I’m scared about a lot of things.
I’m constantly haunted by the fact that maybe I’m not doing what I am supposed to be doing—that I am keeping busy, but that this busyness may not be “the good works that God prepared in advance for me to do.” Most days I have a sense of urgency—a sense of being unsettled—because I am afraid that I won’t be able to accomplish what I really want to do—the things I can see in my mind clear as day, but can’t figure out how to bring them to life. I don’t have this sense of urgency because of lack of time, but because of a lack of courage. I am often afraid to start big things—like trying to master a new language or complete a big dream, like writing a book. These big things scare me into motionlessness because they seem too huge to start; I feel so ill equipped to even venture toward the goal. I often see big, talk big, and then do nothing—because I really don’t know what to do. This exasperates me, and I don’t understand how to fix it, so I push the vision aside and it sits on the back burner and taunts me with suggestions of “lazy” and “weak” and “disappointing”.
I really admire people, like my husband, who set big goals for their lives and set forth a plan to accomplish those seemingly “undoable” items. I don’t operate like this; I can see the goals I want to reach, but unless someone clearly defines the path for me, I get lost in the brushy stuff on the side—wandering aimlessly until I finally find a comfortable spot and stay there. Physically, I can push myself out of my comfort zone quite successfully, but mentally and intellectually, I like to stay where things are familiar and known. This characteristic often hinders me when I am trying to establish new routines or develop good habits like memorizing scripture or reading more books. The minute something gets difficult, I punt, and fall back into what is easy for me.
There are so many things I want to do and be and learn and I feel like I am the only one keeping me from them.
I believe this familiar inertia keeps me from being the Tori that God intended me to be. I often pray to push out of it—this “what I’m used to” attitude—and I can sometimes, with great effort, force myself to think in a broader way. This type of processing, though, takes so much effort for me, that it only lasts a time, and then I’m back to where I started--scared of accomplishing much.
Jesus wasn’t scared of accomplishing much. He submitted himself to the Father’s will, and accomplished everything that God put before Him.
I want to be like that. I want to force myself to do the things He has given me even if they make me uncomfortable—even if I have to think really hard—even if I have to go way out of my cozy life to do them. I don’t want to be afraid of doing big things.
But wait…here’s a new thought:
Maybe my God is big enough to empower me for His greatness—not my own. Maybe I struggle not with lack of courage, but lack of submission.
So maybe that is where I err. I am trying to accomplish much on my own for myself. I am looking for the “good works from God” to make myself feel great—to release the tension of my uncertainty. Maybe I am much too focused on what I am doing—not what He is doing through me.
Maybe my paradigm needs a little shift…
When I stop focusing on my own big dreams and when I begin looking for where God is at work and decide to join Him in His big goals, I am actually accomplishing much more that I could on my own.
When I hold my own agenda for greatness in my own tiny fists, God will not work His will through me. And I will have a sense of anxiousness because I am looking to myself and my skills for fulfillment. But when I release these things that scare me, these big things I think I need to do, and when I tell Him I cannot do them, He unleashes His strength into my Spirit to bring Him glory.
This glory—God’s glory—may not look identical to my own goals—and I need to be Ok with that. I must rest in His decisions. I need to stop my mental pacing and name-calling. I need to set my eyes on Him and not on the big things I think I need to do.
I need to keep reminding myself that it’s all about Him.
God is the author of this big story He is writing. We are just the characters in it. I often mistakenly think it’s my story I’m writing, but I’m wrong. It’s all about Him. It’s all for His glory. And if I choose to put Him—not my perceptions of my own purposefulness—first, then all these “things” will be added to me as well. (Matthew 6:33)
So, is it my lack of courage, my refusal to start big things that is keeping me from becoming the one God intends me to be? Or is it my refusal to put myself under His headship that stagnates all my plans? I think the latter is probably true.
If I continue to look to my goodness and my talents to reach my goals, I will disappoint myself time and time again. I can intellectually choose to force myself out of seemingly immovable inertia, but I don’t have enough willpower to make a perfect Tori. Only by God’s Spirit can I achieve lasting change.
If I make God my goal and His glory my aim, like Jesus did, and if I put myself under submission of His Lordship, he may release me from the fear of accomplishing much and do great things through me. Or he may do small things through me. He is the Author, remember?
Jesus accomplished everything that God put before Him. Jesus was completely immersed in God’s will. I think I can learn something from that.
And then, maybe, I won’t be scared of so many things.
“Such confidence as this is ours through Christ before God. Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. He has made us competent as ministers of the covenant—not of the letter, but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.”
2 Corinthians 3:4-6