When Jennifer sent word out that she was doing a study on fear I knew I wanted in before I even saw her notes and Scripture references. It seems every time Jennifer is doing a study, the Lord is growing me in the very same area.
As I grew in my relationship with Christ, He took me through the process of letting go of fear. Through His grace, patience and steadfast love I reached a point where man’s approval didn’t matter anymore. My eyes were completely focused on Him and what He thought. It was then I knew I could write. I wouldn’t be caught up in people pleasing, reader reviews and the rejection I would have to deal with. I was even given the wise advice for that eventual day when I’d have to deal with negative words to “have the skin of the rhino and the heart of the dove.” I’m so grateful for that quote because I’m now in a season where the hard stuff is here. There’s been criticism from readers and verbal lashings I never saw coming. And honestly? The fear started to creep back.
At first the rejection wasn’t so bad. I received my first not great review for my contemporary romance, Entrusted. It wasn’t mean and I actually thought it gave balance to the wonderful five star ones. What would have sent me to a pit of depression for weeks where I’d rehearse my reply in my head never happened. I thanked God for giving me the ability to appreciate the review.
A negative review I was prepared for. What I wasn’t ready to deal with was the unexpected. Someone not liking me. Forget the writing or ministry work or anything I do, people started taking issue with me. The words aimed at my direction were their opinion of me and it wasn’t positive. Not even close. The more I heard about the situations, the more I felt my eyes moving. The focus changed from Jesus to man. And I found myself worrying what others were thinking about me.
Whether intentional or not I walked away feeling unworthy and unfit for much of anything. Not as an author, blogger, servant, honestly, even as a human being.
I started to feel emotionally paralyzed. When I spoke or wrote I worried if I was being offensive. I knew I needed help.
During this time I was helping out a ministry and they are all friends and mentors. I shared my situation and they started to pray. Like the Taylor Swift song they encouraged me to “Shake it Off.” Not so much the words said against me but the fear I allowed to conquer. When they finished praying and giving me a bit of strategy, they came back with a Scripture card.
It was Psalm 32:7.
You are my hiding place;
you will protect me from trouble
and surround me with songs of deliverance.
My friend went on to explain that the trouble here are the words and attacks lobbed at me. The songs of deliverance are His words. No matter who or how many people take issue with me in any role I take on, His words cover me. His promises and words are bigger than anything else.
That promise gave me such comfort and peace.
It was in this that Jennifer’s study caught my eye. I was curious what verses she would use.
“God’s way is perfect. All the Lord’s promises prove true.”
It was further encouragement that He’s got my back. He goes before me. He’s my rearguard. With that kind of protection, fear has no place. When I read Jennifer’s recollection, she reminded me about David. Saul was after his hide. His obsession with the lad was with laser focus. Yet God took care of him. So much so David had the opportunity to take Saul out and out of honor and obedience, he did not. And God blessed him.
I’m not in it for the blessings but I know as His beloved daughter He longs to lavish his love on me. One form of that love is protection and covering. To have His words, His song of deliverance, be bigger than trouble and a promise for me to take faith in, fear took a hike.
And my prayer is fear will take a hike in your life, too.
Father, I ask that You remind the precious person reading this post that Your promises, Your words, are bigger than any trouble they might be facing. Like David, protect them and bless them for their faith, honor and obedience. In Christ’s name, Amen.
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GoodreadsJulie Arduini's books on GoodreadsA Walk in the Valley: Christian encouragement for your journey through infertility
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Entrusted (Adirondack Surrender, #1)
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The Love Boat Bachelor (The Heart Seekers Series)
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