How can we tell if what we're experiencing is an abundance of fear, or a lack of faith?
Personally, I don't know that I've been able to answer that question yet. I feel as though I'm right on the verge, right on the edge of understanding, but I'm just not quite there yet.
Recently, I felt a push to volunteer with the Children's Ministry at my church. I went to the Ministry Fair, spoke with a few people from the First Impressions Team, the Worship Team, the Children's Ministry Team, and by the end of the event, I knew that I was being led towards the Children's Ministry. I don't know exactly why I felt the pull for that particular group, but I filled out the application anyway.
My plan was to work with the babies. What could go wrong? Who wouldn't want to spend the morning cuddling and loving on newborns? It sounded great to me.
I was approached by one of the leaders a few weeks later, and they were offering me a position elsewhere. Two and three year-olds. They want me to work with the toddlers. Inherently, there isn't anything wrong with that idea. Toddlers are adorable, they're hilarious, and I'm sure that each one of them has a lot that they can teach us adults. But the idea of leading a story-time in front of a bunch of over-active children sends me into a slight panic.
I have a hard enough time talking in front of groups of people my own age, without adding into it the necessity of goofing around, adding in silly voices, and generally making myself look a bit less-than-sane for the sake of maintaining the attention of these children. Just the thought of it makes me queasy. I still have yet to give an answer to the leader who approached me.
And this is where my previous question comes into play: How do I know if my reluctance to help out in this area is coming from a lack of faith?
I was completely willing-and joyful, even-to help in the Children's Ministry when I thought that I could work with the newborns. I had no second guesses, no moments of panic, when the ideas and choices were my own, and were within the realm of my comfort zone. But now that I've been nudged in a slightly different direction, I can't seem to commit to it any longer.
Is my reluctance based on an understandable apprehension about my capabilities of working with toddlers? Is it not, in fact, a total lack of faith in the direction that God is guiding me towards?
I could give a dozen different excuses, each more valid than the last, as to why I am currently unfit for the position of leading the toddler group at my church. But the amount I offer doesn't change the fact that they are all still excuses. None of them are actually valid reasons for why I should not trust in God's calling, and follow after him with faith and confidence in His ability to guide me. Because the truth is, there are no valid reasons.
Do I trust my God? Yes.
Do I believe that what He has planned for me is nothing short of the best? Yes.
Do I know deep down that His strength is sufficient in my weakness, and that He can overcome anything? Yes.
So then after this, I have no reason, no logic, to excuse me from following after Him, and allowing Him to use me in ways that I could never allow for myself. Because I know that no matter how unfit I am, my God is strong enough to overcome. And no matter how nervous, and even scared, I could be, I have faith that God will guide every action. And I know that in the end, He will have used this opportunity and this call of faith as a reminder to me of His glory, and His power. Nothing I do while I am with those toddlers will actually be my own. It will all be His.
And that is faith stronger than even my worst fears.
Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong. 1 Corinthians 16:13
When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise- in God I trust and am not afraid. Psalm 56:3-4
Your turn: When have you decided to forsake fear, and have faith instead? What was the outcome?