Have You Been Benched?

It was almost a year ago that a routine mammogram turned into a breast cancer scare for me so you can understand why I was slightly skittish at this year’s appointment. As I entered the familiar office, checked in and waited my turn, a flood of emotions ran through me.

At first, fear got a hold of me doing all the crazy things fear does. My heart raced and my mind was cluttered. Then the voice of reason kicked in and I remembered that the biopsy had a benign outcome and that there’s no breast cancer in my family. After those thoughts ran their course, I remembered my faith. I prayed diligently for another positive outcome. I’ll find out next week.

All of the above reactions are quite normal – even routine for most people. Fear. Logic. Faith. So what’s the problem? Faith is in the wrong position of this triad. Had it been in the starting line-up, I likely would’ve sailed through the activities of this test instead of being gripped with fear and doubt. One day I hope to permanently reverse this trend and lean on my faith first. For now, let’s just say I’m still on the bench waiting for my turn to play.

I’m On My Way!

What’s promising however is that the time in between fear and faith is decreasing. While my reflexes have been trained for decades to ignite fear first, it’s not days or weeks before I remember that I have God on my side. I’m making progress wouldn’t you say?

I have been given multiple opportunities as of late to flex my faith muscle. Readying to send my manuscript to publishers, raising two teenagers as a single mom and once again being in the job market. These are no small things and I want to get them right. My advancing age is a constant reminder that there’s no more time for mistakes.

Besides, I’m sort of tired of making wrong decisions based on illegitimate feelings. Fear, doubt, anxiety, worry and many others steal our confidence and prevent us from living out our God-given purpose.

The Road Not Traveled

For whatever reason, I have been inundated with past-life memories these last few weeks. Decisions I’ve made and actions I’ve taken during my time on this earth are flooding my psyche. They’re reminding me of roads not traveled or paths taken that have led to a mess or two that required the likes of a professional clean-up crew to fix. Mid-life crisis? Possibly but that’d mean I’d be living well into my hundredth year!

I think the reason this is happening is to serve as a reminder of my life when my faith in God was, let’s just say, shaky? It’s not that I didn’t believe in God, I just thought I could do a better job of running my life without Him.

Nowadays, I’m learning to know better. And what do they say? When you know better, you do better? That’s me to a “T”. Today, I start my day with a prayer practice that cannot be missed or compromised no matter what the demands of the day are. When faced with a tough situation, almost always I send up a prayer for assistance. At the end of it all, I express my gratitude – whether it worked out in my favor or not.

Does it work? Is my life all rainbows and butterflies because of this practice? No. Not always. People have a tendency to think that because you have a strong faith and practice it regularly that you’re exempt from life’s challenges. When they see people struggling, it only serves to confirm their belief that there is no God or that He’s otherwise occupied and has abandoned his flock. This couldn’t be further from the truth.

Get Your Game On!

The challenges I’ve faced in the past few years are what have strengthened my faith to its current levels. Those that will present themselves in the years to come will do even more to build my trust and enable me to turn that fear-logic-faith triad on its head once and for all.

I want to encourage you to think about your own triad. Maybe yours doesn’t begin with fear. Maybe yours begins with denial or anxiety. Whatever it might be, consider its impact to the situation at hand. Is it helping you? Or, like me, is it preventing a positive outcome?

What would this challenge look like if it was approached with faith first? How would you feel? It’s no fun sitting on the bench watching your teammates get all the glory. Go on, get in the game!

“When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.” (Psalm 56:3)

Jen’s Gem: Facing challenges by putting faith first is a win-win for all!

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