God likes to put us in situations that are too big for us. Nothing is ever too big for Him.
It was a rollercoaster of a season. The highs being extreme, the lows even more so. I finally moved into my house I’d spent 9 months waiting for. But I immediately had to cut off some unhealthy friendships and felt incredibly isolated through the end of 2020. On top of that, my family walked through four deaths in about as many months – three of which in the three weeks right around Christmas and New Years. Oh, and I was spared from a bombing in downtown Nashville on Christmas morning. There were so many conflicting emotions running through my veins. I was numb.
Praying at church one morning during our church-wide fast, it hit me: this was a setup for something. Your whole life doesn’t just get turned upside down for nothing, ya know? Pruning is always for our growth.
Pacing back and forth in a back row in our auditorium, I said, “God I don’t know what You’re about to do in 2021. But it feels big and I’m scared to death.”
He answered right away. “You’re already dead to sin and dead to yourself. You’re only alive because you’re alive in Me. You have nothing to fear.”
For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin—because anyone who has died has been set free from sin. Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.romans 6:5-11 niv
This isn’t a phrase I use often: scared to death. It reminds me of “Cross my heart, hope to die.” I’m just not going to put those words out there. But I found myself saying it again a couple weeks later when the Co Groups pastor at my church approached me to lead a group.
Now, I’ve led small groups/life groups/all the various church groups before. I’ve led a women’s group and youth groups. I love discipleship and teaching God’s Word. I know how to do this. But everything feels like it’s on a higher level at this church. We don’t mess around. This is a heavier responsibility than what I’ve carried in the past. So it was an intimidating request. I knew I would be leading a group at some point, I just didn’t realize the time was now.
I asked my pastor if we could pull in a co-leader (or five – ha!) – not so much because I didn’t think I was capable of leading alone, but as a single woman, it’s tricky sometimes. There’s no headship over me or my home. There’s no safety or covering or accountability that a husband would provide. Especially when there would be men and married couples in the group, I felt it would be best if I weren’t flying solo. After emailing back and forth discussing our options, God made it more and more clear this is exactly what I would be doing. His thoughts are not my thoughts. His ways are not my ways.
Standing in the middle of Hobby Lobby, writing my pastor back, I prayed again, “God this isn’t what I prefer. I don’t want to lead alone. If this is what You want, I’ll do it. But I’m scared to death.
This time it made more sense and now I want it to be my new mantra when I face big things. I WANT to be scared to death. I want whatever it is I’m afraid of to push me to a new level of being dead to myself. I want all my flesh and selfishness and fear to be put to death so I can rely FULLY on Christ. My aim is to be so dead I’m just not even here at all and it’s ALL HIM.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!2 corinthians 5:17 niv
Every audacious thing we do should have us so scared to do it on our own that it causes us to surrender and die to ourselves so God can do what He needs to do through us.
This past week the phrase slipped out of my mouth again. Believing for something that seems impossible most days, and praying for people and things I’d honestly rather not pray for… I whispered to God, “I’m scared to death.”
He answered again, right away, “Good.”
I’m exactly where He wants me to be. Praying for others in such a way that they might be blessed with what I want. Knowing that God will still take care of me, but being afraid of how painful the process might be. Having faith beyond what I can see. It’s another layer of flesh dying as I surrender at the foot of the cross.
This year still feels big. More opportunities to die a little at a time are on the way. I can feel it in my bones. But when I’m scared to death, I’m ready for anything God has for me.
Friends, what is that thing God is calling you into that feels bigger than you? What is He asking you to do that you can’t pull off on your own? Does your fear leave you paralyzed, or does it push you into surrender?