“The Child continued to grow and become strong; increasing in wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him” Luke 2:40.
It’s pretty amazing that it took me 63 years to overcome fear. But as it says in 2 Peter, “With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.” Because God is not bound by time as we are, I must be right on target according to His plan.
Bound by fear
Fear is crippling. Fear isolates. Fear dictates. Fear causes anxiety. I had the habit of hiding from anything that made me uncomfortable, so I would avoid many situations—all a result of fear. I was very comfortable in settings with two or three people, but get me in a crowd and I would clam up and shut down. I couldn’t pray out loud, let alone speak in front of people. I never worried about it because I was able to excel in any job I’ve held. People found it hard to believe when I would say I was shy. I hid it behind a mask.
When I attended the Inspiring Generous Joy (IGJ) event in Houston in March 2014, I was pretty shy and very uncomfortable in crowds, especially around people I didn’t know. Here I was in a city I had never been to, traveling by myself, and attending an event with a couple of hundred women whom I had never met. I was totally unaware that my life was about to be transformed by a revival of my physical, mental, and spiritual self.
Set free in Christ
After attending the Houston IGJ, I knew this event was something that would be good for the women of Albuquerque. The next day—for the first time ever—I clearly heard from the Holy Spirit. He told me I was to get this thing going for our city and gave me every detail on how to get it done.
There was much to do and many hurdles to jump. I needed to get many women from my community involved but I had no idea who they would be. But I listened to the Holy Spirit and did exactly what He told me to do. He delivered. I sent 168 invitations to the event and 165 women attended! I realize now that I was allowing the enemy to throw a blanket of fear over me to keep me feeling contained and smothered. Fear that I wasn’t good enough. Fear that I wasn’t smart enough. Fear that people wouldn’t care what I had to say. That fear caused me to be selfish. I had wrapped myself in the sin of selfishness in order to protect myself.
Grateful for His many gifts
When I was bound by fear, I didn’t see that God filled me with many gifts when He created me: the gift of loving others, the gift of kindness, the gift of giving, and the gift of encouraging others through the Holy Spirit. Then as icing on the cake—and to make sure I leaped out in faith—He surrounded me with a multitude of sisters in Christ and a few special, God-loving mentors who are my cheerleaders.
I never thought I would be able to witness God’s goodness to others because my spiritual growth came so much later in life. But today I understand that I don’t have to be a biblical scholar to witness for God. I only have to let Christ’s love for me shine through. Even a chance remark to another person can be used to glorify God if we are willing to listen to and obey His leading. After all, who can argue with the Holy Spirit?
Another of His gifts is “ spiritual radar” that pushes me to do things I would never have had the guts to otherwise do. He leads me to really listen and reach out to other women with encouragement and love. I am trusted. I am called a friend. I am actually ministering to women, which I find incredible. He’s also given me the courage to pray aloud. When I get together with people and they ask if I want to pray, I’m able to say “ Absolutely!”
God isn’t finished with me yet
Jesus said, “Happy are the pure in heart.” We should be able to take that for just what it means. If the heart is the center of our motives, then our motives must be pure. If the heart is the residence of our wills, then our wills must be yielded to Christ. So, to all my sisters in Christ or anyone who is held back from living out God’s purpose for your life, I am a perfect example of how God can make a mountain out of a pebble. That is what He has done for me. And He’s not finished yet. I can’t wait to see what He has in store for the next chapter of my story.