Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Intimidation and Fear: Stumbling Blocks or Stepping Stones?

Intimidation and fear can be the tools that hold you back or spur you on!

When I first heard the expression “Getting Her” from a friend on Facebook, I had a few questions, but instead of asking, I just decided to watch for posts tagged with that label to get an idea of what that all meant.  That method proved very educational.  I don’t know if that was the original intent of the founder, but I am so glad she stepped out on faith with her vision to empower women who were intimidated and afraid of some aspect of their lives, but stepped out anyway.  Brava!

I was eventually invited to join the group after an epiphany of my own.  I had reached an all-time high in my weight, and then a few weeks later, a tornado of health challenges that threatened to break my will to live.  With prayer and a new-found burst of determination, I decided that no matter what, no matter how long it took, I was going to lose the weight and realize some back-burnered dreams that had been tabled for far too long.

The weight loss has slowly begun to materialize and with it, a rosier outlook.  My health, however had taken on even more challenges.  That still has not dimmed the determination.  I may not be able to exercise as vigorously as when I started out, and until they figure out what is causing this new health challenge, my eating habits have had to adapt to seemingly endless changes, yet I still persevere.

Because of these new challenges, I was momentarily stalled in my quest to allow my dreams to re-emerge from the shadows.  Not until the writing of this post did I recognize the reason for the challenges: to stall me in my quest to polish up those very dreams that cause the enemy to drop what he’s doing and swing his attention my way.

God is allowing these challenges, I guess, to help me to see that I am, and have been, so much stronger than I had originally thought.  Things that used to make me collapse in a puddle of tears, now spur me to ask “What am I to learn from this?” People that used to make me run in the opposite direction, now cause me to ascend into heartfelt prayers for their well-being.  That song, “I’m Stronger” keeps playing over and over in my head when I feel the threat of returning to my old practice of "retreat and hide."

Someone (very wise) recently said to me, “You didn’t think you were that important, did you?” This was in answer to a moment of weakness when I wailed, “Why is the enemy fighting me so much? Why is all this happening to me all at once?”  No, I didn’t think I was that important, I didn't think my actions (or inaction) mattered that much in the grand scheme of things, I thought there were far more educated, more experienced, more qualified people to do what I thought I was being asked to do.  What I have (finally) begun to recognize though, is that there is no one more qualified than me to do what God has ordained for me to do, in the way that He has ordained for me to do it, when He has ordained for me to do it!  So as far as God is concerned, I am important!  How about that?!?!

Sure, I still feel the slings and arrows (and boulders and mosquito bites, and bombs and backhands) of intimidation and fear, but I have gained a new perspective on how to look at them, and in doing so, how to face them and learn from them, and now, how to use them to make my own journey more fruitful.  I may stumble, but I have learned how to get back up, dust myself off, straighten my crown, and continue to stride purposefully into my destiny.  I have learned how to put intimidation and fear into their respective places and use them as the stepping stones to my victory, instead of the stumbling blocks and obstacles they once were.  Because I was so often the victim of intimidation and fear, I strive to be ever mindful of my own words and actions, so that I do not make victims of the very ones to whom I am sent to minister.  I may not always succeed, but with God doing the driving, I’ll know how to make amends.

I guess I'm finally getting her!