And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Immediately they left their nets and followed him. - Matthew 4:19-20
A recent sermon by Jaina Hamilton at our church spurred some questions for me:
What does it look like to leave everything and follow Jesus?
What is my greatest fear?
What does it look like to live by faith verses living by fear?
I am finding that faith and fear are two very strong opposing forces that we all must face when we are making decisions. Some decisions are life changing, many decisions are trying to decide between what is good and what is best, and some are purely to experience fun (e.g. trusting the belayer and the rope when rock climbing).
A disc golfing friend of mine, Greg, at The Shepherd’s House recently made a decision to not attend school at the local community college, but instead to pursue work.
Greg has been with us for over a year and is very capable, competent, energetic and fun to be around. During his time with us and as part of his recovery, Greg has relapsed.
As Greg was sharing his decision with us, I sensed that there was some fear…fear of relapsing…behind his decision, and rightly so. Later on I had the opportunity to ask Greg, what were the permissions he gave himself to take the first drink when he relapsed? And, what were his thoughts and feelings leading up to that decision? At that moment, Greg didn’t have the answers to these questions, but was willing to process them and see where they lead.
When I am faced with a decision, sometimes the permissions I give myself to choose ‘A’ instead of ‘B’ are rooted in fear…fear of failure, fear of rejection, fear of abandonment…and it is very hard to make healthy decisions when I am stuck in fear. I “relapse” all the time, but alcohol and/or drugs are not my drugs of choice. Instead, I turn to eating, procrastination, angering, watching movies, and impulse buying.
My prayer for Greg, and myself, is that we know and recognize the thoughts and feelings leading up to a relapse and the permissions we give ourselves to take that first drink, or to procrastinate, or to over eat, etc. Fear is very often at the root of making poor decisions.
For my family and I, we are entering a season for some significant decisions. Fear has been animating much of my thinking recently. But a good reminder for me is
"For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” - 2 Timothy 1:6-7
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