What are you afraid of?

In the middle of a routine phone conversation, I suddenly stopped and asked my husband, “What are you afraid of?” His answer surprised me! “I’m afraid of life.” I’m not sure if his answer was serious or tongue in cheek. Probably will never know since I quickly replied, “I’m afraid of dying.”

I don’t have to convince myself I’m afraid of dying. One night last week, my dog started barking at 2AM, then again at 4AM, finally waking me up for good prior to 6AM. Every time Lily woke me from a sound sleep, I was convinced some axe-murderer was breaking into the house to do bodily harm to all its inhabitants. With my heart pounding out of my chest, my thoughts immediately turned to tomorrow’s headlines because that’s when our bodies would be discovered by some innocent neighbor who just happened to see the blood dripping from our balcony. (Okay, maybe I do watch a bit too much TV, but it could happen, right?)

On Monday, I’m having surgery. It’s pretty routine, but it is also scary…especially since it is happening to me. This is ironic coming from someone who not only has had surgery before – and came through with flying colors – but generally doesn’t let much scare her. But I must be honest and tell you I’m not happy about this road God has me on right now.

My friend who is driving me to and from the hospital sent me a lovely email. In it she said, “I hope you aren’t worried about this. God’s got a plan to use this somehow for His glory, even if we don’t understand how or why.”

And that got me to thinking – has my fear kept me from doing things that glorify God? I know it has. There are times I haven’t shared the gospel because I was afraid, times I haven’t tithed the full amount because I was nervous about bills, times I’ve turned down ministry opportunities because I let my worries get the best of me. While I was wearing myself out in the process, all the while God was saying, “Dear daughter, I’m here, right here. Won’t you let me guide you?”

My pre-surgical fretting was making me sick, literally ill – until one night while watching the evening news, I heard a snippet from a commencement speech. The speaker said, “Be the heroine of your own story, not the victim.” And I thanked God in that moment because those courageous words struck a chord in my heart.

In Isaiah 43:1, God boldly proclaims, “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.”

Peace promptly invaded my soul because the times I’ve acted on that verse, really lived it, said “yes” to God even though I was literally quaking in my boots, I was blessed more than I could have ever imagined.

My friend is correct – God is using my medical condition for His glory. My fear is reinforcing my dependence on Him, my desire to get through surgery is comforted by His strength and the next time I’m asked to say “Yes” when I’m afraid, because I’ve experienced His comfort amidst my fear, answering in the affirmative will be so much easier.

What are you afraid of? Where can you rely on God’s strength to take you down the road He’s carved out for you? Where can you follow God just a bit more closely so you become the heroine of God’s story for your life?

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