I can vs. I can't
Published on October 5, 2005 By oleteach In Religion
My apologies: I still haven’t taking the time and effort to learn how to make links.
Pseudo wrote in his blog (http://pseudosoldier.joeuser.com/) the following comment which inspired me to write this article.

Psuedo’s words: “Turning out all anxiety is difficult. Not worrying about the things that matter most to you is nearly humanly impossible.”

I agree totally with pseudo in this statement. I would emphasize one word out of four of his words, “IS NEARLY HUMANLY IMPOSSIBLE.

We all have experienced countless situations that appear to be far beyond us. We can search on the web and we will find an endless list of phobias that people live with everyday. Those fears keep them prisoners; they can stop them from living the full life, and fears can sap life from their souls and bodies.

We can have a spirit of boldness that will enable us to face our all our fears. Who says that we can’t do something that fills us with fear. We can do it afraid, with our knees shaking, with a totally dry mouth, with the desire to run in the other direction, and against all evidence of failure that can present itself?

With God’s power and strength in us we can do what seems HUMANLY IMPOSSIBLE.
Fear can mean: False Evidence Appearing Real. Fear can be a handy excuse to get out of a tough situation; an automatic out that keeps us bowing down to people because of our fears of being rejected, criticized, left out, being different or any of the myriad of other fearful situations.

A person may not want to dive off a high cliff into unknown waters, but if that is what God calls for in a situation, we can do it with his strength. We are not called to be quitters, gutless, shrinking spirits. Fears can steal our destiny from us. A job that calls (By the Holy Spirit) for being in a closed space, out on wavering branches, or deep in dark holes can be done if we call on the name of the Lord. We can do it afraid, with caution and with trust but not with a spirit of recklessness and stupidity.

A person who has been hurt by divorce, breakups, or abuse may put up a wall that will separate them from facing the fear of future commitments. If we have such hurts, God will heal us. We can go ahead with boldness to do what we are called to do.

A believer can get great comfort from Paul’s letter to the Hebrews 10: 35-38:
“Therefore, do not throw away your confidence; it will have great recompense. You need endurance to do the will of God and receive what he has promised. For, after just a brief moment, he who is to come, shall come; he shall not delay. But my just one shall live by faith, and if he draws back I take no pleasure in him.

Fear is in opposition to Faith and whatever is opposed to faith is a sin, something that takes us away for our walk with God. When God tell us he takes no pleasure in a person who draws back in fear, that does not mean that God stops loving us or that we lose our salvation. It just means that if we are true believers we ought to come boldly before Him to ask whatever we need to overcome our fears. We need to press through our fears and live by faith. Then we can do what is humanly impossible.

on Oct 06, 2005
I've been on a self-improvement kick recently, but I've been working at it slowly for a long time. Part of that has been overcoming my fears. But fears to me, for a long time, have differed from my anxieties.
I was (am) afraid of heights, so I'd go up the rappel tower an extra turn.
I was (am) afraid of needles, so I became a Combat Lifesaver (not so I'd have to stick others with IVs, but because you have to be a practice dummy, too).
I was (am) afraid of pain, so I push myself at PT, I get stuck with needles as a practice dummy for IVs, I make myself not wince when I have a minor ache or bump.

But I have anxiety about my personal thoughts and feelings, things that aren't physical. I know that these stem from fears, fear of rejection, fear of ridicule, shame of stupidity, fear of being unloved.
These are the fears that I find most daunting. These are the fears I'm struggling with now.
But, I've recently found my faith in the face of adversity and sorrow. The Lord *does* lift up my spirit, and I feel buoyed. But not all the time. That's the faith I have to work on, and it *is* in opposition to these fears and anxieties.

Thank you for writing this.
on Oct 07, 2005
You are facing your fears head on. That is so great because we are just not meant to live by our fears. As you go on, be assured that Jesus is there with his mercy and help. We are not meant to walk through dark valleys alone. Take His hand, be confident as you whistle through those dark, scary fears with Him beside you.

The first thing that we should feel confident about is that we have already been saved; that is a done deal the moment we come before the Lord and confess that we need Him to be our Savior. It will follow then that He will become the Lord of our lives as we place our complete trust in Him. Jesus just wants us to act like we are saved in every situation. He is our pattern and He encourages us that when we fail to reflect His image in our daily walk, He tells us... "That's OK. Keep walking with Me, rely on Me to make any changes that need to be made. I will transform you, if you realize that I am here to support all your efforts to keep close to Me. Recall often how much I love you. Never think you are unloved. If you doubt, remember I died for you. Is there any greater love?"

Pseudo, you are in my daily prayers. Walk with confidence. Keep your hand in the Lords.

on Oct 19, 2005
I believe that God can and will guide us to do what is best for us in this life, if we are open to such guidance. Also that he will give us the ability to do it, though not always in the way we expect. And that in this process we will find fulfilment. That has been my experience through three score and ten years. But having said that, I have also to admit that a lot of quite unacceptable things get done in the name of God. History is full of such events at the individual and at international levels. In recent times we saw literally millions of people dying in the Iran-Iraqi war, sustained by their religious beliefs. And evry day we see suicide bombers giving up their lives based on religious convictions. So "spirit of boldness" based on religious faith is a two edged sword.

P. Zach blogging at Simplymusing@JoeUser.com
on Nov 18, 2005
Great article! Such a refreshing change of pace.

The opposite of fear is FAITH...


I've been reading "Extraordinary Faith" by Sheila Walsh... in it she says,

Tozer shares his experience of faith as "the gaze of a soul upon a saving God." I love that!... That encapsulates the truth that having faith, again, is not about you or me mustering up enough faith to shift the Swiss Alps left a bit, but rather, facing our own mountains in life, gazing upon God, who is the only One who can save us.

Here she uses the example of the Israelites grumbling against God. The Lord sent venomous snakes among them and many died... God told Moses to make a snake and put it up on a pole... anyone looking at it would live. I know this as a foreshadowing of Christ, being lifted up on the cross... all who look to Him for salvation will live... but to put it next to Tozer's definition of faith... "the gaze of a soul upon a saving God"... just thought that was cool.

Think of how many times in Scripture the picture of "looking up" is used...

"Lift up your heads, O you gates;
be lifted up, you ancient doors,
that the King of glory may come in." Ps. 24:7

"I lift up my eyes to the hills -- where does my help come from?" Ps. 121:1

"When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near." Lk. 21:28

Faith is not wishful thinking or theatrics. Faith is born in us as we fix our eyes on Jesus and as we recognize the fingerprints of God the Father all over our lives.

"Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." Heb. 12:2

How about the lessons from Peter walking on the water?

So Peter stepped out of the boat and onto the water with the others looking on in amazement. I think it is a gift to us that after walking on the waves for a moment, Peter looked down and began to sink. I receive two things from that illustration: Christ is strong, and I am weak. If I keep my eyes on Jesus, I can walk over troubled seas to Him, but it's not because I've perfected Water Walking 101. It's only because I am looking at Jesus. It was not that Peter had suddenly become a magician but rather that as long as he kept his eyes on Christ, the impossible became possible.

Jesus did not calm the storm that time; He grabbed hold of His friend in the midst of the storm and held him. In my own life, sometimes Jesus has spoken to the stormy circumstances I was in and immediately calmed the sea. Other times, though, even as the storm continued to rage all around me, I have cried out to Him and He has reached out and grabbed hold of me.

I can relate... this is exactly what Jesus did when my daughter Jasmine was burned. He reached out and held me through the turbulent waters. While circumstances seemed to be raging, and I wished for Him to quiet the sea, instead He spoke reassurances to my soul and calmed the storm that was inside of ME. I grew so much through that experience. It's a good thing He doesn't always give us what we ask for. I am so thankful for that experience now. I can't imagine my life without it, and all He taught me through it.

Abraham had a journey to faith. His example shows that God doesn't test us beyond what we can bear... He tests us only when He has built us up in our faith as we have experienced His ways (1 Cor. 10:13).

Even with temptation, it's my experience, and I believe Abraham's experience too, that God's justice and standards are always bathed in mercy, and His timing is perfect. He didn't ask Abraham to sacrifice Ishmael even though he was the first boy born. He didn't ask Abraham to offer Isaac when he was just a baby. God waited until He had established faith, character, and hope in Abraham. Only then did He ask him to lay everything down and believe Him to be faithful to His promise, no matter how things looked.

That was the experience of Abraham. He went from a faltering and flawed beginning to an abiding trust in God. In many ways, Abraham had not changed. He was still the same man with the same personality traits, likes, and dislikes. But he had walked with God for so long and watched Him do such amazing things that finally he expected God to show up faithfully, whether it was in ways he could anticipate or in unexpected ways. He knew God would always be there.

With each passing day, God is showing me that this is true. When I don't know what the future holds, or how to deal with the present, I can trust that He will be there and walk with me through it. In the same way, I'm committing to walk with Him. I like that picture. It's said of those greats from the Hall of Faith... Enoch... Noah... they "walked with God." Not "followed after" God... or "chased some elusive entity..." but they walked WITH Him. That's what I want for my life... to take each step with Him, my gaze fixed on the God who saves me. I'm learning more and more that there is nothing more beautiful than the look of love in His eyes as He delights in revealing Himself to me.

That's as far as I've gotten... almost through... but those are the highlights that spoke to me. I highly recommend this book... good stuff.
on Dec 10, 2006
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