Sometimes my family sits around the TV with a big bowl of popcorn and we watch movies.
Home movies. The kind we made years ago with a video recorder when my now teens were toddlers.
This stroll down memory lane makes my kids laugh. They point at our big hair and wild clothes and their childish antics. It makes me realize how fast time has flown, how old I’ve gotten and how many times I used to say “be careful” to my adventurous children.
No, seriously. In every video, I say it over and over. Don’t get too close to the edge. Watch the waves. Don’t get in over your head.
I am not brave.
I like safety. I like control. I like comfort.
When I said yes to God, I didn’t know where it would take me, but I knew I couldn’t live another day for myself, in my safe “be careful” world. I didn’t know leaving behind my known comfortable life and the American Dream would take me on a journey of wild obedience.
But it has.
There has never been a wild thing about me — not my hair, my clothes, my lifestyle, my past. Nothing. I have always lived a calculated, well-planned, safe life.
But now, with a God-sized yes tucked under my belt, people assume I am courageous.
That’s what happens when we see people do something scary. But more often then not, they are terrified — I am terrified. We don’t need more courage to live out our faith. We don’t need more bravery, we simply need peace to look fear in the face and discover that love is the cure for what scares us.
Whether it’s losing our life for the sake of the gospel or dying to our wayward flesh, we can let our fear strengthen us. Fear is a present weakness; it is also a catalyst to keep saying yes.
In a couple of weeks I’m taking my 15-year-old daughter back to Africa, and you must know, I’m still scared to death. But I have peace in my fear.
“Give up yourself, and you will find your real self. Lose your life and you will save it. Submit to death, death of your ambitions and favorite wishes every day and death of your whole body in the end submit with every fiber of your being, and you will find eternal life.” ~ C.S. Lewis
Fear isn’t just uncertainty wrapped up in the unknown. When we peel pack the layers, we discover a lack of trust and a loss of control. That’s the root of fear.
Our yes to God should scare us.
Not to keep us immobile, but to keep us dependent on the One who asks us to say it in the first place.
Fear keeps us moving towards God.
The times I have been most afraid in my life — quitting secure jobs, saying yes to a God-sized dream, entering my teenager’s bedroom — these are the moments I have felt most alive. We think playing it safe and living within our comfort zone is the way to feel alive. But when we get dirt under our nails and follow Jesus into risky places, this is where we realize our comfort was actually slowly killing our joy.
Yes, there is fear in obedience. But peace keeps us on the journey.
And the joy that follows our yes to God is wild.
I don’t know what scares you today, what keeps you up at night, clinging to comfort. But can I encourage you to be brave today? Make that phone call. Ask or receive forgiveness. Send that email.
Do something that scares you just a little. Go a little deeper.
Be brave today.
by Kristen Welch, author of Rhinestone Jesus: Saying Yes to God When Safe Sparkly Faith is No Longer Enough.
Bev @ Walking Well With God says
How true that lack of trust and the thought of losing control are at the root of fear. Even as a young girl, I was very controlled…I didn’t “color outside the lines” much. I also realize how little trust I had. From the day I said, “yes” to Christ as a 13 year old, He has been trying to pry my clenched hands off this safety bar of control. But, I’ve learned, that when I let go and fall into His love and dare to risk…the joy can be unspeakable. His perfect love DOES cast out fear. I am proof that there is hope for even the greatest control freak lol. Thanks for the encouragement to keep on trusting and keep on daring to take risks with the Lord. I will pray for your trip with your daughter…what a life changing experience it will be to share this together!
Thank you. Your words have only served to further strengthen the path I feel I’m being led down: one of opening the door to traumatic memories I’ve been trying to suppress because opening it up feels an impossible task…I’m so scared of breaking into tiny pieces and not being able to take care of my family. But I need to let go of that control I’ve tried so hard to hold onto and place it in my Heavenly Father’s hands. Thank you.
Amy M says
I think because of my profession, I’ve been trained for so long to be careful and to be in control. If I let myself internalize those manmade rules of a profession too much, it takes me right back to the wrong way of fear.
I love what you say about saying yes to God and fear. It reminds me of a Bible teacher I had who would talk to us about “the fear that makes us lean on God.”
Thank you so much Kristen for your beautiful message. I have felt God speaking to me lately by putting the word surrender in my head. I woke up one morning with that word in my head. I heard the pastor say the word surrender during his sermon. I saw the word surrender on someone’s license plate, as I was waiting at a stop light. I read the word surrender while doing my Bible study homework. I thought- Wow, God is trying to tell me something. I find it daunting to surrender everything to Him, but realize that this is the only way to find peace. I’ve realized that I need to step out of my secure, safe place and do things for God even if the thought produces fear, because in doing so I will have joy!
Sister Sarah says
Standing up for my faith is the way I am being brave. I, too, like safety.
Kristen, I KNOW that craving for safety, comfort and control. I’ve struggled with it for years. Your words resonate in my heart. You slayed me with your words (that are oh, so true!): “When we peel pack the layers, we discover a lack of trust and a loss of control. That’s the root of fear.”
I needed those words. I want to grow in trusting God . . . enough to say yes to those things that scare me silent. Thank you for your truths shared here today.
And, I hope your time in Africa with your daughter is unforgettable!! 🙂
Amen! Just 1 short month ago, I said Yes to God and followed him to Haiti for a short-term mission trip (my first trip, the first time i’ve traveled out of the country, my first exposure to poverty…so many firsts). Reflecting/processing today- and most days recently – on the entire experience and this spoke directly to my heart and so many of the emotions I’ve felt in the past 4 weeks. Especially this : We think playing it safe and living within our comfort zone is the way
to feel alive. But when we get dirt under our nails and follow Jesus
into risky places, this is where we realize our comfort was actually
slowly killing our joy…that, my friend, is MY truth today! wow! my continual prayer is that i honor and serve God wherever He calls me to be – my kitchen sink, the work water cooler, or thousands of miles (and a world away) in Haiti. and that my heart is always ready to say YES!
Ginger Harrington says
It’s so easy to balloon ourselves in our careful world. I appreciated your post today!
Danna Anderson says
Thank you Kristen for sharing in such a honest and real way! Can so relate to everything you mentioned. I am aware of many areas in my life I am missing out on joy and freedom because of my hang ups and I really do want to find the boldness to say Yes…without any hesitations to God’s call on my life completely, even in spite of the cost. I will say I always find myself blessed and feeling liberated by Incourage ministries!
Thank you all for your faithfulness to serve God for me and every other woman.
I love this! As I am trying to plan for my life after grad school and where to live, I want to keep this in mind. I want to say yes to God whether it means staying close or moving far from my family. As I move forward with job applications and decisions I want to be courageous and always open to God.
Inspired Life says
My story has come out of your keystrokes here. I am safe, prepared, secure in all I do. I don’t even risk wearing vibrant colors, nope stick to khaki and white. I have always been willing to obey God but want to do so treading cautiously. Last year He told me take off the life vest and come to me. Walk on water. Needless to say my one word this year is courage as I boldly walk on water toward Him. Well, still stepping gingerly…
Beth Williams says
Proud of you for saying Yes to God. Right now I find myself craving safety yet at the same time wanting to be a local missionary. I seem to want to have more time and money to just do for others. Want to help build homes, feed people, and show Jesus to others.
When I let go of safety and risk my rewards were great and I was on a high for Jesus. I want that back, but cling to much to safety! Maybe I can find the courage to let go and let God run my life for me!
Have a great trip with your daughter! You both are brave and courageous!!
Gina Comer says
So funny how Good works. He’s taught me to trust him to take care of things and me. I’ve boldly gone plenty where I had no businesses being. Fearless. Stupid. I find peace and rest in him. He always knows what we need for balance.