Fear is a minion that robs us of joy...
I am a runner. Not like what you think of, but in that I run from things. I was not always that way. I guess the saying is true, "With age comes wisdom." But I would add to that "with age comes fear." Fear based on experiences and heartbreak, but also based on the lies we believe. Those lies we have either been told or we have told ourselves. You know the ones--"You are not qualified, why would anyone listen to you", I could go on and on.
So my running lead to excuses. If I found that something was a little overwhelming, I came up with excuses to not do it or quit. Thank goodness my running started after I got married. I will give you a great example (only one, but there are many), missions. I went on Summer Mission while I was in college. Over the years since, I have allowed myself to focus on the negative things that happened during my summer missions experience. So anytime I heard the words "Mission Trip", I said "no thank you, been there and done that". Or I would say, "Why go over there when we have needs in our backyards here." That is true but you still need to go.
Now there is a word that strikes fear, panic and anxiety--GO. I became a stay at home Mom because I thought that was what I needed to do. I went back to work part time after a couple of years because I needed adults in my life. I stopped working after my parents died (Long story, but the shorter version is I had to take care of their estate that included a large retail store.). During the years that followed their deaths, I found myself not wanting to go. Like go anywhere. That's when I found the excuser that dwelled within me.
Missions? I didn't feel called. God chuckled. Mission trip then? Oh no I still don't feel called. God was less than amused. So this conversation has been happening for years now. So God keeps prompting and I keep saying "uh, not right now." That is until one of our pastors preached a sermon on Fear. He listed excuses he (or we) have had regarding missions (but I say excuses to not participate in life). It is moments like these that I picture God picking up that 2x4 and smacking me with it.
So missions? I am afraid to go. "Joshua 1:9 "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go." But I am not qualified. Isaiah 54:4 "Do not be afraid; you will not be put to shame. Do not fear disgrace; your will not be humiliated. YOu will forget the shame of your yourth and the reproach of your widowhood." But if I go where I am hated, they may actually kill me. Matthew 10:28 "Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the sould. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell." Okay, so every excuse I have, God counters with scripture. What causes me anxiety, He resolves. Psalm 94:19 "When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy." Or Psalm 34:4 "I sought the LORD, and He answered me; he delivered me from all my anxieties."
This was not about missions or mission trips, it was about my fear and disobedience. I have anxieties that cause me to become paralyzed. I have found safety in the walls of my house. But my house did not offer comfort, conly confinement.. Throught prayer and quiet time reading scriptures, I found myself overcoming some of the fear that gripped me.
Outreach of any kind is frightening. It means we are vulnerable. Based on our experience with others, we have learned that others can hurt us. Deuteronomy 31:8 "It is the LORD who goes before you. He will be with you; He will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed." Relying on orselves can only lead to fear and disappointment. However,understanding that God goes before us, preparing a way for us--that understanding leads to a God success.
One last scripture, 1 John 4:18 "There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives our fear because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made in perfect love." Perfect love is God. God drives out fear.
So missions? Maybe...I am listening, Lord...