Right before the start of the new year I was talking to a couple of young adults, in their 20’s. I ask them if they were making any new year’s resolutions? I mentioned how so many people do the same ones, year after year… lose weight, exercise more, get organized and so on. One of them said something very insightful. I think this year I want to think of things I want to give up. I’ll have to admit, I immediately thought of bad habits like smoking or biting your nails. Then after a little thought she said, like fear and worry. Wow, that was a paradigm shift for me.
I don’t think of myself as a fearful person, yet I know there has been things God has put on my heart, that I haven’t followed through with. I have to believe that’s because of fear of failure or fear of looking or sounding foolish! A close friend and I, a couple years ago, we both felt like we were being stretched way out of our comfort zone, said that our new motto was, “do it afraid!”
I wanted to get back to these young people with some scriptures to encourage them in making any type of change. There were many scriptures to choose from, but here is partial list.
Joshua 1:9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.
2 Timothy 1:7 For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.
Philippians 4:6, 12-13 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
…I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.
James 1:3-5 For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.
If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking.
I love the reminder there in that last verse, if we need wisdom, ask God! There is so much guidance and power in the Word!
We also need to think about who we are spending time with. I heard it said recently we must know people are contagious (good & bad). If you want to get more active and the few people you hang with are not active… you might need a couple of new friends. I have mentioned this before, but studies have found if we studied the 5 people you spend the most time with we’d get a pretty good ideal of who you are. For some of us that’s good news and for some of us… that’s scary! In Proverbs 13:20 it says, walk with the wise and become wise... says something about hanging with fools too! In Deuteronomy chapter 20, they were talking about going into war, they ask, is anyone afraid or fainthearted? Let him go home so that doesn’t rub off on the others! Find those people that challenge you to be a better you!
Speaking of those you hang with. It’s very helpful to have someone to help you be accountable, especially when you are trying to make a change. This can be a spouse, a good friend, co-worker or a life coach/counselor, but it should be someone you trust, and you know is looking out for you.
You will often hear people that do life coaching, remind us that we need to know our “why”. Why do you want to stop living in fear, what benefits would come with that? Why is it important to you to stop worrying, how is this impacting those close to me? Fill in the blank… need to save more, spend less, control your temper, exercise more, need to go back to school, need to spend more time with family and friends and so on!
You can make a list of things you’d like to stop doing or start doing, but quickly narrow that down to the top one or two. Be honest with yourself on where you are currently, determine your “why” and then surround yourself with the people that can help you follow through!
Romans 8:31b If God is for us, who can be against us?!
Make 2018 a life by design, not by default!