I suppose I get it from my dad, this practical side of me. Quite a few years ago he installed a hand wringer on the front of the house, so when he washed and dried the cars he could wring out the chamois. We all thought it was such a great piece of décor, as you can imagine. One summer grandma walked into it and almost gave herself a concussion.
Dad always worked the problem and found the most practical and efficient solution.
I lean in that direction, except for me it shows up in my spiritual life, and lately fear has been the obstacle.
The other night I found myself jaw-clenched, shoulders tight, chest-squeezing afraid of a lot of things in my life, so I spent several days working the problem with the Lord. I knew I wasn't supposed to live in fear but couldn't figure out the how.
You should hear me pray when I can't figure out how to live what the Lord has commanded. I pester the Lord like a kid pesters his mom about how soon he can go to the park.
The answer I came to is that fear has to do with lordship and authorization.
We have to confess Jesus is Lord and acknowledge God's authority. That is how we gain entrance into the kingdom of God, and that is how we function there the way we're supposed to.
The primary question to ask in a fearful situation:
- How far does my own authority and power go in this situation?
- Where is my authority restricted, forcing me to wait and rely on the One who has authority to move and work in the area where I cannot go?
I recently visited a friend who was having surgery. I saw her in the lobby and could freely talk to her there, but when she went back to the surgical room I was forced to remain behind locked doors.
Authorized Personnel Only.
I can picture myself trying to get through the locked doors and the Lord saying, I'm sorry, ma'am, but you aren't allowed back here.
Take a look at how this works, in Philippians 4:6:
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything, by prayer and supplication with gratitude, make your requests known to God.
What we see here is a command followed by an explanation of boundaries.
When anxious, I am given the authority to pray.
I have permission and am encouraged to state my requests.
I am given the authority to express gratitude.
I am NOT AUTHORIZED to go forward into the future and manipulate the circumstance. I don't have clearance to do that.
This knowledge is practical and such a relief to my soul. I've been applying the truth for several days (making me almost an expert?). When I feel afraid I stop and evaluate where I am allowed to go and where I am restricted. I've been stating to myself, This is what I CAN do. That is where I CANNOT work.
Fear is a control issue.
Once I've submitted to remaining in the waiting room, understanding the boundaries set for me, then I can sit and ponder whether I trust the man behind the doors. And yes, yes I do.
So what are you afraid of, and where are you trying to work outside of your authorization?
Christy Fitzwater is the author of 'A Study of Psalm 25: Seven Actions to Take When Life Gets Hard.' She is a blogger, pastor's wife and mom of two teenagers and resides in Montana. Visit christyfitzwater.com for more information about her ministry.
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