"You have been chosen, and you must therefore use such strength and heart and wits as you have."
I have never been a peaceful sleeper. Most nights I sleep in fitful and erratic snatches of time, waking often. Sometimes I give up at 1 or 2 in the morning, slip out of bed, and sneak downstairs to read a book.
I could turn on the hallway lights, wake up my husband, and startle the dog. Instead, I prefer to creep through the house in the midnight dark, tiptoeing down the stairs and through the silent shadows, imagining all the scary things that haunt us about dark houses.
My midnight walks are a form of test, a way to force myself to face my fear.
Each time I arrive downstairs and snap on the lamp, I find my safe and familiar living room, the same comfy sofa, the dog toys scattered on the floor. Every time I reach my destination, I remember that all I imagine could be lurking in the dark is not the reality I see when I fill the room with light.
So it is with all our fears. Often, the problems that we imagine, the shadows that scare us, will no longer exist when we arrive and turn on God’s light. When we confront our fears directly, they lose their power to influence our decisions and will no longer keep us frozen in the dark.
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” 2 Timothy 1:7.
Today I encourage you to directly face one fear that has been holding you back: descending the dark and mysterious midnight stairs, tackling an ambitious job interview, risking a new and promising relationship, or moving on to some new adventure. I challenge you to take any step into strange and unknown territory where shadows linger and shroud the path ahead. I pray you see that when we shine the light on what we fear, what we discover is often safe and comfortable after all.
What fear can you challenge yourself to face today? How do you feel when you bring light to a dark situation?
One day last spring I discovered these two guests visiting my patio – young crows who rested from their flight lessons by perching on my air conditioner and outdoor loveseat. I studied the crows from my window and snapped a few photos while their parents squawked overhead, then I left the crows alone to complete their important work while I considered how we all learn to fly.
Leave the nest (or you will be pushed). To discover anything new, we have to move out of our comfort zones and explore dangerous, unknown areas. If we linger in one place too long, we outgrow our safe surroundings and find ourselves forced to change our perspective.
Let go. We can’t learn to fly while clinging to the past. We have to release those burdens that hold us back and make an effort to propel ourselves forward.
Expect to fall. Often we find ourselves moving downwards before we can rise. Sometimes we have to hit the ground before finding the way to lift ourselves up again.
Keep trying. Regular practice builds strength and power. We may have to make several attempts before we develop the stamina we need to succeed.
Encourage others. While baby birds struggle, their parents perch in the trees overhead, calling to their offspring on the ground. When we gain knowledge and understanding, it is important to offer encouragement to those who are still learning to pick themselves up.
These plaques hang on my office wall, reminders that to reach our dreams, we need courage to leave our safe spaces, commitment to do the hard work, and vision to reach heights we’ve only dreamed of before. This week I hope you take a leap and find yourself able to fly.
Where are your dreams leading you now? How can you step out and learn something new?
For those who need some extra inspiration today, I offer a few of my favorite Bible verses.
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Jesus Christ” (Philippians 4:6-7).
Remember that God knows all you need, and he will always act on behalf of your highest good.
“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27).
Have faith that God is always with you, and let his presence give you peace.
“I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God” (Romans 8:38-39).
Believe he cares for you and has a plan for your well-being.
“For I, the Lord your God, will hold your right hand, saying to you, ‘Fear not, I will help you’” (Isaiah 41:13).
Trust the Lord holds you in his mighty right hand.
“God will wipe away every tear from their eyes . . . ; There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away . . . ‘Behold, I make all things new’” (Revelation 21:4-5).
Know that no matter what happens, God is always in control, and he always promises a new beginning.
Today I pray you know that a loving God cares for you. Be at peace and trust that God is aware, and he knows everything you need.
What is your prayer today? What verses remind you that God has you in his care?