It has been a while since I sat down and decided to put my thoughts in writing and share with you all, but hopefully this is the beginning of a change in that regard.
A couple of weeks ago, on a bright and rather windy Sunday morning, I was given the privilege of leading the Bible Study session at my home church in Lusaka. This was not the first time that I was accorded such an opportunity, nor was it the last. Prior to leading the session that morning, I had prayed and asked God to give me the right words and topic to lead the discussion. The topic for this particular morning was “Beyond Fear”. The text was from the book of Psalm 34:4, “I sought the Lord, and He answered me and delivered me from all my fears,” (NIV). I opened the discussion by posing a question about the audience’s personal fears. It was quite astounding to listen to people name their fears, and sometimes more so because some fears were common than we could have imagined.
The past couple of months that I have been home with family have been some of the best, and surprisingly some of the most challenging months since my Graduation from AU. Coming home after being away for about three years was a huge blessing, but perhaps I had my expectations set so high that when reality hit, I was left quite disappointed at times. This is in regards to finding work. I have applied for more jobs than I care to count, all in my area of study and well within my scope of a career, but it has been frustrating at times to wait for several weeks on end without so much as a whisper from potential employers. I began to live in fear…fear that a job opportunity would not open up anytime soon.
Norman Vincent Peale, in his address on the topic of fear, had this simple advice to give. He said, “Do not build up obstacles in your imagination. Difficulties must be studied and dealt with, but they must not be magnified by fear.” The author of this particular topic then stresses that Peale is absolutely right—"the decision to face a fear instead of running from it is always an exercise in character building." I found myself being challenged by these words, and little did I know that as I shared that morning, other people would find encouragement in these words. See, most of the time we are confronted by fears so big and scary that we forget the simple, yet very reassuring words of Jesus when He spoke to His disciples saying, “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid,” Matthew 14:27, NIV). We tend to magnify these fears till we are consumed by them, by worrying about them till kingdom come. At times, when I have found myself deep in thought worrying about something, I mean let’s face it, as human beings, we sometimes cannot help but worry about things despite the command of Christ not to worry (Matthew 6:25-34). Whenever I find myself worrying, the image of a rocking chair and the quote about worry and a rocking chair comes to mind. “Worry is like a rocking chair; it gives you something to do but doesn’t take you anywhere.” It’s so easy to get caught up worrying about earthly things, but at the end of the day, last I checked, worrying about somethin’ don’t make it better.
As I continue pressing on and remaining steadfast in my job search, I pray for one thing, that God would not lead me to a “safe” place, but that He would lead me to the “right” place. See, the safe place is where anyone of us would want to be--free from worry, anxiety, trouble, and everything is all good. But it may not necessarily be the best place for us, because it is a place of our choosing. Instead, we should yearn to be led to the right place, because that is the place that God has pre-ordained for us. He does, after all, have all the best intentions and plans in store for us (Jeremiah 29:11). The safe place and the right place are seldom the same; the only and most important difference is this: the right place is God’s place.
So next time you find yourself being fearful or worrying, I hope you can take comfort in these words. Remember…”When we meditate on God and remember the promises He has given us in His word, our faith grows, and our fears dissolve,” ~ Charles Stanley.