PASTOR RICK'S BLOG  

I believe God calls us to go to places that frighten us so that we will fully trust him. THE ONLY WAY FOR YOU TO SEE GOD DO THE KINDS OF THINGS HE DESIRES TO DO IN AND THROUGH YOU IS TO RUN TOWARD THE ROAR AGAIN AND AGAIN AND AGAIN. What I mean is to face your fear. Face whatever is bothering you. Be real. Be totally honest with God and yourself.

I see this tenacity of spirit in the life of young David. When he confronted Goliath in the valley of Elah, he didn’t walk to face the nine-foot giant who was spewing out death threats against him. He ran: “So it was, when the Philistine arose and came and drew near to meet David, that David hurried and ran toward the army to meet the Philistine” (1 Samuel 17: 48).

 It’s incredible that David was willing to fight Goliath at all. The fact that he sprinted toward what seemed like certain death is astounding. He killed the giant in the end, but first he had to run toward the very thing that terrified him the most.

What in your life are you being called to right now? Is it to stay at your job, move to another city, start a new ministry. Maybe you are supposed to go back to school and become a nurse of maybe just stay at home and home school your kids or it could be to break off a harmful relationship. Maybe you are facing a major financial storm or quite possibly your passion for God is waning.

I can’t tell you what God’s will for your life is. There is no magic map. All I can tell you is that you must not let fear play a part in your decision making. You can’t ignore fear, but you don’t have to let it control you. I guarantee you David’s pulse was racing a mile a minute and everything in him urged him to retreat, but he still ran toward the giant. True bravery isn’t feeling no fear— it’s being afraid and moving forward anyway.

I know this for sure: Turning your back on the roar will feel good in the moment. If you quit and give up now you will feel a euphoric giddiness once you have put some distance between yourself and your issues. But hiding in the thicket, far from the sound of the wild calling you are meant to pursue, is a far more sinister opponent you didn’t even know was there: death. The death of the dreams God planted deep down inside you.

The death of the life you were born to live. Like a slow leak in your tire that saps your ability to drive your car, you will have robbed yourself of the opportunity to stare down something that scared you.

Listen up!  If you live this way long enough, and the muscles of your faith will eventually go dormant.

To quote the immortal William Wallace from the movie Braveheart, “Aye, fight and you may die. Run, and you’ll live . . . at least a while. And dying in your beds, many years from now, would you be willin’ to trade all the days, from this day to that, for one chance, just one chance, to come back here and tell our enemies that they may take our lives, but they’ll never take . . . our freedom!

 Yes, running toward the roar can be excruciating, and there are no guarantees. It’s also possible to misjudge the direction of the roar you are trying to run toward. It could be a dead end. When you live a life of faith, there are going to be questions that have no answers, because for there to be faith, there has to be mystery. That’s just life in the deep end.

It would be nice if we could have the safety of the shore and the potential of the open ocean at the same time, but that’s not how it works. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. If you want to catch fish you have to launch out where the fish live.

Often what keeps us in the shallows is our fear of failure. Know this: not only is failure not a bad thing— it is a necessary thing. The only way to get to victory is to be willing to make mistakes on the way there. True overnight successes are rare. Far more often, you must keep showing up, day in and day out, until the hard, unglamorous work adds up and pays off.

It’s easy to misunderstand what you are seeing when you look at people taking a victory lap or receiving attention or promotion. Their celebration is only the tip of the iceberg. Invisible to your eye is what’s underwater— the hell they went through on the road to success.

I recently read a powerful story about Kristen Anderson-Lopez. She, along with her husband, Robert, wrote the song “Let It Go” from Disney’s Frozen. It won an Oscar for the best song in a motion picture in 2013. It’s so good that it changed the course of the movie: Apparently Elsa, the character in the movie who freezes everything, was originally going to stay bad. The slot where “Let It

Go” fits into the movie was going to have a liberated and evil Elsa singing a song that was dubbed in the story outline as “Elsa’s Badass Song.” But when the directors heard “Let It Go” they were so moved that they rewrote everything so Elsa could be redeemed. Kristen also wrote seventeen songs that weren’t included in the movie. Seventeen times her songs weren’t right. Seventeen times she heard “no.” Most of us would consider ourselves colossal failures if we were shut down five or six times. It would be difficult to keep pressing full steam ahead after being rejected a dozen times. But she continued writing and creating and inventing and putting herself out there seventeen times. Let that sink in. Songs #1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, and 17 weren’t good enough for the movie. Attempt number 18 was a different story.

This time the movie, as it was currently written, wasn’t good enough for the song.  The point is that to envy someone’s success is to completely misunderstand the nature of it. To covet the limelight and the accolades is to focus on the wrong thing. Yes, there are those who are given every advantage and people who are raised with silver spoons in their mouths, but far more often the recipe for success is simple and unpleasant.

 You persevere through difficulty, bad ideas, bad days, and bitterness again and again and again, until something clicks. It’s not sexy, but it’s true.

What you are willing to do in secret is so often responsible for what happens in public. It would be nice to crank out a hit on your first attempt, but those unlucky enough to do so often end up unable to replicate their accidental success. Far better to be okay with writing some duds and, as the plucky Dory says in Finding Nemo, “just keep swimming.”

Perhaps for you running toward the roar isn’t about something you’re supposed to do but rather something difficult you have to go through: Sometimes there is no other alternative but to face it.

When you have no alternative but to endure something you are afraid of, you can still exhibit bravery. It has everything to do with your attitude and outlook. Regardless of your job description; you are a warrior.

Listen, whatever it is that keeps you from moving forward it does not scare God.

WILL YOU TRUST WHAT YOU CAN SEE IS THERE, OR BELIEVE WHAT GOD SAYS IS THERE?

“So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever” (2 Corinthians 4: 18 NLT).

God isn’t scared of what you’re scared of. But you don’t have to pretend like you’re not frightened. Naming your fear is part of getting through it. It’s also important to remember that Immanuel means “God with us.” Jesus is with you. You are never alone. Whisper to him, “I know you’re here” when you find yourself trembling and wanting to quit.

GOD ISN’T SCARED OF WHAT YOU’RE SCARED OF.

Peace,

Pastor Rick

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