One wolf is all that is negative. He is the one that engenders anger, greed, fear, jealousy, inferiority, and resentment. The other wolf is all that is GOOD. It is joy, confidence, strength, love, humility, truth, compassion, and peace. The wolves constantly battle. As in all battles, the stronger one prevails. Which one is victorious?

It is the one we feed.

The battles within us are greater than anything we see in the world. Our souls are constantly bombarded with thoughts, ideas, and reflections of those things that are meant to pull us down and forget WHO WE TRULY ARE. Some days the bad wolf wins a lot of ground. And other days the good wolf is triumphant and powerful.

There is so much power in finding and knowing who we are.

Like most teenagers, I didn’t know who I was. I fed the wolves inside me whatever was in front of me. Never being intentional, just what was there…good or bad. As a result, I struggled with confidence, friends (not really having very many), treating my body as I should instead of using it as a tool, sadness, feeling unworthy to have good things and real love, and the list goes on and on. I had moments of good things, but they came when I was surrounded by good people, reading a good book, and serving others. I am grateful for these brief moments of light.

With the wisdom that comes with age, I see that my lack of intention and focus on the good, truly left me in a place that I COULD NOT SEE THAT I AM A CHILD OF GOD. I could not see that because I AM HIS, I am worthy of all the good in life, I am a powerful beast, I am beautiful (even those days, you know what I mean), I am everything I want to be.

The more I focused my eyes and heart on God and Jesus Christ, the more my heart began to heal.

They are the only ones who could heal me. No amount of therapy could. No amount of well-intended words could change the internal dialogue. No amount of doing things that ‘made me happy’ could.

I had to open the door to them. I had to put myself in those places that allowed their love to pierce my stony heart. It had to be me.

It still has to be me.

There is truly a battle that goes on EVERY DAY. Some days I feed the bad wolf. I know it because sadness, frustration, loneliness, negative self-talk, emptiness and despair all take over my thoughts and actions.

But the days I feed the good wolf through creativity, work, exercise, reading uplifting words, serving, and productivity, I gain a greater understanding of who I am.

In that understanding is power, peace, knowledge, hope, strength, love, a hunger for more, energy, and so much more.

I believe that all of our souls crave this. They thrive on all of the good that comes from knowing we are here for a higher purpose. The only way for this purpose to unfold is by tapping into the goodness of God and Jesus Christ. It is turning away from those things that leave us uncomfortably numb, that don’t provide anything but escape, that causes us to turn inward.

It takes a lot of effort to do this and turn towards the goodness. Yet, every time I have done this, my efforts have been greatly rewarded.

I am sure the battle between the wolves will continue.

It is who I choose to feed that will determine who wins today… and every day.

 

What I Found

I think I have started and erased the beginning of this particular post at least 10 times. I know what I want to share, yet the task of introducing it seems pretty huge right now….maybe it means that there is someone who needs this, like I did when I found it.

What I FoundAs I have studied the Book of Mormon over the years, I have grown to love the section that is referred to as ‘the war chapters’. It is a time when the Nephites and Lamanites are engaged in a long, grueling war. I have grown to admire and love the righteous men who were chosen to lead the Nephite armies.

Growing up we played a lot of war games in our backyard and the fields beyond. The outcome of who won was always determined by who had the best leaders on their team. These were the ones who could quickly figure out what tactics were the best, communicate and were willing to ‘go to battle’ with the team.

One particular day not too long ago I picked up my Book of Mormon to study for the day and noticed I had arrived at a war chapter (Alma 2). On the surface I couldn’t imagine what it would teach me that day, yet I asked in my heart…What will I find in this chapter?

In this chapter a wicked man wanted to overthrow the inspired government and become king. He had convinced others that they needed to support him and by so doing they would become rulers as well. When the voice of the people voted against his plan, he took his followers, joined with the enemies and engaged the free people in a war. What could I possibly learn from this to help me in my daily life?

I learned about confronting an enemy.  The Nephites did not want their freedoms taken from them. They understood that if they allowed this man and his desires to take control, they would lose all that they cherished. I realized that the enemies we confront do not carry physical weapons, they carry the weapons of doubt, fear, pride and lies. Their weapons are insidious and they are wielded with amazing skill.

As they stepped onto the battlefield, the Nephites looked to their leader, one who was inspired and with them. Faced with an enemy that outnumbered them, I am sure their hearts could have melted in fear. Yet, instead of surrendering, they prayed. I love the how they were blessed:

Nevertheless, the Nephites being strengthened by the hand of the Lord, having prayed mightily to him that he would deliver them out of the hands of their enemies, therefore the Lord did hear their cries, and did strengthen them, and the Lamanites and Amlicites did fall before them.

I pray that I live so that I can call upon God at any time in my life, whether I am fighting the enemy or I just simply need Him…knowing I have paid the price to have Him there. I watch my son pay this price daily as he spends time in his scriptures and on his knees in prayer….he is a mighty warrior in my eyes. I have seen how he has been strengthened time and time again by the Lord in situations that have come up at school.

I found in this chapter of scripture that I need to be ready to confront the enemy that would destroy me and my family. I found that there is One who will be there to fight the battle with me when I call upon Him. I found that I will have the strength and knowledge given me to wield the weapons of faith.

I found that no matter where I am in life, I am not alone.