When we are bound by fear, shame is not far behind.
I had someone tell me a few years ago, that shyness is a learned behavior. I have always been a little shy and reserved around people. This person didn’t understand why I would shut down or simply walk away from a conversation when I was uncomfortable with what was being said.
In my growing up years, and even as an adult it took me a while to recognize that shyness is fear-based. One definition of shy that I found is as follows:
“being reserved or having or showing nervousness or timidity in the company of other people.”
A synonym of shy is fearful….
Fear robs us
of living up to our full potential,
Fear robs us of developing healthy relationships,
Fear robs us of the courage to live a full and abundant life,
Fear robs us of the ability to discern what a healthy relationship looks like,
Fear prevents intimacy in every part of life.
Prior to letting Christ into my life, I tested people. I would only tell them pieces of information, then I would wait until I saw what they would do with it. There were very few people that I told my whole story to. I never “volunteered” information without a purpose. In domestic violence situations, a single slip from a child to the wrong adult and the situation could escalate. I learned at a very early age not to share.
Fear was a constant companion, and it served a purpose. It prevented me from getting too close so that I didn’t get hurt. It prevented me from taking risks and kept my life predictable. I didn’t let anyone close enough as an adult to believe that a healthy relationship was even possible.
One of the most difficult things I learned as an adult coming to Christ was there were so many things I had to unlearn, if you will, as I began the process of learning to trust a God that I didn’t fully know. Trust did not come easy to me, whether it was to trust people or to trust God.
As I began to read the Bible, the Holy Spirit would highlight specific scriptures. It was almost like when I read them something went off on the inside of me. I knew that this was something for me. I knew it was a tool that I needed on my way to realizing my freedom that God talks about in Christ.
Psalm 34:4 (NLT) was one of those scriptures. It read as follows:
I prayed to the LORD, and he answered me. He freed me from all my fears.
Little did I know at the time, deliverance as described in other translations would come as God gave me opportunities to face those fears. God would remind me as I faced each fear that He was always with me and we would face it together. Every fear in life, whether it was speaking in front of people, allowing my writing to be seen, letting people see layers of my life as I allowed them in, and others, would all be dealt with as God led me to confront those fears.
The enemy brings opportunities for us to give in to fear, and at times we are overcome with shame when we fail to recognize the opportunity and use it for God’s glory. When we are overcome with shame, we must remember to ask God for forgiveness for missing the opportunity and then forgive ourselves. We will always have a choice to give in to fear or to trust God while confronting the fear.
As I write this blog today, I am enforcing the knowledge of my freedom to write without fear. I’ve always known that I wanted to write, but if the fear prevails then the enemy wins and I lose sight of God’s plan for me.
Facing our Fears
- Facing our fears doesn’t mean we’ll never experience it again.
- The enemy always brings opportunities for us to back away in fear.
- God will bring opportunities to face our fears.
- If we back away, it means a couple of things:
- We are focusing on our own strengths and abilities and not on God’s ability to help us stand firm.
- We aren’t fully convinced that God is for us and only has our best interest at heart.
- When we take those very same fears the enemy tries to use against us, and lay them before the Lord, it is God’s plan that prevails.
- Facing our fears requires obedience on our part.
We all have areas of fear, but the key is how do we handle them? There is no condemnation, or judgment. Simply look at your life and see if there is something that you know you are called to but haven’t taken any steps toward it yet because of fear. Then ask God to free you from the fear and prepare to step out in obedience as He leads you.