Bottom of the ninth. Two outs, bases loaded, tied score. The next batter waits for the pitch. The pitcher delivers—strike one. Another pitch is released and delivered—strike two. Tension mounts. The third pitch is released and … it’s a hit! Up. Up. Up. The ball looks as if it is going to the moon before beginning its descent. Down. Down. Down. The first baseman moves into place and steadies his glove to make the catch.
My six-year-old son, Austin, snags the ball and secures the win for his team!
“Austin,” I proclaimed as I ran to him after the game, “I am so proud of you! I would have been scared, but you were so calm out there!” As the sweat rolled down his little face, Austin looked up at me and said with great sincerity, “Mommy, I may have been calm on the outside, but I was shaking on the inside.”
Whenever I sense God might be putting me in the game, I get a bit shaky on the inside too. Can you relate? Just as Austin didn’t want that ball coming toward him at first base, we’re not wild about being asked to step out of our comfort zones and onto the field of play, are we! We may be workplace and ministry leaders, women of influence in multiple realms, but some days we just want to curl up on our couches and shiver.
God knows that about us. I read once that God tells us “do not fear” in 365 ways throughout the Bible. He knows it takes a lot of repetition to get us to let go of what comes naturally (lie low, avoid risk) and choose to do what comes unnaturally (trust God for the strength to do what He asks).
By Invitation Only
I’ve lived certain seasons of my life crippled by fear, and I was ashamed of it. I was sure God looked at me and shook His head in dismay. When I heard the words fear not, they sounded like a rebuke: “Get your act together, girl!” Fear is crippling enough by itself. But when fear is accompanied by shame, it induces total paralysis.
Over time, as I discovered more and more about God’s character, I realized His words were an invitation: “Let Me replace your fear with faith.” No accusation. Just pure invitation. A gift.
The Apostle Paul explains how we can experience this gift: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God” (Philippians 4:6).
We can confront what is being thrown at us with the glove of prayer (“Help, Lord!” is my most frequent prayer). By standing firm in a spirit of thankfulness (“I know You’ve got my back, Lord”), we can achieve calm and confidence where once there was fear and anxiety. Paul calls it “the peace … which transcends all understanding” (verse 7).
Your New Comfort Zone
Whatever form it takes (giving a presentation or performance review, confronting your child, apologizing to your spouse, signing up for a class), God will almost certainly invite us to do something outside our comfort zone today. When we can accept that invitation with prayer and a thankful heart, we position ourselves to handle any “fly ball” that heads our way.
So start your day with a statement of release.
“I release my fear of ______ to You today, Lord.”
Decline the invitation to cling to your concerns. Choose instead the tender yet power-infused invitation to “fear not.” You just might discover that you’re as calm on the inside as on the outside.
About Kim Crabill
Kim Crabill is founder and president of Roses and Rainbows Ministries, Inc., and Community COFFEEs (Conversations of Friends of Faith to Encourage and Equip). She has traveled nationally for more than 20 years, speaking at retreats, at conferences, and to Bible study groups, and has been interviewed on national TV and radio. Kim’s message and passion come from her personal experience of longing to be used by God yet feeling unusable because of past abuse, anorexia, diet pill addiction, and depression. Her mother’s deathbed challenge set Kim on the path of daring to be and do what God had purposed for her, a journey she wrote about in her book Burdens to Blessings. She is also author of Burdens to Blessings: Young Adult Edition, Infinitely More: Your 40-Day Ephesians 3:20 Adventure, A Cup of Christmas, A Cup of Hope, and A Cup of Freedom.
Kim is married to Lee Crabill, and together they have two adult sons. For more information about Kim Crabill and her ministries, visit www.rosesandrainbows.org.