Are You Fearful of Success

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Why is it that Christians are so quick to judge the successful? What, exactly, is it that they’re afraid of?

I first noticed this as a teenager. Why was it that the smaller churches were often openly critical about larger ones? They would accuse them of attracting large numbers because they were only saying what people wanted to hear, that they weren’t preaching the gospel, and at times, that the leadership weren’t even Christians.

And yet, when you questioned anyone about this, they would never have any evidence to back up their claims. Instead of being thankful that churches were growing; instead of being encouraged; instead of assuming this was happening because people were actually going out and telling other people about Jesus, they just had to believe it was something far more sinister. Because, after all, if they weren’t experiencing success, what right did anyone else have to it!

Unfortunately this idea isn’t just limited to church growth. When people are doing well, others are quick to criticise.

And I’ll admit it: I’ve joined in with this thinking as well. After all isn’t the Christian life supposed to be the hard option? The heavy cross and the narrow road?

How can these concepts that are drummed into our heads right from our Sunday School days ever fit with the idea of being successful? How can we remain humble and yet experience success?

For so many years I had failed to grasp that God actually wants us to do well. He commands us to try our hardest, and he even rejoices with us in our successes.

I was like that man in the parable of the talents. The one who, when his master left him with money, buried it. Too afraid to use it. Too afraid to invest, and when his master returned, had to explain why he hadn’t done the best with what he had been given.

And still I tell myself that not trying is the best option, that hiding is the best option. That it’s the most humble option. But It’s not. It’s false humility. And false humility is really just fear in disguise.

God  gave us our gifts and talents so that we could use them, not bury them. And if has given us what it takes to become successful, he will give us everything we need to handle that success. And if we don’t succeed, he will give us everything we need to handle that as well.

Are you afraid of success? Why?

Is there something that you are too afraid to try your hardest at?

24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. 25 Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. (1 Corninthians 9: 24-25)

When You’re not First Choice

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When I was in school, like a lot of girls, I dreaded PE lessons. It wasn’t because I had to wear shorts outside, even when there was frost on the ground; or because of having to get changed in front of classmates at the age where you feel the most uncomfortable in your own skin; or because of having to run cross-country, even outside of the school grounds!

No, the reason I dreaded PE lessons was because of “choosing teams”. Whenever we played net ball or rounders, the most sporty girls would be chosen to pick the teams.

Right now I can imagine there are two types of people reading this. Those who don’t get what I was worried about. (Those were the sporty girls!) And the ones like me. The ones who never got to pick the teams. The ones who were never chosen first, and were often one of the very last to be picked.

I’m sure the girls who were like me can relate to the sick feeling of worry. Will I be the last person to be picked, again? Will I be the one that no one wants on their team (again)? Then more and more of your friends are chosen and you realise that no one really wants you on their team.

I want to tell you today that you are chosen.

And not just because you were the last option. Not just because the choice was between you and the girl with a broken arm who couldn’t even throw or catch a ball if she wanted to.

God wants you on his team. You are not just the left overs, that he was stuck with. You were his first choice.

But it doesn’t end there. Being chosen is a privilege and a responsibility. Because you are chosen God has a purpose for your life, one that is so much greater than you could ever imagine.

You did not choose me; I chose you and appointed you to go and bear much fruit, the kind of fruit that endures. And so the Father will give you whatever you ask of him in my name. (John 15:16)

 

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.(Ephesians 2:10)

 

A Basket-Full of Worries

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This is a story I wrote a while ago about letting go of our worries.

She was tired. She had been walking down this road for a long time. How long? She couldn’t be sure, which in itself was quite worrying. But what was confusing her most was that now she seemed to be carrying a basket.

She definitely didn’t have a basket in her hand a couple of minutes ago. Where had it come from?  As she looked at the basket she realised it was full of stones.

As she continued walking, she became aware of footsteps beside her. It was a man. “You look worn out,” he said. “Maybe we should stop beside that tree and have a rest.”

She should have been surprised, but wasn’t. She recognised his voice. It was one she had heard in her childhood, when she felt scared. She hadn’t heard it for a long time, though. Something about the man made her feel safe, so she agreed to rest with him.

When they reached the tree, the man turned to her. “What’s in your basket?” He asked.

“Just some stones,” she replied, feeling foolish.

“I can carry them for you,” he said.

She was about to agree. But then she looked down at the basket. The stones really were beautiful she thought.

As she picked one up, a picture of her home appeared on it.

“Let me take that stone from you.” Said the man, lovingly.

“No, this is important, it’s my house.”

“Give it to me. Your burden will be lighter.” His voice was kind, and she trusted him, but she was scared.

She thought of the time she had spent choosing things for the house and decorating it; making it beautiful for her family.

“You do not need to worry about where you live, I will provide you everything you need. I will be your home now, forever.”

It was hard, but she handed the stone to the man. She felt lighter.

She picked up the next stone, on it appeared a picture of the place where she worked.

“I can take that one form you as well,” said the man. “Your burden will be lighter.”

She thought about her work, she always felt so important and in control when she was there.

“Trust me. You no longer need to find your worth in the work that you do. You can find your worth in me.”

It was hard but she handed the stone to him. Again, she felt lighter.

That evening, as the sun was setting, she handed many stones to him. Soon there were only two left in the basket.

She picked one up. On it appeared a picture of her family. She could not possibly give this stone to the man.

“What’s on that stone?” Asked the man, although she sensed he already knew the answer.

She felt tears running down her cheeks. “It’s my family, I can’t give you my family.”

The man said their names. “You can trust me, I know them and I love them too. Give them to me and I will take care of them too, I will keep hold of them. You do not need to be afraid.”

With pain like she had never felt before she handed him the stone. She really did trust him, and knew that he would take better care of them than she ever could.

“This last stone is the hardest one,” said the man. As she picked it up she a picture of her heart appeared on it. “Give me your heart, and I will give you a new one.”

She felt her blood pumping through her body. How could she give him her heart? But she trusted him.

“Allright,” she said, expecting to feel pain, like she did with the last stone. She didn’t. She felt joy like she had never felt before. She felt free.

“You are my child now,” said the man, taking hold of her hand. “I will never let you go.”

Suddenly a spring appeared next to to them.

“You are thirsty,” said them man. “Go and take a drink.”

The water was the sweetest thing she had tasted. It was like she had been thirsty her whole life, but just hadn’t realised it.

The man spoke to her again. “You need to continue your journey. You won’t see me for a while, but I will always be with you. You do not need to be afraid of anything.”