So, I told the ladies at my table that I felt God was asking me to do it again. I told them that the month prior, for ten straight days, a different person each day brought up Fellowship on the Farm. Some were previous attendees, some were women who'd wanted to attend but couldn't, and some weren't even farm wives but were women who had heard about it. My husband told me that God was going to smack me upside the head if I didn't listen; clearly, He was trying to get my attention.
I knew without a shadow of a doubt that God was calling me again to host Fellowship on the Farm. Yet despite His clear call, still I doubted my worth. I let fear tell me I wasn't good enough and smart enough to pull it off a second time. It took my friend Terryn, who was also at my table, to snap me out of it. She steered me back to the biblical principles of obedience and trust. I reminded myself that I alone am not enough, that on my own I can do nothing, but that God put those dreams in my heart and could bring them to fruition through my obedience.
WE'VE GOT TO FACE THE FEAR
When God calls us to anything, we are going to be faced with fear. I don't mean the righteous fear of the Lord that gives us wisdom and keeps us humble, reminding us that we are clay in the Potter's hands. No, I mean the nasty fear from the devil himself that thwarts our righteous desires and actions. I believe it's one of the Enemy's greatest tools against us. God wants to use every aspect of our lives—our motherhood, careers, hopes, and dreams—for His glory and honor. What better way can the Enemy steal that plan than to make us afraid?
God knew we would struggle with this, and He gave us all the encouragement and truth we would need to go to battle. More than eighty Bible verses include the command to not be afraid. Matthew 10:28 takes that command a step further, as we are told to fear not those who can kill the body but the One who can kill the soul. Anytime I am really struggling with fear and I feel anxiety start to take over, I remember that verse, and I also go to the book of Esther. Esther is one of my favorite examples of choosing to face fear, even with the possibility of mortal consequences.
Esther was a Jewish orphan raised by her cousin Mordecai. When the king of Persia was looking for a new queen, Esther quickly won his favor. She became the queen while keeping her Jewish nationality a secret. So, when the king's right-hand man put into motion a plot to slaughter the entire Jewish populace throughout Persia, Esther had to make a choice—one that was fraught with danger. Fear stared her in the face, waiting for a decision. She could take the safe road and keep her secret hidden. She could stay silent and remain unharmed while the Jewish people throughout the Persian Empire were slaughtered. She could continue as queen, never saying a word, and just suffer on the inside while her people perished.
Or she could face her fear and try to save her people in order to follow the path God had set before her. Approaching the king, however, involved risk to her position and her life. Explaining her plea for him to call off the massacre would mean admitting the truth of her own ethnicity, and King Xerxes was known for his hot temper. But Esther had a person in her life to remind her that she was in her queenly position for a purpose. She had someone who, instead of just telling her what she wanted to hear, pointed her to the biblical truth that we are to be obedient when God calls us. Her cousin Mordecai reminded her that God can make a way without us, but what a sad day it is when He has to go to someone else because we were too afraid to allow Him to work through us. Mordecai encouraged her to choose faith over fear, even in the face of unfathomable danger. Esther chose faith, and despite her dangerous actions, her life was spared, as were her people.
While you and I might be tempted to discount the ways God asks us to step outside our comfort zones when we hear stories like Esther's, it is important to remember that every act of following God's call is important, kingdom-building work. Giving in to fear, whatever we're being asked to do, causes us to miss opportunities to take part in God's redemption here on earth.
When God asks me to be vulnerable every day about my struggles and shortcomings in order to bring Him glory, I want to say no. Fear tries to tell me I'm opening myself up to criticism and hurt, my story can't be used, and God doesn't want me. And when I click the Publish button on a blog post and put my faults and struggles out into the world, I know I am inviting criticism.
But I also know it's worth it when the messages start pouring in from wives and moms who thought they were alone. Their hearts were touched, and they felt a little less alone because I refused to let fear win. I am reminded that pouring into women the truth that God loves them and made them for a purpose is worth the vulnerability. I am encouraged to believe that God is using me to help restore their hearts and refill their cups with truth and love. But I have come very close to telling God no because of the fear of failing.
I wish I could tell you that I'm a warrior against fear and that you can be too. I wish I could give you the end of this story: how I always look fear in the face and march right on. But I can't. Sometimes I let fear win, and sometimes I try to take the long way around. I climb on top of trucks and do anything I can to avoid facing it.