I have started and stopped this blog post so many times over the past few months. My only explanation is fear. Fear of the topic of fear. It sounds silly, but that’s all I’ve got…that and my rambling thoughts on what I’ve learned about fear these past six months.
I’ve been focused on this topic since February, when I gathered with my church sisters for a weekend of fellowship and teaching. We participated in the nationwide event called IF: Gathering at our local level. It was an amazing, eye-opening weekend! If you are involved in women’s ministry at your church – you should consider participating in this event.
The book we studied that weekend was 2 Timothy. My key take away verse was:
2 Timothy 1: 6-7 “This is why I remind you to fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you when I laid my hands on you. For God has not given us a spirit offear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.” NLT
Over the weekend, we had excellent teaching and encouragement to banish fear and live boldly through the spirit that God has gifted to all believers.
So, what exactly are my fears? First, I’m sure that many of you can relate to a fear of failure. There had been many moments over my weight loss journey that I obsessed about failing in this lifestyle with paranoid thoughts of gaining back 100 pounds in a very short time period! I have been mentoring many people in this lifestyle and I don’t want to fail them, either. It’s amazing to be a witness to lives changing, physical health restored, and joy in living reignited. And to hear the stories of all that glory given to God is simply the best part.
I understand your fears, too. I hear from many of you what you struggle with daily when it comes to choosing a new, healthier lifestyle. I had the same fears.
Questions that start with “how will I…”? Ever quit sugar, I’m addicted? Plan my meals because of my busy social calendar? Feed my family when they don’t need or want to follow this lifestyle?
Statements that start with “I can’t…”! I can’t stop eating potato chips. I can’t commit to anything longer that 3 days. I can’t, I can’t, I can’t…
I truly believe all these random, defeatist thoughts come from a deep sense of a fear of failure. I’ve been there – I know that we have tried for decades to conquer these health issues. I’d love to be able to fully convince you to kick these fears to the curb – and I’ll leave it up to God to show you! Start recognizing where these fears originate from and start preventing them from overtaking your thoughts. For God has not given YOU a spirit of fear and timidity, but a spirit of power, love, and self-control! Write it down and write it down again. What a great verse and promise to write on your heart.
I have been able to work through these fearful thoughts with my increased “hunger” for spending time in God’s word. Every morning when I sit down with my bible (and beans), I am reminded of God’s sovereignty in my life and I am able to surrender my fears to face another day. I read just this week in my study of John the promise from Jesus in John 6:35: Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.” What more do I need?
Continuing my story from February – after studying 2 Timothy, I left that conference with more questions than I went in with. I had already had a nagging feeling from God about something I needed to start paying more attention to. When I started my Keto journey – I was told over and over again to stop feeling so comfortable in my financially comfortable job. That seemed to come out of left field considering I love my job, I love my boss, and I love my co-workers. But this frightening message has been on repeat for 18 months now. This morning during our service – it was repeated again!
Check out 1 Kings 19: 19-21 (NIV):
The Call of Elisha
19 So Elijah went from there and found Elisha son of Shaphat. He was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen, and he himself was driving the twelfth pair.Elijah went up to him and threw his cloak around him. 20 Elisha then left his oxen and ran after Elijah. “Let me kiss my father and mother goodbye,” he said, “and then I will come with you.”
“Go back,” Elijah replied. “What have I done to you?”
21 So Elisha left him and went back. He took his yoke of oxen and slaughtered them. He burned the plowing equipment to cook the meat and gave it to the people, and they ate. Then he set out to follow Elijah and became his servant.
Catch what I have underlined – Elisha owned twelve yoke of oxen. Elisha was a very wealthy man and he gave that all up to follow Elijah and become his servant, which is most importantly a servant of God. He didn’t just store his wealth to return to later – no, he burned it all down and then set out to follow God. WOW, talk about no fear!
Now if you’re my boss and you’re reading this – I haven’t got that message quite yet to burn it all down. In fact, I’m feeling at peace with seeing a lot of things through for my company. I’m there for a reason.
Losing a source of income can be a very terrifying thought. I consider myself extremely blessed that I’ll be able to cut my hours back very soon to spend more time here. It seems like a baby step and not going “all in”, but I am confident it is a direct answer to prayer and my fears have been alleviated in that regard. Plus, hubby didn’t have a heart attack when I mentioned I wanted to cut back my hours (now that’s a win!).
Back to the story…fast forward to April, two months after the lesson on fear. I was having many thoughts about how my story could be used to help people find the “Joy of the Lord” through healthy living. My story is first and foremost about the complete joy I have realized through this journey. I can’t shut up about this and want to reach as many people as possible.
I was minding my own business one Sunday when I got a random Twitter message from a complete stranger. I never open messages from complete strangers, but for some reason I did open this one. Long story short, this stranger was chock full of information for me on how to go about starting my blog as an authority in the Keto lifestyle. I found it very strange (okay – more like a God-incident) that everything he was sharing with me was already running through my mind. He is in the business of website and on-line business development. Exactly what my fearful heart was afraid to explore!
My husband and kids had already been nagging me to do something with my success story – so with their support, I decided to jump in with both feet into something I know nothing about – blogging and building a website from scratch. A whole new level of fear of the unknown and fear of failure!
More importantly, God had been prompting me for months to banish the fear and start walking through some doors he was opening. Who me? I am not a teacher, preacher, blogger, writer, speaker, or entrepreneur! I’m very comfortable in my 9-5 job, thank you very much!
But maybe, just maybe, God has a plan for my story? Maybe the messages I received during the “Don’t Waste Your Life” series at church really do apply to my story? Maybe he will answer my daily prayers to positively impact one person a day to commit to their health to restore their joy and serve him better? Maybe JOY is contagious?!? These are the promises he is giving me to banish the fears and boldly step out in faith by sharing my story.
I think back to the start of my success on my journey. I debated for weeks about sharing my story publicly on social media – as I was never really into the sharing of selfies. My story WAS embarrassing and full of shame and defeat from trying the same thing over and over again and failing (standard American dietary advice – SAD!). But then I realized that for myself and others with metabolic dysfunctions like my own, that I had discovered a secret miracle to getting healthy. This secret miracle was an answer to all my prayers and a direct gift from God! I shared my story, how could I not?
I have had such the amazing pleasure of helping so many friends and family members get healthy and share their joyful stories with me. I have seen chains broken, healing and the acknowledgment that fear is a liar and will no longer have a stronghold on our lives.
Living healthy is pure joy! It has opened so many doors to serve him. I am forever grateful for this platform to share a little bit about the love and power and self-discipline from him to overcome any fear that might be holding you back.
Back to 2 Timothy 1:6-7 “fan the flame…” and to borrow some lyrics from Zach Williams song “Fear Is a Liar”:
Let Your fire fall and cast out all my fears
Let Your fire fall Your love is all I feel
Go listen to this amazing song and call on that “fire” the Holy Spirit!
One last thought that came from my IF: Gathering weekend that I will never forget. Ann Voskamp, an amazing writer and speaker that I follow, made the statement “welcome to the surrendered life”. When you finally realize that you no longer need to live in fear, you can finally be set free to surrender. My pastor shared a great quote by J.D. Greear today. “The path to “something greater” goes through the valley of surrender, sacrifice, and service.” I want something greater for each of us.
I’d love to say that all my fears are buried, but I am human and our minds are prone to wander. This will be a daily battle, but I know that I can overcome the darkness of anxiety and fear by leaning into Him and his promises! The excitement I feel over a future of encouraging people like you to walk closer with Him is beyond explanation! I pray you share in that excitement and begin to recognize where fear may be stalling your journey:
What fears are you facing today?
What threatens to extinguish your flame?
I’d love to encourage you in your journey. Leave me a comment or send me an email through my Contact page!
Always Choose Joy! Claim what my t-shirt in this picture says, “Joy Is My Strength”. No Fear!