I was thinking back the other day about recess. The 30-minutes I used to have after lunch to run off energy. I would spend those 30-minutes almost solely on the swings with my friends. We had swinging songs and competitions to see who could swing the highest, but my favorite part about the swings was the finish. Being the ever risk taking elementary students we were, my friends and I would spend the first 25-minutes pumping as hard as we could, going as high as our swings would take us. But for the last 5-minutes we would see who could launch themselves the farthest off the swings. I remember feeling a twinge of fear, anxiousness, and excitement each time. And as a child, untouched by most of life's disappointments or realities, fear and anxiousness never stopped me from jumping. The excitement that lurked always propelled me off the swing, into the air, landing somewhere on the pavement nearby.
Today, 2014, feels a lot like being on the swings again. We're pumping our legs as hard as we can, praying that the effort propels us forward into our new city, new coworkers, new community, and new home; we know the finish is near. But as the swings move us back and forth through the motions of our current lives, unlike when we were children, our anxiety and fears now paralyze us from jumping. Life's realities and disappointments have blurred our excitement that at one time would have propelled us into the unknown.
The Johnson's are staring straight into a very new stage of life this month. As December came to a close, we saw God provide in huge ways for our ministry and we saw our upcoming move to a new state barreling towards us at a rapid pace. We're talking lightening speed. It's been overwhelming, exciting, and continually makes us want to throw up our hands in praise. And, on the uglier side, it's been full of a fear and anxiousness I've never known before. The kind that rises deep within your chest, making you feel as if you could burst into a million little pieces.
And labeling it anxiousness I think is just a kind disguise, a ruse to cover my sin, my lack of faith. My disbelief that God is who He says He is. So while I have many thoughts about 2014, many dreams and goals I may one day share with you, my focus will be resting first and foremost on growing my faith, believing God is who He says He is. Because in the end, what are any of my dreams or goals worth if I am not raising up the Shield of Faith?
I've already started, I'm reading Believing God Day By Day by Beth Moore and page one most beautifully captures my heart for 2014:
This book is about developing an action verb faith. It's about getting out there where we can feel the wind of God's Spirit blowing in our faces. It's about learning that we don't have to put down the Sword of the Spirit (the Word of God) to raise up the Shield of Faith. The way I see it, God gave us two hands. If we want to live abundantly, we must pick up both. To pick up the Sword of the Spirit without the Shield of Faith is to shrivel and dry up in the desert of legalism. To pick up the Shield of Faith without the Sword of the Spirit is to try walking on quicksand.
I want to be a woman who pumps my legs ferociously as I swing, feeling the wind of God's Spirit blowing in my face. I want to have an action verb faith. Not a static faith, paralyzed by each and every fear life throws my way, but a faith that moves. I want to hold on with both hands and never let go of the Sword of the Spirit and the Shield of Faith. When God asks me to jump I want my response to be "where Lord?"
Maybe you can relate, and if you can, will you join me in taking up the Sword of the Spirit and the Shield of Faith?
What fears or anxieties paralyze you from having an action verb faith?