Tag Archives: fear

Seeing God in Mammas

Three mothers in living room with babies and coffee smiling

I had the privilege to speak to a Mops group yesterday. It’s one of my favorite things to do! My topic was fear. The title was Fighting Your Fears (So You Can Flourish).  It’s ironic in part because I am always so nervous before I speak and once I get up there I feel God’s peace and He takes over. So by me standing up there, being brave and doing what I know He’s called me to do, I am fighting my fears. And that was the foundation of my message. Every time I am afraid to do something but do it anyways, I am fighting my fears. And then I saw this last night and was like, confirmation!

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And as if that wasn’t enough, Priscilla Shirer, in the Bible Study I taught last night (Armor of God), said almost word for word some of the stuff I talked on about just having to step out, and she even used the same illustration I did about Peter walking on water, and how sometimes we’re just going to have to step out of the boat, even in the midst of all the wind and waves.

I have to tell you, I saw God all over those mammas yesterday. October is Pregnancy, Infant Loss Awareness Month. They showed a music video right before my talk to remember all the mammas in the room who had lost a little one. I could see Him healing through the tears and having someone acknowledge their pain. It was a sacred moment.

And then after I spoke, I joined a group for their small group discussion time. As I listened to mamma after mamma pour out their fears, I also saw God at work, as other mammas joined in to bring advice and encouragement. And I could see God at work that morning, as the ladies were coming head on with some of their own fears, not wanting to allow those fears to paralyze them or keep them from being all that God has called them to be. And many talked to me afterwards  sharing their own fears and I saw God at work and it was beautiful.

He is at work…every.single.day.

And all we have to do is look for Him. Be intentional. Wake up each morning and say, “Lord, Help me to see you today, in the everyday, ordinary parts of my life.”

What Holds Us Back From Our Dreams- Part 1

Celeste-podcastcelestebarnard.com

In this episode I talk about the things that hold us back from our dreams. We’ve all been given different gifts, talents, and abilities. And God will place dreams in our heart, but there are things that keep us from seeing those dreams fulfilled. This is Part 1. Enjoy!

Zechariah 4:10a (NLT)- Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin…

“Do not lose hold of your dreams or aspirations. For if you do, you may still exist but you have ceased to live.” Henry David Thoreau

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What I Learned from Fear

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“For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.” 2 Timothy 1:7 (NLT)

I met a liar last year. Well, let me go back. I’ve known him for a while now. I used to let him have so much say in my life. He told me when I should and shouldn’t do something. If God was calling me to step out in faith, he usually told me all the risks and all the reasons why I shouldn’t. He made me think that I probably shouldn’t do that thing if it scared me. He let me know right away all the ‘what ifs’ to consider. He gave me a list- What if I failed? What if I messed up? What if I wasn’t good enough? What if people didn’t like what I said or wrote or did? The list he gave me made me second-guess myself and wonder if he was right. You might know this guy.

His name is fear.

Fear has issues. He has been robbing people of their dreams for as long as I can remember. He’s sneaky, subtle, and unfortunately, always popping his head in with his two cents. In the past, fear has said way too many things to me and unfortunately, he’s very convincing. He’s said things like:

  • You’re not good enough
  • There’s no way you can do that
  • You’re not smart enough
  • You’re not good looking enough
  • You are insecure
  • You will not have any money when you’re older to live on
  • You are not connected to your kids enough
  • You are not good at friendships
  • You are not good at hosting people
  • You’re not a strong enough writer

And usually, when I heard his voice, I retreated back into my shell and into doing what I’ve always done, because doing what I’ve always done is safer. Or is it?

About a month ago we went to an incredible getaway in Austin, Texas called Camp Tejas. All of Jon’s siblings and their families went and it was a very special time. Several of us had talked about doing the zip line. I didn’t think too much about it, but in my mind there was a struggle going on. I want to do it, but I’m afraid. I have this ridiculous fear of heights. Ridiculous. And standing in line was my husband, my brother and sister in law, my daughter, and my 12-year-old son. They wouldn’t have thought any less of me if I didn’t do it. But all year, the Lord had challenged me to be my best brave. I even published a Brave Journal! And I knew my kids were watching. I bought a ticket and got in line with them. They were all excited that I was going to do it. The line felt like forever, as I imagined the torture I was about to endure. “Be brave,” I continued to whisper to myself. And then we had to climb up a rickety, spiral wooden ladder, all the way up. By the time I made it to the top I was literally shaking. The four of us could all go at the same time- my husband, my son, my daughter, and me. They strapped us in our harness as I asked about 20 questions. “Has anyone ever thrown up?” “Has anyone ever fallen off?” “Have you had any injuries?” It was pitch dark, freezing cold, and the view from up top looked much higher than the view from below. I felt ill. Fear told me I couldn’t do it. He said, “What if you get hurt.” And then the countdown. One… two… and three! Hope and Jon went, no problem. Noah hesitated a moment and then just did it! And there I was, atop a massive wooden tower completely gripped by fear. I froze. I felt paralyzed. It almost felt like there was someone physically holding me back. Fear said, “This is way too scary, you can’t do this.” I kept telling the girl, “I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I am so afraid. Why can’t I just jump?” “It’s the fear isn’t it?” To which she calmly but matter of factly said, “Yes, it’s the fear itself that’s holding you back.” On the ground my family was swinging around, still strapped in, just waiting for them to send me down. They kept doing these countdowns. I sat on the ledge because I couldn’t stand anymore. The girl sat right down next to me. She was sweet and encouraging and tried to talk me through it. She said if I wanted to, I could scoot off the ledge instead of jumping and the seat would just catch me. Finally I heard on their radios, “If she doesn’t go right now, you just need to have her walk back down.” I knew I had to do it- not just for my kids, but for me. I honestly felt like this was symbolic of things to come and I was going to need to learn how to kick fear in the face in the coming year. So finally the last countdown… 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, and… 1. And I did it! I scooted off the ledge as I screamed and shouted and screamed some more. Everyone was cheering for me and I think the men working below were just glad I stopped holding up the line. It was scary and exhilarating all at the same time.

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I finally had to realize that FEAR IS A LIAR. (click to tweet)

He speaks lies and there is no truth in him. The more I realize this to be true, the more I have been able to KICK FEAR IN THE FACE.

How can you kick fear in the face? Every time you are afraid and do it anyway, you just kicked fear in the face. Every time you feel unqualified but know God is calling you to do something and so you do it anyway, you kick fear in the face. Every time you quote scripture over that thing that has a hold on you, you kick fear in the face.

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Every time I say yes to a speaking engagement, I kick fear in the face. Every time I do something that scares me a little, I kick fear in the face. Every time I’m compelled to run because that thing is so out of my comfort zone, but instead of running from it, I run to it, I kick fear in the face. Every time I stop thinking about it and just do it, I kick fear in the face.

I hope you learned this lesson too in 2014- that fear is a liar. Fear will paralyze us and stop us dead in our tracks. Fear will always tell us of the worst-case scenarios. But no matter what happens in 2015, just like when I jumped off that ledge and the seat caught me, Jesus is right here to catch you. Our walk with Him is a freefall into His arms of love and mercy and grace. He’ll catch you, I promise. May we live out 2015 with boldness, with bravery, and with courage. Greater is He that is in you than He that is in the world.

Do me a favor, get out there and kick fear in the face!!

 

 

 

The Land of Comfort and Her Neighbor Fear

Trees Rising Above Swamp

If we’re going to go somewhere with God, sometimes we need to let go of where we’ve been. ~Beth Moore

There is a land that is all too familiar. It is a place that is neither fun nor daring, but it is a safe place. It is a familiar place. In this land, you always know what will take place. There are not too many unexpected turns or twists. This is a comfortable place: our favorite chair, our usual meals, our daily rituals. We have grown accustomed to this land. It neither calls us to move forward nor step out into the unknown. In many ways, this land has grown on us with its familiar surroundings. This is the land of Comfort.

Travel with me to her neighbor, Fear. We don’t recognize her right away. She’s sneaky, this neighbor. In her land we remain. We do the expected and walk in ways not to offend. We dare not make any sudden moves. We understand that people have come to have expectations of us, so we mustn’t cause the waters to ripple and otherwise risk their disapproval. But the problem with these sibling neighbors are that the Lord never intended for you, for us, to camp here quite so long. Oh, but it’s safe we think. But is it?

I am comfortable, because deep down I am afraid. Welcome, comfort and fear. Being comfortable has a way of causing us to stay in one place and become complacent. We have heard the Lord at different points in our life call us to step out of the boat; “but Lord, that water looks cold.” And before we know it, we’ve traveled to the neighborhood of fear. “I would, Lord, but what if I fail?”

I am going to admit something to you about my land of fear. The Lord told me it was way past time to talk to my kids (especially my 11 year old) about the basics of where we came from and sex. I’m not going to lie. I started in the place of comfort (maybe this will all just go away) and drove right on over to the place of straight-up fear.

No longer was this just something I knew I needed to do, but this thing had taken root in me and actually held me in bondage. I grew up learning everything about this subject the wrong way and from the wrong people. I was terrified I was going to say it wrong; or worse, what if the words didn’t come out right? I didn’t want to confuse my children even more. I camped in the land of fear for far too long. I was blessed to share this with my mommy group one night, and was given a great resource to use (God’s Design for Sex by Stan and Brenna Jones). And after giving this stronghold up to the Lord, I did it! I cannot tell you how good it felt to move out of these neighborhoods and into what the Lord had asked of me! And we are not done, but now that I’ve stepped out I know I can do it!

What about you? Is there something the Lord is calling you to do, whether big or small and somehow the enemy has you convinced that comfort and fear will always be your place of residence? This was a small example of me moving out of those neighborhoods. I also have felt the Lord stirring some things up in me that will require much preparation and sacrifice. I know there are areas where I need to sharpen the gifts that He has given me and I will need to take some practical steps to get there. It will not be comfortable and fear has already been knocking on my door, but I refuse to let her stop me!

I love the story of Moses. If there is someone whom I feel I can most definitely relate to, it’s my man Moses. In Exodus 3, God calls out to Moses from a burning bush. This is where He calls Moses to deliver the Israelites from slavery under Pharaoh’s evil hand. In verse 10 He says, “Now I am sending you.” And here’s what Moses says (verse 11): “But who am I to appear before Pharaoh? … How can you expect me to lead the Israelites out of Egypt?” In verse 12 God told him, “I will be with you”. Throughout the chapter, Moses protests. Then in Exodus 4:1 Moses protests again. “Look, they won’t believe me! They won’t do what I tell them.” (Looks like someone is driving around the land of fear).

Exodus 4:10: But Moses pleaded with the Lord (I’ve done this), “Oh Lord, I’m just not a good speaker: I never have been, and I’m not now, even after You have spoken to me. I’m clumsy with words.” I love the Lord’s response in verse 11: “Who makes mouths?” the Lord asks Him. “Who makes people so they can speak or not speak, hear or not hear, see or not see? Is it not I, the Lord? Now go and do as I have told you, I will help you speak well, and I will tell you what to say.” In verse 13, Moses pleads again with the Lord and straight up asks Him to just send someone else!

It says this in the Matthew Henry Commentary: “Moses still continues reluctant in the service for which God had intended for him; now we can no longer impute it to his humility and modesty, but we must admit that there was too much of cowardice (fear), slothfulness (comfortable), and unbelief in it.” As most of us know, God did use Moses in a great and mighty way. He used him to deliver the people and did many miracles through him.

My personal story is this: I feel at some point the Lord wants me to speak more and share my story. A lot of people know me as an extrovert, so they might think that this would be very easy for me. I will tell you right now, I turn into mush at the thought of speaking. Mush. Jello. Yep. And then in the area of writing–I know He wants to use me in this area, but here’s a little confession: I failed typing class. I was too busy writing notes to my friends. I never followed through and even as I type this, I am slower than molasses and have to look at my keyboard. (The Lord sure has a sense of humor, doesn’t He?!)

What is the Lord is asking you to do? Does he want you to drive as fast as you can out of those ‘comfortable’ neighborhoods? Is He calling you to do it in spite of the land of fear that you seem to drive through all the time? The one thing I know of the Lord is that where He has appointed, He has anointed! Beth Moore has this to say on this subject: “We’re going to have to press through our land of fear to get to the land of promise. If we think that we can’t do it because we’re scared of it, that’s probably why it is exactly it! Go do it scared. There’s no way to get experience other than to just do it.”

She goes on to say that every time she would go up to speak that her knees would knock for the first 15 minuets. She said to herself, “I’m just going to have to let ‘em knock!” We need to humble ourselves & admit we are scared, but if this is what the Lord has put on our heart, then we just need to do it!

Lord, You know our hearts. You know the areas where we have become comfortable. You know the areas where fear still has a hold on us. Would You help us to confess those areas to You? Today I ask that those dreams that are placed deep inside our hearts would no longer be buried by comfort and fear. We give these dreams up to You and ask that You would show us what steps we need to take. Lord, that our lives would bring You glory. In Jesus’ name, amen.

                                           Isaiah 41:10 (NIV)

 So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

 

Don’t Worry About It

One night, as I went to tuck my daughter in, I noticed sadness in her eyes. I asked her what was wrong. She said she was sad because she knew one day her dog (Latte’) would die. See, this is our first dog we’ve ever had as a family. He’s a Pug, and well, he’s just so stinkin cute! I don’t think she realized how close she would get to him. And, he was only like a year old! I’m thinking this dog has like eighteen years left in him. I tried to convey that to her, and console her. He’s really here for a while. She calmed down and fell asleep.

Here it is, some two years later and our pug is still as cuddly and perky as ever. I wonder how many times we do that. We stress and worry and we carry fear about what might happen down the road. Something that is totally out of our hands. Unfortunately, worrying about what ‘might’ happen someday robs us of the gift we have in today- the present. And it steals our joy and cheats us of living in the now.

Ask the Lord what it is that you’ve been stressing over and carrying. Trust Him to carry that burden and to remove that weight. Ask Him to allow you to live in the present, knowing your future is in His hands. 🙂

Do Not Worry…

Matthew 6:25-34~ 25“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? 26Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?

28“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.