Fear or Faith– Part One
Melanie Chitwood

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love and self-discipline.” 2 Timothy 1:7 (NLT)

When we read about God telling Moses to lead His people out of slavery in Egypt, we might expect a man of such great faith to respond, I’m on it, God! I know that as long as You are with me, we can do this!

That was not, however, Moses’ response. Moses’ first response is found in Exodus 3:11: “But Moses protested to God, ‘Who am I to appear before Pharaoh? Who am I to lead the people of Israel out of Egypt?’” (NAS). Then Moses continues to argue with God about his assignment, trying to convince God that in no way is he qualified.

I’m so glad that God included in Scripture a record of Moses missteps, for his response is one I can relate to. You see, just like Moses, I have often responded with fear instead of faith.

About four years ago, God began to awake in me a desire to write more seriously. At the same time, I also sensed that God wanted me to do something else that seemed crazy for me - I sensed that God wanted me to start speaking to women about Him. I had been an English major, so writing has always been something I love. However, speaking was way out of my comfort zone. In fact, the thought of being a speaker completely terrified me.

Meanwhile, I had signed up to go the Proverbs 31 She Speaks conference on the writers’ track. This conference for writers, speakers, and women’s ministry leaders was one I was really looking forward to, for I knew I’d receive inspiration and skills to help me in the calling God was stirring in me. I was going with a friend, who had signed up for the speakers’ track, and as I observed her nervousness about speaking, I was secretly relieved that I wasn’t going to have to speak at the conference!

A couple of weeks before the conference I was reading my Bible when the Holy Spirit caused some words to leap off the page and into my heart. I read Deuteronomy 2, verses 3 and 7: “You have circled this mountain long enough. Now turn north . . . For the Lord your God has blessed you in all that you have done; He has known your wonderings through this great wilderness. These forty years the Lord your God has been with you; you have not lacked a thing” (NAS).

First, the words “you have circled this mountain long enough,” stood out. God said this to the Israelites after they had been wandering way too long in the wilderness. God was saying to them that it was finally time for them to go to the Promised Land. And I sensed God saying the same thing to me. I had been circling the mountain of fears and insecurities for way too long. God had an assignment for me, and I had a choice to make.

Secondly, the words “forty years” leaped off the page, as I was forty-years-old as I was reading these verses. I was comforted knowing that God had provided all I’d needed up to this point in my life and would continue to be with me as I stepped out in faith instead of fear.

God was calling me to some new things. Maybe God is doing the same thing in your life. Maybe you’ve tried to ignore what He wants you to do. Maybe you’ve offered up excuses and rationalizations. Maybe like me, you’ve chosen fear instead of faith. Maybe it’s time to stop circling the mountain.

Dear Lord, I want to be a woman who joins You in faith, not a woman who misses out because of fear. Show me where I’ve sinned by walking by sight instead of by faith. Make me bold and brave in You and for You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
What a Husband Needs from His Wife by Melanie Chitwood

What Happens When Women Say Yes to God by Lysa TerKeurst

For the Write Reason, Marybeth Whalen, General Editor

Application Steps:
Ask God to show you which mountains He wants you to stop circling. The mountain of fear? Perfectionism? People pleasing? Unforgiveness? Doubt? Discontent? Addiction?

Copy one of the verses from today’s devotion and carry it with you wherever you go. Fill your mind with God’s truth by repeating the verse over and over.

Sign up for the Proverbs 31 She Speaks Conference

Reflections:
Do you think that you’ve missed out on God’s plans for you because you’ve been fearful?

Is there any of bondage you’re in that’s causing you to miss out on God’s plan for you?

Is there an area of your life where you’re afraid to trust God?

Power Verses:
2 Corinthians 5:7, “For we walk by faith, not by sight.” (NAS)

Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” (NAS)

Psalm 112: 7a, “His heart is steadfast trusting in the Lord.” (NAS)

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4 Comments:

Blogger Pam Anderson said...

Dear Melanie,

My friend, Michelle, just e-mailed me with this website today. We experienced a mountain top high when we realized that God definately orchestrated this...Your writing this article and my reading it. This could have been addressed directly to me. You see, I am writing a book on this very topic -- What it means to experience God's joy, share it with others by answering God's calling and stepping out of your comfort zone realizing how blessed you were to be used by God. What I am learning? God supplies you with all you need to accoplish the task and you and I are just the vessels He uses to further His Kingdom. This puts such a smile on my face. I, too, put pen to paper when I was 40 last year. God has brought me from this scared women in 2003 who joined a Bible Study for the very first time to leading a First Place Group/Bible Study since the beginning of 2004 to writing this book. Now, God again has taken me out of my comfort zone calling me to speak at our Women's Retreat on October 13. I am terrified!@ God has been preparing me by calling me to speak at three funerals for very close relatives all in the last two years. When I was finished each time, I realized it was all of Him and none of me up there. I was the messenger and the message was what He was teaching me through His Word. He equipped me. Your article was perfect timing. I will print it out and re-read it MANY times as well as the Scriptures over the summer as I am writing and preparing for the retreat. I will also be praying for a way to be able to attend the "She Speaks Conference." We budget everything. I have learned to trust God to do the impossible. If He wants me at the retreat next year, He will place ways to earn the money in my path. I am just smiling. Thank you for answering your call to write this, because I believe God used you to speak to my heart today on many levels. God is so good! I hope this finds you smiling as well...a double (no my friend included)...a triple blessing. Praise God and all glory and honor go to Him!

Pam Anderson

Anonymous Heather Cox said...

Melanie,
Thank you for sharing honestly how fear can keep us from following God's plans for our lives. He is calling each of us to step out in faith and leave the fear of failure behind us! My story is the opposite of yours. I was in speech and debate in school, so speaking has never been a fear of mine. However, putting a pen to paper and sending out my writing to publishers who will likely reject it has left me shaking in my boots! The very fact that fear is present tells me that Satan is at work. Fear is his tool to keep me and you from accomplishing God's work and living in obedience. But God is not the author of fear and I am reminded that there is no fear in perfect love. Thanks again for the encouragement. Heather

Blogger cheleskilove said...

i needed this. we are in the midst of 'selling' i mean 'showing' our house-since January and we must move 6/22 to a rental out of town. no bids. no buyers. kids. im exhausted. what to do? ive gone through waves of fear. now im walking in faith, moving fwd with confidence. not wavering-yet, not seeing the end of the tunnel. hard place to be when you are type A(laughing).thanks for letting GOD express through you the very real choice we have of fear or faith.

Anonymous Debbie said...

Dear Melanie,
I just wanted to take a minute to thank you for your message on "Fear or Faith". It spoke so clearly to me. A few years ago, God called me to speak and write, however, I've been absolutely crippled with fear. The fear has been so great that I even ran from the Lord. No, I didn't quit church or go off the deep end, but I didn't talk to Him as much. I even tried to go down a different career path to escape His call on my life. Don't get me wrong, I am really not afraid of actually speaking in front of people. I have been in drama ministry for years and love being in front of an audience. My fears have stemmed from not really knowing how to get started. I've never been to bible college and have no college degree. What I have is real life experience. I've been married for 22 years. I have 6 kids, three adopted girls and three biological boys. One of my girls is autistic and ADHD. I grew up in a home with a special needs sister. My childhood home was disfunctional to say the least. I am a survivor. I know pain, but more so, I know freedom. I know that God has called me to set the captives free. I don't know how He's going to use me, but I am now surrendered to His plan for me...even if I am still shaking in my boots. I will press on. I don't know where to begin, how to get started, but for now I will just stay surrendered. I'm writing more and more and I know that one day the door will open for me to share what He has given to me to speak. God bless you, Melanie. Keep speaking what God has laid on your heart. When you chose to conquer your fear, you've given me the strength to conquer mine. May God continue to bless you for His glory.

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