Raise your hand if you are scared to speak publicly?  Like you still remember when you were in High School Speech class and had to get up in front of class and talk for 10 minutes, let alone 2 minutes, and you just worked up a sweat about it for a good week before the time came.  You were counting down the people who had to speak in front of you... and then it was YOUR turn.

No, not you?  Well, that was me.  It still is me.  I'm so much better one on one.  In group settings I just don't like to speak up and I'm usually the one nodding my head, listening intently.  That's why when I'm in a group setting like a big meeting or conference the speaker seems to find me and then keeps coming back to me.  I guess they see someone paying attention and my eye contact with them helps them to know someone is making the effort to listen to what they have to say.  But better them up there than me...  :)

It really all boils down to FEAR.

I love these verses in Jeremiah 1:4-10: "

Now the word of the Lord came to me, saying,

5 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
and before you were born I consecrated you;
I appointed you a prophet to the nations.”

6 Then I said, “Ah, Lord God! Behold, I do not know how to speak, for I am only a youth.” 7 But the Lord said to me,

“Do not say, ‘I am only a youth’;
for to all to whom I send you, you shall go,
and whatever I command you, you shall speak.
8 Do not be afraid of them,
for I am with you to deliver you,
declares the Lord.”

9 Then the Lord put out his hand and touched my mouth. And the Lord said to me,

“Behold, I have put my words in your mouth.
10 See, I have set you this day over nations and over kingdoms,
to pluck up and to break down,
to destroy and to overthrow,
to build and to plant.”

I'm not exactly in my youth anymore... but I still feel this applies to all of us.  If He is calling you to something, then He will provide everything you need... including the STRENGTH to overcome the fears!  

I was reading in the FERVENT book by Priscilla Shirer today about just this thing.

Fast forward from High School (waaaaay too many years ago) to now and I still don't like being the one to talk in front of a group.  So what does the Lord bring into my life??  An AMAZING dream job/ministry where I get to share the Love of Jesus with people in beautiful places!!  I LOVE IT!  It's so obvious that He is the one that brought this together where I get to blend so many things I am passionate about and share it with YOU!  But with that comes back my fear.  I'm in charge of organizing 20-30 people for a week... speaking many times a day to them.  Opening the week with them in a speech, morning devotions with them in the event room, sharing my testimony, teaching classes... 

But...

Here is a FACT:  "Fear is one of Satan's primary schemes to cripple God's people."  

"For God had not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind." 2 Timothy 1:7

See the Lord has BIG plans for you and me.  Your destiny.

He wants you to discover all that He has for you to do, and He says it over and over and over in His Word... Do NOT be AFRAID.  

"When I am afraid, I will put my trust in You.  In God, whose word I praise, In God I have put my trust; I shall not be afraid.  What can mere man do to me?" Psalm 56:3-4

So then who is telling you/us to BE afraid?

Oh yeah... the enemy.  Is he telling you,  "you CAN'T?"  or do you have lots of excuses piling up??  lots of fears that stop you?? or is he filling your mind with the reasons to not fulfill your dreams and the Lords will in your life?  Is he telling you to just GIVE UP...  It's not worth it.  Satan has every reason why he does NOT want you to fulfill the Lord's calling on your life.

Here's an excerpt from Chapter 6 and I want you to read it:

Chapter 6: YOUR FEARS. Confronting Your Worries, Claiming Your Calling.

"Hear me out, and hear me good.  I'm about to write a long, run-on sentence, but I want you hanging on every word:  If God has given you clear direction, like He gave the children of Israel - direction that's confirmed by His written Word and by the sounding board of wise, godly counsel - and your only real reason for resisting Him is because you're AFRAID of what following Him down this path might mean or cost or entail, then you're not only on the threshold of being disobedient, you're about to miss an opportunity to give God some fresh, new GLORY by doing what He's wanting to do THROUGH you, which is the true impetus behind His invitation for you to join Him on this scary adventure in the first place."

That's convicting isn't it?

The Lord gets that we are scared sometimes.  And I'm not talking about the scared when there is a big thunder storm or you just got in an accident.  The Lord understand that and is there for you in ALL situations!  He didn't tell us about fear and trust so many times for no reason...

It's the fear that the ENEMY gets into your head to stop you from your God DESIGNED path in life.  The fear of flying... (yes I have that) the fear of public speaking... (well you already know that about me) the fear that something might happen in a foreign country...  That's why the song Oceans by Hillsong brings me to tears almost every time... Yup, I have a list just like you probably do.

But, we have to PUSH THROUGH... or as Mark Batterson says: 

PRAY THROUGH

And prayer is honestly the answer to it all.  I really can't tell you enough how much prayer has changed my life.  I'm scared just like everyone else, but I KNOW that I KNOW that I KNOW that the Lord has a plan for each of us!  And in the plan for us, He gets to show us how great He is, His glory gets to shine forth for others to see!  It looks different for everyone, but those same fears are the enemies tools to destroy our calling...  

And we need to FIGHT those fears with prayer!

Psalm 32:8 says: "I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you."

I don't know about you but that REALLY gives me HOPE!  

By the way, this topic of fear came up because our middle daughter has a big speech coming up for her Senior Project and she is doing it on the Promises of God.  But she is so nervous about it.  (Brings back memories for some of us I'm sure...) She has such an outgoing personality, yet when it comes to speaking in a group setting, it scares her!  What's funny (maybe not so funny to her and she keeps asking me to stop praying for it ;) is that I know the Lord is going to use her in public speaking some day because she has been given a gift to speak.  She does a GREAT job at it!  So sometimes the things we fear the most are the things the Lord is testing us in and showing us that:

 OUR WEAKNESS is HIS STRENGTH.

So remember, if we realize that God is always there for us, that He is leading us and if we are on the right path and following the calling He has for our lives (remember Priscilla's words above?), then we have nothing to be afraid of!  

So next time you think about all those CANT'S...

Remember that YOU CAN, with Jesus by your side!

I LOVE this image I saw on Instagram this morning!!  

He did SO much for us... remember that as you face your fears today.  Don't be scared to move... Be scared NOT to.  The Lord has so much more for you than you can ever imagine!  Pray about what He is calling you to do and then step out in faith... BOLDLY.

Hugs,

Laura

P.S.  Just playing around in my journal with some white paint pens.  He MAKES a way... He always does.  

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