In Chapter One of the Limitless Life, Derwin Gray writes about the “Afraid Label.” I have often worn the “afraid” label. As a teenager, I never felt pretty so I was afraid I would never have a boyfriend. Yet at the tender age of seventeen, I fell in love and was married at the age of eighteen. As a young woman, I had migraine headaches and I was afraid I would never be free of migraines. Yet, in 1994, God answered my prayers and I no longer have migraines. Because I lost my job due to the headaches, God opened the doors for me to go to college, but I was afraid of failing. Yet after completing my medical assistant certificate, I faced my fears of not succeeding and became a nurse. When I became a nurse, I had fears such as harming a patient. Yet I have been a nurse since 1989 and God has given me wisdom in my job as a nurse. When I became a manager, I had the fear of settling conflict. Yet as a manager, with the help of the Lord, I have been effective in conflict resolution. Today, I give my day to the Lord as a nurse and I am able to offer the love of Jesus to many patients.
Mr. Gray writes about Israel’s fear of the Philistines and a brutal giant named Goliath. Goliath evoked fear among the Israelites as he taunted them daily. I did not realize that in the ancient days, wars were sometimes settled when the champions from rival armies fought to the death of the other. When David chose to fight, he believed he would be victorious because of God. In my life I have faced many giants, my valley of sheep, was learning that God is faithful and does help us overcome obstacles. Much of my adult life, I have suffered with pain emotional and physical. Yet Psalm 103:4 -5 promises, “Who redeems your life from the pit; Who crowns you with loving-kindness and compassion: Who satisfies your years with good things, so that your youth is renewed like the eagle.” This verse describes what God has done in my life.
In 1984, I was afraid of a giant called ‘migraine’. This was my Valley of the Sheep. Migraines changed my daily life and I feared I would always have pain. From 1986 to 1994, I made the choice everyday to get up and put one foot in front of the other and I faced the giant called pain with the Lord as I gave him my pain day by day. During this time, I returned to college obtaining my certificate as a medical assistant, I completed my associate’s degree for nursing and passed the state board so I could practice as a registered nurse. In 1994 after sinus surgery, I noticed my headaches were gone. Today, I still have headaches but the migraines I had from 1977 to 1994 are gone. I love the promise in Isaiah 40:31: “Yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary.”
I loved what Mr. Gray wrote, “God has a stunning vision for your life, but if He showed it all at once, it would be too much to handle. In His grace he gives you small glimpses.” My ministry at church is helping women find freedom in Christ. Neil Anderson writes in the Steps To Freedom, “Fear is a God-given natural response when our physical or psychological safety is threatened. Courage is not the absence of fear, but it is living by faith, and doing what is right in the face of illegitimate fear objects. The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom and the only fear that can overcome all other fears. Irrational fears compel us to live irresponsible lives or prevent us from doing that which is responsible and from being good witnesses. Behind every irrational fear is a lie that must be identified.”
The afraid label has often stopped me from stepping out in faith. Today, I have left behind the, “Afraid Label” and I wear a label of “Courage.” I love to do acrostics, the acrostic for “Courage” is Called, Obedience, United with God, Radiant, Adored by God, Grace adorned, Eternally His. Deuteronomy 30:20A “by loving the Lord your God, by obeying His voice, and by holding fast to Him; for this is your life and the length of your days.”
What Giants are you facing? What is your ‘valley of sheep’? What lies are you believing that are contributing to your fears? Will you name the lie you are believing, renounce your fear, and believe what God says about you that you are fearfully and wonderfully made. Psalm 139:14
Father God, I pray today as I faced my fears and put one foot in front of the other that you will be with the woman or man who is reading Limitless Life, I ask that they find the freedom that you wish, that they face their giant, just as David. Give them victory as you did the Israelites. Lord for the person who is in the valley of sheep, let her or him rely on you, your protection, your presence, and your provisions. Let each one know that you will defeat the giant just as you did for David.
Galatians 5:1 It was for freedom that Christ has set us free, therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to the yoke of slavery.”