I remember the moment fear took over. In high school I was a drama nerd who acted in plays and even did a commercial that played in a local movie theater. The job paid so I fancied myself a professional.
One day sometime senior year I wanted to audition at the local playhouse and on the appointed day drove there with my girlfriend and best friend. Butterfly flutters tickled my stomach as we drove which only grew worse as we approached the theater. When we got there I was surprised at how many people were there. The parking lot was crowded but we found a spot eventually.
We exited the car and took a few strides toward the playhouse when I was overwhelmed with fear. The butterflies were getting serious now. I suggested that we did not have to audition and after small debate everyone agreed the audition was off. When the car doors slammed it was like the jaw of fear sinking into my heart.
That day, I gave up believing in myself.
My 20 year high school reunion is in 2015. (Hold on…had to catch my breath a second. Okay, let’s keep going.) How many fear-based decisions is that? Too many.
What I Believe in Now
I could point to a number of Scripture passages that encourage us to believe and not be afraid. As much as I’d like to do that none of them speak deeply into my spirit.
Instead, I want to share a passage with you today that gets overshadowed by its more famous context but if you are making decisions from fear like I have it might be the most important thing you read this year.
The famous passage is Ephesians 2:8-9:
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.
You probably know this one. What a beautiful truth it contains, too! You and I do not have to try to earn God’s love, prove our faith, or somehow obtain our salvation. It’s all been given to us because of His grace. Amazing!
But the gift is even deeper.
For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
The gift is more than God wanting you while you were a sinner. It’s why He wanted you. He wanted you because He created you to do something. Something good.
You are His “handiwork,” which literally means poetry. Have you ever written poetry?
The only piece of poetry I ever published was in a high school journal which I probably still have around here somewhere. I worked for days on that piece. How did I want it to read? What feelings did I want to convey? What words would best express this feeling?
Friend, when God created you He did the same thing. He intentionally created you to do something. Lean into that truth and fear disappears.
All those years ago I started believing fear and stopped believing in myself. In light of Ephesians 2:10 I think I also stopped trusting God. The way back to self-respect is not through fear but faith that what God says about you is true. That’s why I keep writing about trusting Him even when He doesn’t make sense.
The picture above is of me holding a framed quote given to me by my son. It says “Let your faith be bigger than your fears. – The Bible.” I love so much about this picture. It now hangs in my office to remind me to stop believing in my fear and start believing God.