December 9, 2014

How to Overcome Fear With Joy

Our first son is due this Saturday and to say I'm excited is an understatement.

But...

I'm also REALLY nervous.

I know, I know. This is very normal. I keep asking myself questions like...

  • Will the delivery go okay?
  • Will he be healthy?
  • Will I have any clue what I'm doing at all?
  • Will I be able to feed him like I want to?
  • Will I be a competent mother?

And on and on they go...

It's enough to drive a pregnant woman crazy.

And then there's the matter of the weeks and months and years BEYOND his birth. How will my husband and I shape and mold him? How will we walk through potentially dark times? What if something horrible happens to him?

So yeah. I've been fairly eaten up with worry and fear.

But then...God reminded me of something. I've been reading Ann Voskamp's One Thousand Gifts off and on for the last several months. The book and devotional very heavily revolve around the concept of thanks -- and giving it regardless of circumstances. It talks a lot about worry, stress, and fear too.

And from that book I've drawn this truth: That a lot of times, I'm so busy letting worry fill me up that I leave no room for joy.

Whoa. I don't know about you, but that truth smacks me between the eyes. Because the fact that I'm having a baby -- especially when so many friends I know have lost babies and/or have struggled to get pregnant -- is a MIRACLE. A blessing.

A joy. Pure, unadulterated joy.

So why, oh why, should I let that joy be overshadowed -- be snuffed out for lack of room -- by something as awful and soul-sucking as worry?!! Especially when worry does absolutely nothing? I have no control over what happens. God obviously does, and that's where trust comes in.

But joy...joy can do SO MUCH GOOD in my life.

It testifies to the world who I am in Christ. What I have, even if things aren't going the way I wanted them to.

And you know what? It's a choice. How many times have I made the excuse, "I'm just a worrier by nature"?? Too many.

Instead, today, in this season -- in every season -- I want to strive to trade my worry in for joy. If there's only enough room in me, in my life, for one of them, I want JOY to radiate through.

Your Turn: How do you overcome your worries and fears? Do you think it's possible to choose joy?

**Given the fact I'll be having a baby any day now, my posts for the next month or so will likely be sporadic. I'll miss you, but please have grace and be patient with me as I navigate the new waters of motherhood!

December 2, 2014

One Word 2015: Clay

A lot of people pick New Year's resolutions to follow each year. Those are all well and good, but they tend to not work for me. I much prefer to select one word to focus on.

The last few years, I've done this and enjoyed looking back at the results. Two years ago, I selected the word "Rejoice." And in reflecting on 2013, I realized how much God gave me to rejoice in.

Last year, I selected the word "Lean" for 2014. And it's definitely been a year of learning to lean on the Lord in both my professional and personal life.

First, I submitted and revised -- and revised again -- my book for publication. This takes a lot of courage and generally can come with a lot of questioning and self-doubt (fellow writers will back me up on this!). I had to lean on God a lot to get me through that and trust He would help me to do my absolute best.

Second, I got pregnant. I've known a lot of friends who have miscarried, and the fear has been paramount in my mind. Even now as I'm weeks away from delivering our first child, I have to lean on God and put any worrisome thoughts from my mind. It's a choice -- and I'm choosing to lean on Him, come what may.

In thinking about what's coming up in 2015, the words "flexible" and "molded" kept coming to my mind. I know that sooooo much is about to change in my life: namely, I'm going to become a mother, which means I'll have to start juggling that role with being a wife, a part-time employee, an author, an online instructor, and much more.

That means there will be a lot of opportunity to make choices between selfishness and selflessness, between getting done what I wanted to and getting done only what I CAN do. Time will be limited and time will fly by. I don't want to miss a moment of my little guy's life or chances to be there for him. But I also want to keep advancing in my career and the goals I have for my life.

Essentially, it's going to be quite the balancing act. And I need some guidance.

I've been meditating on this verse lately:

"Yet You, Lord, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand." (Isaiah 64:8)

So, my One Word for 2015 is CLAY.

When I'm confused about what path to follow or tempted to be selfish with my time, I want my focus -- especially this year -- to be on asking the Lord what HE would have me do. After all, He's the potter. He knows who He wants me to be.

I just have to be willing to listen.

And when I do, I'll be the most beautiful pot I can be -- even if that pot looks nothing like I thought it would when I made up my goals and to-do list.

What about you? Do you have a word for 2015 or a New Year's resolution you're determined to follow? 

*Photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net