What Are You Afraid Of?
When was the last time you were afraid? Long after we outgrow our dread of the boogie man and what lurks under our beds, we wrestle with this thing called fear. It can hold us hostage to lies planted by the enemy. It can prevent us from embracing God’s plan for our lives – if we let it.
Did you catch that? We are the ones who get to decide what to do when fear comes knocking on our door.
This week I’ll be attending the She Speaks Conference in Concord, North Carolina. With every day that passes, I deal with mixed emotions. I’m super excited, yet I’m a bundle of nerves at the same time. I look forward to learning a lot in each workshop, and meeting writers and speakers who use their talents for the Lord. That’s not the part that makes me nervous. It’s the extra things I signed up for that send my heart rate into double time: editor/agent meetings and a speaker’s critique group.
What seemed like a good idea when I initially registered for the conference, now has me feeling like a frightened school girl. But I get to choose what to do with those fears.
A great example
I love the examples in the Bible of women just like me, who had similar issues. No, they weren’t attending conferences, but they WERE dealing with very real fears. Esther comes to mind.
Esther was chosen as Ahasuerus’ queen following a beauty contest of sorts. Her life changed drastically. A Jewish orphan who had been raised by her cousin Mordecai, Esther was now the wife of the most powerful man in Persia. Things were about to get interesting.
The king’s top prince, Haman was not a fan of the Jews. Since his promotion, Haman enjoyed the prestige that went along with his job. When he passed through the king’s gate all the servants were to bow down to him, showing respect for his position. But there was one man who had the audacity to ignore the command. He refused to bow to Haman because he was a Jew who gave allegiance to God alone. The man was Esther’s cousin Mordecai.
How did Haman deal with this problem? He put a decree into place that would make it legal to kill the Jews on a particular day of the year.
A life-or-death situation
Word got to Esther via Mordecai of Haman’s diabolical plan. Mordecai urged Esther to go before the king and beg for the lives of her people to be spared. His words spurred her to action:
For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then shall there enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place; but thou and thy father’s house shall be destroyed: and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this? Esther 4:14
Esther was afraid. If she approached the king without being summoned, Persian law allowed him to have her killed. The only exception was if he held out his golden scepter to her.
The right response
Esther chose to respond in faith:
She fasted and prayed – she organized a group of people to fast and pray with her before she approached the king.
She prepared – she had given much thought to what she would say to the king if he allowed her to speak, and she dressed for the occasion – wearing her royal apparel.
She praised God for the outcome – when Esther told the king about Haman’s plan to destroy the Jews, Haman was hung and the Jews were allowed to defend themselves on the day intended for their slaughter. Her cousin Mordecai was elevated to Haman’s position.
Fears that could have paralyzed Esther, caused her to call out to God instead. I can follow this same pattern when confronted by fear. Prayer, preparation, and praise will cause my faith to grow and my fear to subside.
What fears are you dealing with today? What step will you take to send fear packing?
Prayer: Heavenly Father, Thank You for calming my heart when I’m anxious. Forgive me when I let fear overwhelm me. Help me remember Esther’s example of prayer, preparation, and praise when I’m facing things that cause me to be afraid. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
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