In facing fears and learning to tackle them, one thing that's extremely important is learning how to distinguish between the negative voices in your head and the voice of God.
Maybe it's just me, but most days I'm guided throughout the day by a series of voices that shape my decisions, actions, and thoughts. Sometimes, the voice is tender and assures me of who I am in Christ, what I'm capable of with God, and in the event that I need to be corrected (who me?) it is gentle and compassionate.
Yet there are other times, where I lose sight of this guiding voice and rely on a voice that is harsh and filled with doubt. One that makes me question myself and my abilities, and fills me with even greater fear of stepping out to fulfill and accomplish my dreams. "Who do you think you are? You can never do that. You don't belong here. This dream will never happen. You're making a huge mistake."
Can anyone else relate?
Nicole Johnson, author of Fresh Brewed Life explains that these negative voices, "keep our souls chained in the basement. They make us fearful to try anything new, anxious about what others may think of us, and they keep us on the treadmill of performance. In short, if we allow them, these voices can easily rob every ounce of enjoyment from the lives we have...They can discourage us and cause us to think too small and expect too little from our lives...They make us afraid to be who we are."
Some days, these different voices come against each other throughout the day, but it's important to learn how to separate the nagging voice and the voice of God.
Paula Rinehart says it's good to remember that "God's word to us is straightforward declarations about who we are and how he sees us in Christ. You are a child of God, redeemed by the blood of Christ, lavished by his grace. You are. You are. You just are--because God declares you are. There is nothing to do but lay claim to who you are in Christ."
In contrast, she says, "the enemy of our souls comes to us in a different manner, amazingly similar to the way he came to Jesus in the wilderness..."If You are the Son of God, command these stones to become bread." If you are...that is the key phrase. The enemy challenges us at the bedrock level of our identities. Who we are is not something to rest in and thank God for. It is something to be proved--over and over. If you are...this is one way in which we distinguish the negative tapes in our heads from the actual voice of God."
Don't you love that comparison? I don't know about you, but I'm always trying to figure out when I'm hearing from God and when I'm being attacked by what Paula refers to as the "enemy of my soul." Paula's contrast above is one way to help to begin to distinguish what is Truth and what is trying to tear us down and restrict us from living the abundant, fulfilling lives we were born to live.
My prayer for all of us is that we will lay hold to the voice of One and allow that voice to shape and guide our lives each day and cling to its promises.
"Do not fear, for I am with you;
Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you, surely I will help you,
Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand."