Do Not Be Afraid

A couple years ago, I went on a women’s retreat where the theme was “Do Not Fear.” The first night at the retreat, all the women were told to choose their top 3 fears out of a list of about 30 or so. I guess we had to circle our top three. Many women were like, “Only 3, I can only choose 3?” Apparently many women were having the same dilemma that I was having. Fear seems to surround and grip the hearts of most women, and fear often rears its ugly head in the form of control or worry or manipulation or all three at the same time.

During another session, the speaker called out several fears, similar to the ones from the previous night but had us stand if that particular fear applied to us. I really wish I had had the list she was referring to ahead of time, so I could pick out the most applicable ones instead of feeling like I had to stand up for all of them.

But the one fear that she called out, the one that hit that wounded spot in my heart, to where the tears poured down my face and would not stop was the fear of being insignificant, which the speaker went on to further describe in this way…”disappointing others, not feeling that you will ever be enough, not fitting in, a fear of never belonging, not feeling worthwhile”… This was my pain…this was my fear…the fear that I wouldn’t be noticed or accepted, that I would always be that insignificant, mousy child.

As I was on this retreat with 120 women, ninety-five percent of which I’d never even seen before, this fear once again became a reality for me, and the enemy kept saying, “See, I told you so. You don’t belong. You don’t fit in. People look past you. You really are insignificant.” And I really struggled with those lies throughout the retreat.

It didn’t help that during the retreat, I was introduced to one lady 5 different times. She not only didn’t remember my name each time but couldn’t even remember that we’d already been introduced previously. By the fifth time, I finally went with it. I just accepted the introduction again, said it was nice to meet her, but this time, I chuckled on the inside…because I think Jesus was beginning to get through to me that it didn’t really matter.

The last morning of the women’s retreat, we had an interactive worship service. I’m not really into interactive stuff. I just want to sit back and not have to do anything, and definitely not participate in hands-on types of things. I hate doing things like skits and stuff and even though this wasn’t that, I was thinking to myself, “Oh man, I really wish we’d left the night before.” But I was trusting that Jesus had me there for a reason.

There were several tables at the back of the room, where we were supposed to “do” different things. At one of the tables, we were to write our ONE fear on a note card and tack it to this corkboard that was on an easel sitting in the front of the room.

As I began walking to the different “stations,” I was trying to figure out what was at the core of my fear of feeling insignificant. I still had no idea what I was going to write on that note card, but I just kept asking Jesus what was the root of all my fear.

At the first table, we had to stamp the word FEAR on our hands. I didn’t do that very successfully. I got the letters “EA” on my hand and had to rock the stamp back and forth to get the “F” and eventually the “R” which kind of covered up the “A.” My friend was laughing at me and rolling her eyes. I too rolled my eyes and laughed at myself and my lack of being able to even stamp my own hand.

One of the tables had a card that had 30 verse references on it, and we were supposed to pick out one verse and look it up. My eyes scanned John 6:20, but I kept looking, thinking that maybe I would go with something that was more familiar, but I kept coming back to John 6:20, so I looked it up in one of the Bibles sitting there on the table, and it said … “It is I, do not be afraid.”

All of a sudden I knew exactly what I had to write on my note card…and what I wrote encompassed all my fears…it still does. It went to the heart of my fear of feeling insignificant at the time, and now speaks to me about my fear over whether or not Abba is going to continue to provide. So I wrote, “FEAR AND DOUBT THAT JESUS IS ENOUGH”…and tacked it up to that board that sat at the foot of the cross.

Not too long ago, I visualized Jesus going back with me through the past…through the times when I felt hurt or disappointed or rejected or insignificant…as a little girl, as a teenager, as a college student, as a wife, as a mom, as a friend, and I took Jesus there with me. I felt Him weep for me…weep because I was hurt, because I was fearful, because I was rejected, because I felt insignificant. As He was standing there looking at me in my various stages of life, I was finally able to say as that little girl, as that college student, as that young wife, as that mom, as that friend, “Yes, Jesus, You are enough.”

I believe fear is one of the enemy’s biggest weapons that he uses to discourage believers. Because if he can get us to fear and to take our eyes off of Christ and make us focus our attention on ourselves and our fears, then we begin to believe the lie that Jesus is not enough. Our self-focus and fear then blind us to the reality of Christ. Jesus must have known that we were really going to struggle with fear because he uses the command, “Do Not Be Afraid” well over 300 times in the Bible …the most often used command…

During the retreat, Jesus spoke once again to my heart. He said, “You’re so quick to think you have nothing to offer. You don’t…in and of yourself, but with Me you have everything to offer. I will fill you up until you overflow to those around You…It is I; do not be afraid.”


1 Response to “Do Not Be Afraid”

  1. 1 Judy Benson
    April 25, 2010 at 12:55 pm

    I stumbled upon this from Aubin’s blog and was immediately drawn into the post. Having just heard Beth Moore yesterday on insecurity I have to agree that fear of insignificance is a huge thing for most women….even those who seem significant to us. I am learning that I can give significance to others by simply remembering, encouraging or supporting them. I can find significance for myself in Christ alone. Thank you for sharing your fears and from your heart.

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