Pastor’s Pondering

What would you do if you weren’t afraid?  Sure, it might be a slightly cheesy and cliché question, but maybe it is cliché because it is true.  Fear has a way of stopping us in our tracks.  It has a way of keeping us in our boxes because that unknown place outside of our comfort zones is just a little too wild, and unpredictable, and scary.  One of the most frequent requests that God or God’s messengers give in Scripture is to fear not.  Fear is one of those things that gets in the way on our faith journeys, it is one of those things that keeps us from experiencing the fullness of who God is, how God is moving in the world, and who God is calling us to be.  When God called Moses out of his comfort zone at the burning bush, Moses’ first responses are fear: fear of failure, fear of not being enough, fear of how people will respond, fear of the unknown.  Out of fear, Moses begs with God to please send someone else and let Moses keep living his quiet and comfortable life.  God calls Moses beyond his fear, recognizing that these are indeed scary things but that God will be with Moses, and so they are not reasons not to try.  When the Israelites heard from Moses what God was going to do they too responded with fear.  Because as much as they wanted freedom, the risk and uncertainty was frightening and so time and again they struggle.  These are just some of the countless stories from Scripture of people experiencing fear and God calling them beyond that fear.

Fear is a reality of life and something that we all have in common.  We all meet and experience fear on a daily bases, whether we are aware of it or not.  And that fear we meet impacts our decisions.  Sometimes this is really helpful, a healthy fear of heights for example can keep us from accidentally falling off things.  But often our fears impact our actions and thoughts in unhealthy ways.  Often our fears cause us to box ourselves in or stagnate, they cause us to respond in brittle and anxious ways with others rather than with love.  Maybe in those hundreds of times God asks us to fear not in the Bible God isn’t asking us to do the impossible and like completely without fears.  Maybe God is asking us to decide what we will do with our fears, to decide if we will let them hold us back or if we will hear the call of God to follow Jesus into that unknown, wild place of God’s love.  So, what would you do if you weren’t afraid?  It’s a question some of our youth and I have been talking about as we discern together how God might be calling them and calling us to serve others in our community.  It’s a question that helps open our hearts to hear how God might be nudging and calling each of us.  Maybe if we weren’t afraid we would reach out to that person we haven’t talked to in a while.  Maybe if we weren’t afraid we would tell someone we love them.  Maybe if we weren’t afraid we walk talk about our faith lives with our friends.  Maybe if we weren’t afraid we would try something new that we might fail at. What would you do if you weren’t afraid?

-Pastor Chelsea

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