Have you ever wanted to try something new? When the thought first strikes you, you feel energized and excited by the possibilities. If you're anything like me, you immediately start surfing the web and reading books on the topic to get ideas of how to approach the new thing. You call your best friend, or sit your spouse down and start talking all about the idea. The words spill out at a rate they can hardly keep up with. Everything about this new thing is exciting! You can absolutely see yourself doing the thing. Then, after all the dreaming, reading, and planning, the day finally arrives -- and you walk all the way up to the starting line ready to start the new thing and low and behold...you freeze?
Fear floods your veins.
Who am I to do this thing, you ask yourself? Why do I think I'll even be any good at it. I have no training for this. I hold no degree that gives me any special knowledge that I need to excel at the thing. Who wants to hear from me on this subject anyway? The thoughts and fears just keep coming. At first, we feel blindsided by them. Then we just feel defeated before we even begin.
Where does this thinking come from? Why was I on top of the world ten minutes ago and now I just want to hide in my room and never discuss the thing again?
That's FEAR my friend - and it comes straight from the enemy.
Fear says, "Who am I?"
You are God's masterpiece. Just how you are. Right at this very moment. Ephesians 2:10 (NLT) speaks to this:
For we are God's masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.
I try to keep this in mind when I am pursuing something new. I don't need to do it perfectly for it to be beautiful. I don't need to break any records or earn any awards. I just need to do my best and enjoy the process and see the beauty in what I can create -- it's because of the way God designed me that my approach, my experience, will be different than the person next to me who tries the same thing.
Fear says, "I have no training for this."
We aren't expected to know everything about all things -- in fact, we're encouraged not t0 lean solely on our own knowledge. God reminds us in Proverbs 3:5 that we should trust in Him with all our hearts and not to depend on our own understanding.
It's not that we shouldn't learn at all beforehand, especially when there's something new we want to do or accomplish, but that we shouldn't assume we can't begin until we know "everything." Sometimes the training ground God has for us is found in the doing and there are things we can't learn until we're in the middle of the experience, or even through the experience when we have time to reflect on what God was trying to teach us.
Fear says, "Who wants to hear from me anyway?"
First, you never know who's watching you. You never know who you will encourage simply through your actions. That's what makes sharing our experiences with others so great. Through those shared experiences, we encourage one another to step out in fear and try something new.
Can you imagine a world where no one went first? Where no one ever tried anything new? How boring and mundane life would be.
God didn't create us to be bored. He created us to experience all that He has provided to us in this big, beautiful, and vast world. Even as he carefully designed and knit us together (see Psalms 139:13-18), He did the same with the world and placed us in it to explore and embrace the things we discover and to share them in joy with one another.
Next time you stand on the cusp of doing something new, something out of your comfort zone, something brave, and that uncomfortable feeling begins to creep in, I want you to pause for a moment and put a name to it.
Remember that fear is from the enemy and not from God. At that moment, call on Him to see you through. Don't stand down. Don't quit right before the good stuff, before you realize your dream. You were meant for amazing things. To bask in awe and to use your gifts and talents to experience all that life has to offer and then to encourage others around you to do the same. To replace the word fear with courage.
And when you feel doubt, because our humanness often leads us back there, just keep in mind...you can do all things through Christ who gives you strength. (Philippians 4:13)