Don’t you know it … I went to pick up some dinner tonight by myself and on the way home, with the windows down this song came on. Once again, flooding my face, tears came down…hard. I thought for sure someone had hijacked my brain and put it to music.

(Ginny Owens from the album Blueprint)

Turning molehills into mountains, Making big deals out of small ones,
Bearing gifts as if they’re burdens, This is how it’s been.
Fear of coming out of my shell, Too many things I can’t do too well,
Afraid I’ll try real hard and I’ll fail – This is how it’s been.
Till the day you pounded on my heart’s door,
And you shouted joyfully,
“You’re not a slave anymore”

You’re free to dance-
Forget about your two left feet
And you’re free to sing-
Even joyful noise is music to me
and you’re free to love,
Cause I’ve given you My love,
and it’s made you free

My mind finds hard to believe That You became humanity
and changed the course of history, Because You loved me so.
And my heart cannot understand Why You’d accept me as I am,
But You say You’ve always had a plan, And that’s all I need to know.
So when I am consumed by what the world will say,
It’s then You’re singing to me, As you remove my chains

Free from worry, free from envy and denial
Free to live, free to give, free to smile

Maybe I just needed that reminder today that I am not destined to live fearfully or in the shell of who I used to be. For so many years I have lived in fear of criticism. I had put a shield up around me so that what was happening inside, was hopefully not evident on the out. I think maybe that most people do this to some extent, but no one posts a sign in their yard declaring all the baggage of the folks who live there. I tried to hide and stuff and bury things for so long – I am finally making progress toward putting these things aside and moving forward, knowing full well what I’ve come through – but the key for me is, sharing it without fear. Fear of Criticism. Fear of funny looks, or questions, or awkwardness. Fear of the Truth.

A year ago this week, I nervously called Financial Peace University to request information. A lady answered the phone who immediately put me at ease. I knew instantly she would be my friend. (I thought it was crazy that I wanted to be her friend and she could be in a call-center for all I knew in another country for that matter, but there was an instant connection. The Lord does that for us in the most amazing of ways…) I didn’t fear Lee Ann’s judgement because she was a stranger that first day, but I also knew she would have none for me – that alone propelled me forward. The FPU Class scared me only because in order to have people sign up, we had to talk about it and then I was afraid people might judge me if they knew more than surface facts about me. yes – I feared their criticism. What they might say on the way home. What they might be thinking when they were nodding and smiling at me.

The truth is, as I started working through my own issues with money – I started working through my issues with other ugly things – the ones I hoped I had tried to hide both past & then-present like depression, fear & panic attacks, materialism, bulimia and anger. That was the ‘more’ in the ‘more than I bargained for’ of this class. It was not just financial, but also spiritual and emotional. Sometime soon, I will blog about getting ‘gazelle’ with one of the things I loved most. It will pull together the spiritual and emotional part and put a pretty bow on it for you…

So healing came from resisting the fear of criticism and moving on through it regardless. It was a victory for me. One of the most personal, private struggles of my life – revolves around money – and I had to co-lead the class that was going to challenge and gradually change that. There’s a crowder song with a line that says “You use the weak to lead the strong” and that’s totally how I felt. 100% accurate. I was so emotionally and mentally drained I could have snapped at any moment – and without fail, every Tuesday, the Lord would give me the strength and the excitement and the fire to get through the class.

I don’t often feel speechless in a room of people I’m comfortable with, but at our last FPU Class, our classmates – our friends – presented us with such wonderfully thoughtful gift certificates redeemable for their time – dinner, babysitting – and cards, some thanking us for our obedience to the Lord, to start the class – To make the call. I keep those cards close to me where I can see them. It is a prime reminder that I can’t live in fear of criticism. These friends were grateful that I didn’t, and I can’t imagine what we might have all missed out on, had I stuffed and denied it. Which makes me wonder, how often do we miss an opportunity because we are afraid of something?

Over the course of the FPU Class and all the preparation the weeks before it and the follow up after, Lee Ann and I became friends. What a cherished friendship we have! Now I get to see her, nearly every week, even if just for a few minutes and a hug.

As a P.S., We have paid off over $32,500 since starting FPU last August 16, 2005. Not only that, but we are a cash-only family (which looks a little strange to those who haven’t seen us in over a year!)

The moral of my blog is: Live fearlessly. We do not serve a God of fear. If you rest in Him, he will carry you through.


~ by hthr on July 2, 2006.

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