Sunday, August 19, 2012

Living Fearlessly

At the end of October, I will be going to a Women of Faith conference with a friend of mine. I was doing a bit of research on the speakers and looking into what they had written when I found Living Fearlessly by Sheila Walsh. It's one of her older books, written in 2001. It was the only book I could find available at the library so of course I had to get it!

But more than that, the title hit the nail on the head as far as what I needed to be reading. I have been feeling a lot of fear lately, for all sorts of things, most of which are unwarrented and out of my control. I find myself being a "worst case scenario" thinker all the time and with those thoughts comes a mind filled with anxiety and fear.

I'd like to say that Walsh's book has healed me, but you know that's not true. More than tell you how to live fearlessly she shares her own struggles with fear and uses the testimonies of others who have overcome the worst case scenarios and have a stronger love of God because of it.

The book is written in three sections: Telling the Truth, Facing Your Fears, and Finding His Peace.  She says that all fears stem from two main ideas: 1) Losing what we have or love and 2) Never receiving what we want most. I think that is so true. All of my fears are centered on one if not both of those things. 

Her last few chapters provide the perfect reminder of the hope we have in Christ. That the God we know and love is faithful . . . even if bad things happen. She talks about the faithful grace of God being the only thing that will get you through those worst case scenarios. 

And perhaps, even, its when you go through those bad things that you realized just how much the Lord is really there for you.  In all honesty, I hate that. I don't want to go through something awful just so I can be closer to God. Can't God be closer to me now, while I'm healthy and doing well? 

My heart was touched by the last few chapters, and I want to share three things that Walsh writes:

Here is the truth as I see it now about this life we are clued to life: It is painful. At times it is lonely. It's scary. It's unknown. But . . . But . . . Here in all his wonderful grace and glory stands stands God. He stands up in broken places. He stands up in broken people. He stands firm on bloodied feet. He stands among us.

Here's a quote she shares from Mother Teresa:

People are often unreasonable, illogical and self-centered; Forgive them anyway. 
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives; Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies; Succeed anyway.
If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you; Be honest and frank anyway.
What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight; Build anyway.
If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous; Be happy anyway. 
The good you do today; people will often forget tomorrow; Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough; 
Give the world the best you've got anyway.
You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and God; It was never between you and them anyway.

Walsh ends her book with a passage of scripture she has quoted several times and it is the best reminder of living fearlessly we can have:

The Lord is my light and my salvation -- whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life -- of whom call I be afraid?
--Psalm 27:1


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