“At once they left their nets and followed Him”. –Matthew 4:20 NIV84
“For Jesus’ disciples, burning the plows meant leaving their fishing nets and boats” (Matthew 4:18-22). So, what is my net? What am I going to burn or leave behind in order to experience the greater life God has designed for me? When posed with this question, I first began looking for something tangible-something I could physically “burn” or get rid of. But for me, it isn’t something I can go pick up and toss into the fire and it be gone forever. In fact, I wish it was. That would be easier. But no, it’s emotional. It’s something within me and it is fear. It’s a total lack of confidence in my abilities to be greater and to do greater things in life. I continually compare myself to others. There is always this little voice, or apparently loud and overpowering voice saying “you aren’t good enough”, “others are better than you, let them handle it”, “you’re going to mess up, spare yourself the embarrassment.” I say this voice is overpowering because it wins every time. It keeps me from approaching people. It keeps me from doing things I have a passion for. I may go halfway, but I never go all the way because fear stops me and I return to my comfort zone.
There are things I have accomplished. Fear didn’t keep me from going to college and getting a degree. It did, however, keep from attending a bigger college like Oklahoma State University or University of Oklahoma. But I went, and I’m glad did. I even went back to school to work on my masters degree in counseling psychology, but even then as I continued my courses, that voice was always there…”these are lives and minds you’re going to be working with. What if you don’t make them better, but you make them worse?” Though this was something I wanted to do so badly, I never believed I could be successful at it. So when I met the man, whom I am married to now, and moved to Wyoming, I was okay with quitting school. I wasn’t going to be a good counselor, and besides I didn’t need to take out more loans for school, especially if all I would do was hurt rather than help the people I would work with. That was a plausible excuse for me. It’s hard to be this honest and open to whoever may read this, but this is good for me. I’ve always known this about myself, but to actually write it out, to be given the question “What has kept you from doing greater things with your life?” and having to come up with the answer, and knowing what the answer is, that’s hard.
I think if you knew me personally, you would probably think I wasn’t being very honest. I don’t think I come across as an insecure person. But that’s just it; I’m being very honest, and finally honest with myself. This week I’ve really faced the facts. I’ve let fear control a lot of my life. The things I have done, I’ve made myself do, but it’s never been easy. There has always been a fight within myself to do certain things, for example, apply for jobs, go on job interviews, volunteer, start a business (this is another one of those things I’ve only done halfway). Even starting this blog was hard for me. Every time a make a new post, I get sick to my stomach, and the voice starts once again.
As I read the discussions on Melissa’s Blog, I clearly see I’m not alone. There are several of us that face this fear or lack of confidence in our abilities. But as I prayed this morning, it hit me, when I question myself, when I question my abilities, when I question whether or not I can do something God has so clearly put in my heart to do, I’m not only questioning myself, I’m questioning God. I love this quote by Anne Ortlund, “Whatever God asks you to be, He enables you to be.” I know God’s been speaking to my heart for some time now, but I was never ready to drop and burn my net, mainly because I never knew what it was. Well, no more excuses, I know what it is now, and I’m ready to let it go. Did God say it would be easy? No. Did He say I wouldn’t face rejection, embarrassment or ridicule? No. But He did say I can do it, and He’s telling me to go.
So today I ask for forgiveness. Lord, forgive me for letting fear control my life. I’m ready to drop my net. I know it’s not going to be easy, but with You it’s possible. Walk with me always, and give me the strength to do what You ask me to do. Amen.