A note from Chris Adams: The new year brings great excitement as we consider what is ahead both personally and in the ministries we serve. But since only God knows exactly what 2015 will hold, fear may also hover in the back of our minds. Read these insights from guest writer, Leighann McCoy. And let’s head into this year in faith, not fear, about what is ahead.
By Leighann McCoy
There’s a tent that rises across the street from our church twice a year — once near the Fourth of July and once again just before the New Year. A few years ago, my granddaughter, Misty (who was 2-years-old at the time) experienced fireworks for the first time. She enjoyed them as long as I was holding her tight and assuring her that although they were not going to get her. In fact, Misty enjoyed them more when we realized she could have a great view of the explosions from inside the house through the kitchen window.
When we’d seen enough, I took her upstairs to get her ready for bed. Because she was still hearing the noise and no longer seeing the “flowers,” she was still a bit jumpy. I continued to tell her it was nothing but the “boom, boom, boom” of the fireworks. She continued to say, “poppin, Nana, poppin” as she followed me like a shadow.
At this point, I had to go to the bathroom. I have to confess that I was trying a new tactic in early potty training where I let her come in with me and we talk about how “one day” she’ll be a big girl and go to the potty like Nana. (I know maybe TMI for an article, but I promise I’m going somewhere with this.) Misty closed the bathroom door which left us in the dark. She then backed herself into the corner and declared, “Not scary now, Nana.” I smiled and said, “Yes, but look where your fear put you!”
I know that Misty is too young to understand this, but Misty was afraid of something very real. (The loud noises honestly did make it sound like we were in the thick of a battle.) But I knew they were simply noises and there was no way she was going to be harmed by them. She didn’t know this, but she did know enough about me and our relationship to find some comfort in being with me, even though I couldn’t stop the noises and she couldn’t completely escape her fear. She finally got to a place where she was no longer afraid because she was still with me. But she was also no longer playing with her toys or interacting with other people. She was with me in the corner of a dark room. She was missing out. Her fear put her there.
So where does your fear put you? Does it drive you to Jesus? Or does it take you away from all that you were created to be and all that He has called you to do? Does your fear back you into a corner where you feel safe?
Look around you. What are you afraid of in your life and ministry this year? Ask yourself, “Is God walking with me? Does He seem to be concerned?” The obvious answer to these questions is that He is certainly with you always and He is in complete control — never worried or unsure. Trust Him enough to carry on. Go ahead and venture out and do the great big things you were afraid to do last year.
Psalm 23:4 says, “Even when I go through the darkest valley, I fear no danger, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff—they comfort me.”
Don’t let your fear back you into a dark corner. It’s a new year and a good time to put your fear to rest. With Jesus by your side, it’s definitely “not scary now!”
Leighann McCoy is a graduate of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. She is the senior pastor’s wife at Thompson Station Church, Thompson Station, Tenn., a mother of three, a LifeWay Ministry Multiplier and a writer and speaker. Currently, she serves on staff at Thompson Station Church as the prayer and women’s minister, and is a frequent speaker at women’s events and prayer conferences. Throughout her ministry, she has served in several denominational positions relating to children and women’s ministries. She is the author of 10 books, including Spiritual Warfare for Women and A Woman’s Guide to Hearing God’s Voice.