When I was a little kid, I loved to swim. Before I swam competitively though, there was a certain amount of fear mixed in. My parents did a good job of teaching me to have a healthy fear and respect water. I had a near drowning experience that made me realize the fine line between fun and danger (just so you know, it is never a good idea to fall asleep while hanging on the pool wall during your swim lessons as a 4 year old).
Some fear is healthy. Living in fear is not nor is the absence of fear.
Living in fear means we don’t trust God enough to be big enough to handle whatever comes our way. The fact that we don’t actually think He has it under control is the heart of the issue.
When there is a complete absence of fear in our lives we are far too comfortable.
I’m going to come right out and say it: our culture has some things really messed up. This whole “American Dream” thing of chasing after the perfect little family, nice house, good job, and cool car isn’t all it is cracked up to be. It is all about being comfortable and having a nice life. We assume this will make us happy and content.
The problem is God never promised a nice life. Just a quick glance through the Bible shows this isn’t what is in the cards for those He calls. Job suffered, Joseph was sold as a slave, Daniel was kidnapped, Stephen stoned, Peter crucified, Paul beheaded, and John was exiled. Jesus Himself was beaten and executed.
God’s plan isn’t about giving us a nice life. I imagine that these heroes of the faith were fearful at times stepping out on faith, but they still stepped out. And God used them.
It is ironic because the more we chase after this good life, as defined by culture, we miss out on real significance which only comes from God. We trade away the possibility of His amazing for the reality of culturally-accepted.
God’s plans are bigger than ours so we shouldn’t be surprised when He asks us to step out of our comfort zones. Our human, fallible, and limited view has nothing on His infinite and perfect one. Serving always comes at personal cost otherwise it isn’t serving. So much more is serving God.
I’ve been through a lot. It’s not easy. But, just because something isn’t easy doesn’t mean it isn’t worthwhile. Seldom do easy things bring amazing results. I’m not going to pretend that I don’t wish I didn’t struggle with chronic illness, but I wouldn’t trade what God has blessed me with through it. I’m not going to lie and say that being a foster parent is easy. It is one of the hardest things I’ve done and it’s scary at times.
Being comfortable is boring and soul-killing. Following God is true life and contentment. It is that simple. If we aren’t at least a little scared, then we aren’t really following Him. His plans are bigger than we can imagine and if this doesn’t scare us a little bit, we are clearly too locked in the complacency of comfort. We are trapped in our own unchallenged world seeking ourselves and not God. So, if the plan doesn’t scare us just a little, it isn’t big enough and we need to think bigger.
God prepares us for what He asks of us and promises to walk with us. He never promises that it will be safe. But, it will be the life He intended for us, full of purpose, hope, and authentic peace.
It is scary, I know, to give control over completely to God and jump into things that don’t make sense. I remember my terror standing at the top of the high dive as a kindergartener; I didn’t want to go and yet, if I didn’t, I would never forgive myself. To climb down the ladder was to let fear get the best of me even when it was safe. My swim teacher was treading water, waiting for me. Now, it is God waiting for me to jump to Him.
Someone once told me there is no safer place to be than at the center of God’s will. This is why we do foster care. Callings don’t come fear-free. We should be a little scared because God offers to use us in a glorious way that will grow and stretch us into who we are supposed to be all the while making a difference. It is so much better than any American dream we can chase; let’s chase God.
Are you just a little scared yet? It might be time to jump.