It says in 2 Corinthians 5:16-18,
" So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:[a] The old has gone, the new is here! 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation:"
This "new" person in Christ is easier said than done. Recently, I felt as if God has been really impressing upon my heart and mind that I need to grow in the area of Fearing God and not people. You might say, what does that mean? A book that I have been reading called, "When People Are Big And God is Small," by Edward T. Welch says that scripture (the Bible) gives three basic reasons why we fear other people --
1. We fear people because they can expose and humiliate us
2. We fear people because they can reject, ridicule, or despise us
3. We fear people because they can attack, oppress, or threaten us.
Being an extreme extrovert I have always held relationships and people in general as a high priority in my life. Around 4 to 5 years ago God started to bring this unhealthy dependency on people to light. I was choosing to be filled up by these relationships and did not want to disappoint people. I would try to make meeting up with people possible at all times. I would also get frustrated with people if they did not see the value in meeting. Now looking back this "fear of man" was controlling my life. Today I am praying that as I continue to be changed by Jesus Christ that I will become more and more a lover of people. This means that I will be used by God to share about how God can change them as he has changed me and also that I am holding my relationship with God higher than my relationships with all humans.
About a month ago, I started to feel as if I was supposed to start staying home full time with our son Caleb. For me to even consider this shows that God has changed my desires. I have always been extremely fearful to stay home full time because parenting has been a struggle from day one for me. When we were first married I actually thought life was pretty great and wasn't sure if I even wanted children. Then God started to help me see through some great friends from our church that being parents is a great calling. God has given us children to help disciple and help them learn to love and serve Him. So...after struggling through infertility and many questions of why, God blessed us with Caleb. The baby stage was very hard for me and I always say once he turned one years old it was much easier for me to spend time with him because he could "do" so much more. Fast forward to 2 years old....parenting has started to be even tougher! He continually pushes our limits and patience levels. These past almost 3 years of his life has shown me more and more why I need to pour my life into him. They watch everything you do and only by being with him on a consistent basis can I have the influence as a mother on him as I hope to. With having so many other work commitments and outside interests, my patience levels grow very thin. So...with lots of prayers and a little fear still in my heart, we decided for me to start staying home later this fall. I am excited for this new adventure and have a true peace about it that can only come from God!
Another area that I still struggle with fear a lot is with my body. This has been a constant struggle since college. I have a fear of gaining weight and feel uncomfortable at times with tight fitting clothing. I felt as if I had made huge strides with being freed of some of this fear, anxiety and lies that I was believing. However, as I am starting to change some things to correct some of my health issues, I have had less control over some things and I quickly realized that this is still a very large stronghold in my life. A friend of mine suggested that I memorize a Bible verse to be able to bring to mind when I am struggling with those lies in my thoughts. Oh, yeah! What a great idea. Isn't it way easier to tell someone else what to do to help with their struggles than to know what to do to help yourself? That is why we need other people in our lives that we can talk to and help keep us accountable! I am continuing to pray that I will be comfortable in my own skin no matter what I choose to wear.
I am so thankful that God is continuing to change me each day. I leave you with this verse...
"Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe." - Proverbs 29:25