The iniquities of the wicked ensnare him, and he is held fast in the cords of his sin. Proverbs 5:22
I don’t like drawing attention to myself.
I know that might sound strange coming from a woman who regularly speaks from a stage, but here’s the truth. I would never have chosen this path for myself. I prefer obscurity.
I’d rather live life far from any public eye, enjoying my family and loving people. But God had other designs for me when I said yes to Jesus’ invitation to “Follow Me.” It’s like one of our pastors said in his sermon on Sunday. “Following Jesus will inevitably lead you to places you’d never choose to go on your own.”
I’m living proof of that. Once I fell in love with Jesus, my desire to follow Him pushed me past some overwhelming fear. I determined that I would trust Him no matter what. So when He began to open doors for me to publicly teach His Word, I stepped through them—fighting through the nausea that told me to run the other way.
And I began to see Jesus work miracles every time I stepped up to a podium. Each time I taught His Word, God responded to my faith by showing up. His presence would push back the feelings fear had brought and overtake me with His peace. Not only that, but the people hearing the Word encountered Him too as He gave them new understanding of His truth. The grace poured out on me, marked them.
Now Jesus has conquered my fear in that area of ministry. I no longer fear public speaking. He set me free! But even when we’ve come so far with Him, His mercy will reveal places we have yet to go. And on Sunday morning in the middle of worship, He showed me one of those places.
While we were singing, I felt the Spirit well up inside of me, urging me to the front of the church.
I didn’t go. And I missed a blessing.
I hesitate even now to share the story. I’ve spent the last 18 years telling God that I’ll go wherever He sends me. And I believed I would. I’ve followed Him to churches and retreat centers all over the place. Yet when He sent me to the altar in my home church to lift my hands and proclaim my freedom in front of the congregation, my feet would not move.
…she is held fast in the cords of her sin. Proverbs 5:22
You see people don’t typically flood to the altar in my church. They stay in their seats. They worship in the safety of anonymity. But Jesus asked me to step from the crowd, walk boldly to the front alone, and raise my hands to Him in worship.
His prompting came in answer to my own prayers. Desperate to experience more of Him, I’ve been asking for bold faith—faith that moves me from my comfort to love the lost. You see, the podium—once my greatest fear—has become my safe place. I can share freely because the people I’m talking to have chosen to come and listen.
But what of the man sitting next to me on a plane? Or the waitress whose pained look reveals a burden? I find that I struggle to “impose myself” on someone who hasn’t invited me to help them.
But that’s not who Jesus is. He pursues the lost without shame. He extends Himself without invitation. He gives of Himself freely without fear of rejection—a fear I admit I’ve wrestled with most of my life.
And during Sunday morning worship, God provided an opportunity to follow Him. The lyrics we sang invited me to proclaim my deliverance. I’m no longer a slave to fear. I am a child of God. As I sang the words, I wanted to run to the front of the church and step into that freedom. But I couldn’t.
Apparently, sometimes I still live like a slave.Don't settle for old victories. Jesus has new ones for today. #livingfaithdoesn'tstaycomfortable Click To Tweet
I felt my heart beating faster as I hesitated, trying to discern if it was really Him prompting me to go. Then He whispered, “Walk with Me, child.” I knew He wanted me to put one foot in front of the other and walk out my faith to the front of that sanctuary. And I discovered the stronghold keeping me from living my full inheritance.
I fear how people will judge me. I worry what people might think. How will I follow Him to the lost if I can’t follow Him to the front of the church?
I’m like the woman with the issue of blood who sought Jesus for her healing. She slipped quietly through the crowd to touch the hem of His garment. Immediately, she felt her body heal and retreated into the crowd.
She wanted miracles, but she preferred anonymity. Still, Jesus challenged her to reveal herself.
And Jesus said, “Who was it that touched me?” When all denied it, Peter said, “Master, the crowds surround you and are pressing in on you!” But Jesus said, “Someone touched me, for I perceive that power has gone out from me.” Luke 8:45-46
Jesus’ question intrigues me. He knew exactly who touched Him. Scripture reveals that Jesus knows the thoughts of men. He certainly knew hers. And still, He asked the question.
And when the woman saw that she was not hidden, she came trembling, and falling down before him declared in the presence of all the people why she had touched him, and how she had been immediately healed. And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace.” Luke 8:47-48
Beloved, sometimes we can experience miracles but still carry our shame. We prefer not to expose ourselves to people, because the enemy of our souls has convinced us it’s safer in the darkness.
But Jesus dwells in the light, dear one. If we want to shine as light in the world, we’re going to have to trust Him and leave the shadows. Darkness might be comfortable, but it’s bondage.
And Jesus love us too much to leave us there.
Father, forgive me for letting my comfort keep me from obedience. You are worth everything! I thank You for Your new mercies every day. Thank You for revealing the source of my fear. I confess my fear of judgment, and leave it at the cross. Empower me to walk boldly with You wherever You call me to go. Help me to love You and love people more than I love my own comfort. Help me to give freely to You and others without shame. You deserve more than I have offered You. People need to see You in me. Thank You for loving me perfectly. Amen.