Facing my fear, this is my story of how I came to be here.
After writing about Gideon and how God used him just as he was and in spite of his fears, I was challenged by a reader to embrace vulnerability and write about my own fears. This, incidentally, happens to be the heart of my terror.
I am generally a quiet person who mostly prefers to stay out of the spotlight. It was my dream to rescue abandoned teenagers and runaways, give them a safe place to call home and an education to help keep them off the streets. In Atlanta, I had the opportunity to work in a children’s shelter. It looked like my desire would be fulfilled. And it was, for a time. But God had other ideas.
I had only worked at the shelter for a year, when my husband had a job offer to move across the country to Phoenix, Arizona. I knew immediately that this was where God wanted us. It was a difficult move but I quickly got a job at a new boy’s home. Again I was back on track, everything would be ok. Then, on September 11, 2001, two airplanes were flown into the twin towers of the World Trade Center. The nation was thrown into chaos. I had only worked half a day. We lost our funding, without ever opening our doors.
I was pregnant with our first child and it was a tough time to get a job. I never went back to work. It was a difficult adjustment. I felt useless and I didn’t understand why God had me here. I went to the mountains in an effort to escape the heat and get out of the desert. I took a walk with God and tearfully asked him what he wanted from me. He told me, and it wasn’t what I wanted to hear. I distinctly felt like there was something he wanted me to learn and something he wanted me to do. That was fine. It was the last part that petrified me. I was to open my mouth and share my life with others. He wanted me to open up about his work in my life and pass on the things I knew about him. I wasn’t interested. Up until this point I had always felt my relationship with God was a private matter between him and me. My personal life was no one’s business but mine. I really hoped that it was my imagination and not the Holy Spirit putting such ideas in my head. I prayed that I was wrong, and insisted there was a mistake.
Not only do I not like to open up to people, but sometimes I have an inexplicable fear of them. There are times when I can walk into a room full of strangers and start up a conversation with someone, but there are also times when I am too afraid to walk into a room of friendly faces. I have no problem sitting in front of a group of kids to teach them a Sunday school lesson. But I can go to a church event, where I know almost everyone, and not find the courage to go in. I will avoid people I know for fear of talking to them, even if we’d had a conversation the week before. Yes, it’s sad but true, and I know it's irrational. Just talking to people is hard enough, the idea of sharing my life with them is downright scary.
Thankfully God is gracious and never gives us more than we can handle. He has taken the time to bring me out of my shell slowly, one step at a time. He also has reassured me that he will give me everything I need to do the work he has for me. I take great comfort in Ephesians 2:10 “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Knowing that he has prepared everything for me in advance is very reassuring. So step by step I am slowly changing into the person he wants me to be.
I believe that my time here on hub pages is a part of that process. I feel vulnerable putting my words out there for everyone to see. I worry about what you might think of me, or wonder if I am explaining myself clearly. I fear boring you or offending you. I am afraid of releasing my words, but discouraged when they are not read. Other times I read what I wrote, and I’m glad no one read them. That is why the story of Gideon touched my heart so much. God reminded me that it doesn’t matter if I’m good enough. What is important is that I am trying my best to obey him, and when he is beside me that is all I need to do. He will take care of the rest.