Embracing Fear Series: Embracing the Unknown

I am back with part 2 of the Embracing Fear series. If you haven’t had a chance to read part 1, I do encourage you to go back & read it. (Posted earlier in March) Part 1 was really simple, it involved a simple heart check with the question: “What are you afraid of?”

For part 2 we’ll focus on “Embracing the Unknown.”  Sometimes fear can simply come from not knowing; the unknown.  But that’s okay. God will often put us in unfamiliar or different situations that help shape us to become the new creature he wants us to be. 

A lot of the time we question the new path God has us on because we can’t see the full picture. We have become so comfortable in the life we’ve made for ourselves that we can’t see ourselves operating outside of that box.

For me, I didnt realize how familiar I had become with my life of pain. I literally couldn’t see my life outside of this cycle I was in with men, my shame and unforgivness. I literally would have moments I’d say to God, “What does life beyond this look like?”

But because I couldn’t picture it or imagine it, I didnt think it was possible. There were too many unknowns for me. I had so many questions as many of us do:

“What will I have to give up to be free?”

“Does God really want me after all I did?”

” Will God reject me if I fail him?”

” Will I loose my ‘life’ that Ive built if I get close to God?”

“Will I still have friends?”

” Will I have to be this extra radical Jesus lover and people think I’m weird?”

“Will my family reject me even more because I actually want to grow & do right?”

“Will i be caught up in church 24/7.  Will I still be able to actually enjoy life?”

And the list could go on. But I seriously wondered all of those things and more. All of those were my unknowns that kept me trapped in fear.

I encourage you that in order to overcome the hurdle of the unknown to take all of your questions and begin to step out on faith by being obedient in what God is telling you to do. Will it be scary, yes. But once you step out on faith truly believing God is for you, God will honor that. Sometimes getting over the unknown really requires us taking the first step towards God.

Deuteronomy 7:9 “Know therefore that the Lord thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepwth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations.”

This scripture is so powerful. God really is for us and the more we embrace his love for us the more we can embrace the unknown in our lives and trust him

For me, God didnt really answer a lot of my questions until I started to embrace his love and move forward in faith. Scared and all at times. But even when faced with fear, I made up my mind to choose to focus on embracing his love than being trapped by my fears. It was a choice.

In the end of it all, to embrace the unknown is to trust in the God who does know. He knows what he has planned for our lives and he’s always on our side.

Jeremiah29:11 ” For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you an unexpected end.”

For me the key in this verse is “unexpected end.” When God is in control of your life, sometimes you literally don’t know what to expect, but you can trust the ending will be one for his Glory and you wont be disappointed. The unexpected with God is always better than what we expect without him.

Im gonna leave you with this  thought:

Embrace the unknown of fear by focusing on the God who does know. Make a choice to focus on the love of God vs what you don’t know.

Make an effort to say ” Lord I don’t know how you will work out this situation. But I do know you love me and you want what’s best for me.” 

I pray that this post has been helpful in your journey. I pray that it helps someone become free from fear in their lives and that they may finally begin to be able to move forward with what God truly has for them. In Jesus name, Amen.

Tune in for the final session: “When Love Conquers Fear” Coming soon.

A Full Tank

In the last few months I have come to realize how important it is to stay filled with the Word of God. As you fill yourself with the Word of God, the less room you have for anything outside of Him.

At one point I thought by letting go of old habits I wouldnt have anything to do with my life. But God has managed to keep my life full & busy with HIM. Whether it’s volunteering with Celebration church, Bible Study, writing poetry, hanging with my litter sister, spending time with friends, teaching children’s church, or working on fundraising efforts for my missions trip; it all keeps my life full. And I have fun doing it! Sometimes people can think being saved isn’t fun, but for me it has been such a blast & truly fufilling!

Before I would fill my time doing idle things that only catered to my flesh. Clubbing, drinking, partying etc. And all of that stuff waa temporary pleasure that always left me unfulfilled & empty at the end of it all.

But now I’m spending time doing things that add purpose & value to my life and those around me. It keeps my ” life tank” full. In my previous post I mentioned relationship over religion and that true fulfillment is in relationship.  Now when I do activities of purpose, I feel connected. Not just something to pass my time. Everything has become about purpose; essentially if God will be pleased in the end.

So today I encourage you to look to God to get true fulfillment in life.  Focus on God as the source of all you do and if you u work on please him, your life will be so much more fulfilling. In pleasing God, he always rewards you in one way or another.

I want to share this scripture with you Philipians 4:8

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Thinking on the promises of God always keeps your ” life tank” full. Because God is supposed to be our source of life this makes sense. Whatever you fill yourself with internally, will manifest externally. So if your inner life is Christ, it will show. But also if you fill yourself with empty pleasures that will also show.

So be encouraged to stay on a full tank by filling yourself daily with the Word of God and his promises for your life.

Relationship over Religion

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This post was shared on my Church’s Facebook page and it said a mouthful. It was in reference to what my Pastor had spoke about Tuesday night during Bible Study.

All year long, I’ve never heard God echo himself so clearly in the earth. When God spoke to me about embracing his love and letting that be the thing that breaks the cycle in my life, it was then that I realized the true importance of a relationship with God.

I think too many people are simply trying to serve God & attend church as just a “check mark” in their lives. But they aren’t really endeavoring to KNOW God and his way.
I was once guilty of this. Going to church, doing religious things yet my life wasn’t changing. I was doing the same stuff, even though I claimed I loved God. But what I found was that a true relationship with God cant start unless we freely give him our heart!

Without giving God full access to our hearts, we easily enter into religious territory. But thats not what God wants. He doesn’t just want to be a check in the box. He wants us to know him, just as intimately as he knows us!

I don’t know about you, but that’s the kind of relationship I want to be in. Like the post says, the true fulfillment is in relationship.

Only when I started focusing on loving God and how much he loves me, did I really begin to value the concept of relationship over religion. I started to make choices in my life to please God. I wanted to make him happy because of all he had done for me. How he’d had compassion and kept me in my lowest moments. The relationship stopped being one-sided. I started to invest in it vs taking it for granted.

Ever since then, my life has changed for the best. Not perfect by far, but definitely better. 

I encourage you today to start seeking a relationship with God, if you don’t already have one. If you have a relationship with God, I encourage you to go deeper. My prayer is that as you develop a relationship with Christ, or go deeper that your life begin to change from the inside out and that you become a light to those around you. Amen.

Hand painted mugs for sale

I’m currently selling hand painted mugs as a fundraiser for my missions trip to LA this Summer. I started selling them this past Sunday and I’ve sold 6 and I’ve had several orders come in.

The mugs are $5 (writing/ quote) $7 ( writing & design) & then $10 for personalized mugs.

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I’m excited about all the support that I’ve received. I’ve been posting on my facebook( Alex McClain) instagram( @ampopkultur3) & twitter(@5starsassy). The feedback has been great.

Please help me by either buying a mug in support, or by telling others about my fundraiser. Mugs can make a great gift for someone. You can email me at Alexandramcclain1989@gmail.com if you’re interested in purchasing a mug. Or leave a comment below for more info. If you visit any of my social media pages, feel free to connect with me there. More pictures & videos avaliable there as well.

Also, I am still accepting donations via my gofundme account: https://www.gofundme.com/3em9yug4

Im really treading new waters and trusting God as I go along. It’s been an interesting journey so far and I can’t wait for the trip in June!

Embracing Fears pt 1: What Are You Scared of?

Living a fearful life

For years I lived my life in fear. Fear of not getting married. Fear of making the same relationship mistakes as my mother did. Fear of failure and disappointing God. Fear of instability. Fear of who I would become if I fully embraced God.

My fear caused me to be controlling. I kept trying to control all these elements in my life so that  I wouldn’t have to really face my fears.  But really trying to control everything often brought me much pain. I was trying to do things my way, instead of letting God be in full control. Trying to control everything kept me in a box for 5 years of my life. I was in so deep, I didn’t know life outside of my fear and pain. I felt like a hamster on a spin-wheel. Going in circles I thought would never end.

I didn’t even know I was living in fear, because I kept using excuses to cover the fear I was really feeling: “God, I’m not ready.” “I’m not worthy God.” “Why me God?” “I’m not good enough God.” “What could I possibly have to say when I feel like my own life is in shambles?”

Unrealistic fears

But I was really scared of embracing the “unknown.” This possibility that God could break me free and I could live this great life of freedom; but what did it look like? What would the process entail? I had gotten comfortable with the cycle of pain in my life. That, I could handle because I knew it so well, but this new life God wanted to give me I couldn’t even imagine it because I had let fear define my life for so long.

There was so much I had worked up in my head about if I embraced all of God. I was scared that:

  1. I might be too radical ( I didn’t want to be looked at weird, or be told I did too much for God)
  2.  I thought I would loose my friends ( I was a social butterfly during my college days, quite the party girl)
  3. I feared even more rejection from my family ( I was already looked at weird, I didn’t need another reason for them to look at me as the black sheep)
  4. I feared not being able to recognize myself ( who was this woman, God was trying to make me into?)

Hindrances of a fearful life

But why is it, that we often fear loosing the old thing more, than truly embracing the freedom that God has ahead for our lives? I had become just that attached to my worldly identity, and I wasn’t ready to embrace anything else. I feared losing friends, family etc, but holding onto them wasn’t making things any better either.

Many times, the things we try to fight with God to hold onto for dear life, are the same things that God is trying to tell us is really taking our lives and killing us from the inside out. I call this spiritual suicide, and I am surely guilty of spiritual suicide many times in my life.

But what we have to always remember: the thing(s) we fear losing aren’t greater than what we’ll gain through obedience to God and his word.

You really can’t live a free life, if you’re too busy holding onto to fear.  You have to let go of one to fully embrace the other. Fear keeps you living in a box, unable to fully experience the true freedom God wants to give you through his love. Fear hinders your movement in God, it keeps your life stagnant and on repeat. Hence, my 5 year cycle.

Holding onto dead things

Fear can cause you to hold onto dead things in your life. I am living proof of this when I held onto relationship after relationship even after I knew God had told me to walk away. But I never wanted to let anything go without having a back up.

When we hold onto dead things for so long, they start to consume our lives. Who was I outside of my pain and my cycle? For years that was a very scary question believe it or not.

Then I heard the scripture about the crippled man laying at the pool of Bethesba: John5:1-9

The man had been laying at the pool for 38 years when Jesus came by. When Jesus asked him, if he wanted to be made whole, the crippled man gave Jesus excuses.

We often waste time giving Jesus all these excuses & complaints about our situation, but he already knows. Our “struggle” is never new information to God.

Once the man had a made up mind, Jesus was able to make him whole. This process didn’t take years, it happened in a moment when the crippled man had a made up mind. Sometimes, we make our troubles out to be more than they are,when all we really need is a made up mind.

So as I end this first session, here’s a question to ponder: Do you love God more than the thing(s) you fear?

What do you fear more, loosing your relationship with God, or the thought of your life becoming stagnant because of fear?

The beginning to conquering your fears is by having a made up mind. Your mind must ultimately be made up to choose to love God inspite of your fear. If we consciously make God’s love our choice, he will be faithful to honor.

Possibility with a Sincere Heart

What I love most about the Holy Spirit is that he always echoes himself.

During night 2 of revival at my church, when I went to the altar God spoke to me. His word was that he wanted His people to have a sincere heart in serving him. A sincere heart isnt a perfect heart, but a willing heart. It’s a heart not ashamed to be honest before the Lord. A heart, sensitive towards God & His word when he speaks. God can work with a sincere heart, he can mold a sincere heart. A sincere heart has possibility. With a sincere heart, therein lies the possibility for a person to be open enough for God to heal and bring wholeness in their life.

Proverbs23:26 ” My son, give me your heart and let your eyes delight in my way.”

A sincere heart is a heart that has been won by the Holy Spirit.

On the final night of our revival, my Pastor preached exactly what God had spoken to me in private at the altar.

He spoke from Luke8 the parable of sowing seed in different types of grounds.The seed being the word and the ground being our hearts. He brought out the point that we hear sound with our ears, but it’s with our hearts we hear the message that God speaks.

He also talked about how powerful the word of God is by itself as a stand alone seed. But when mixed with faith,that is how we produce fruit in our lives. Fruit that will last for God.

And the biggest challenge we face is that the enemy is always lurking close by to steal our seed as soon as we hear it.  The enemy knows that God’s word has the possibility to change us if it ever gets planted in our hearts and believe.

If the word of God gets planted in our hearts, it starts to change us. A hard heart, can become a heart of flesh to God’s will. And when we have made our hearts sensitive to God and his word, change is possible.

My prayer for you is that you will begin to allow the word of God to work on the hard areas of your heart. That you allow your heart to become sensitive to God’s will in your life. The more sincere your heart becomes, the more God can build your faith in him. Remember, with the power of the word of God and the willingness of a sincere heart,God presents us with possibility for change in our lives.

“Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God.” Acts10:17

#FallingUpward: Embracing Fear

All year long, God has shown me that part of falling upward with him is making the choice to release our fears and embrace his love.

The more we embrace the love of God, the less fearful we become. God’s love is always greater than anything we could ever fear.

In saying that, I am kicking off a 3 part series of how to live a life in the love of Christ beyond our fears.

I hope you will join me and share with others. Please feel free to always comment & share your thoughts.

My prayer is that after the series, you began to live a more fulfilled life beyond your fears. I lived a fearful life for 5 years, so I know what it’s like when fear consumes your life. But I also have come to know a much more fulfilling life beyond my fears. And that only happened once I embraced the love of God.

So join me in embracing your fears. Part 1: What are you scared of? Coming soon….