“For God hath not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7
I was a gymnast from about age 7 to age 13. I competed on uneven bars, balance beam, vault and floor exercise. As a young girl, I don’t remember fear being a part of my vocabulary. Who could do backflips and land on a 4 inch wide piece of wood if they were afraid? There were times when I was asked to try a skill for the first time. Sometimes I would feel that little twinge of fear start to well up in my gut, but I knew fear was my enemy. I could NOT improve as a gymnast and be afraid so I’d smash that fear and just GO FOR IT! That seemed to work for me. I did improve, and eventually I became a really good gymnast.
I think back now and try to remember when fear started to creep into my life. When did it begin to control me? What changed? There were many events that happened during my youth and adult life that probably contributed to this. Whatever the reason, that strong, confident girl became an insecure and frightened woman. Some of my biggest fears were not being enough, not being lovable, and not being liked and accepted. I tried very hard to perform well so people would like me. If I made straight A’s people would like me. If I made cheerleader or won the gymnastic meet, people would like me. If I was pretty or skinny, people would like me…and on and on. Eventually, I found that no matter what I did or how I looked, it was not enough to fill that desire to be liked and accepted.
I met Dayna Moseley and Missy Washam for the first time about 4 years ago on a girls’ trip to Nashville. I shared with them some of my struggles including the fact that I was not in a good place with God. I was empty and missing something. It was evident that both Missy and Dayna had a passion for Jesus and true joy in their souls. I wanted what they had! While there, Missy suggested I read 40 Days of Prayer. She also told me that she and Dayna were planning a women’s retreat with their friend Chris Baxter. I started reading the book. I joined the online Soul Sisters group, and I went completely out of my comfort zone and attended the first retreat. I cannot explain the fear I experienced just trying to get myself to that retreat. All of those insecurities began to emanate, and I was so close to backing out. With Missy’s encouragement and the grace of God, I went. I was very shy during that retreat. I was afraid to sing because I might be off key. I was afraid to speak out because I didn’t know enough about God or the Bible. I was afraid to share because someone might judge me. I tried my best to stay in the background, but I felt God’s presence. He began to change me, baby steps at first, but I felt more confident and definitely inspired.
That retreat and joining the Soul Sisters continued to move me. I was beginning to see God at work in my life. I was reading my bible more, praying more, and I was happier. I look back now after attending 4 retreats, I am truly a new and more confident person. Friends have said things like, “You’ve got your sparkle back.” Yay!!
The last day of the retreat this year, Chris Baxter asked me to write this post. You’d have thought she asked me to skydive. I politely declined and told her I wasn’t a good writer. I couldn’t put my feelings in words. I was scared to comment on other peoples’ posts much less write my own. Chris said no pressure, but think about it. As I thought about it, I kept feeling nudged to do it. I could hear my boyfriend saying, “Kim, you’ve got to be comfortable being uncomfortable to grow”…so I said yes. I put my fear aside and I WENT FOR IT! I thank God for my growth and this incredible group of Soul Sisters!
Additional reading: Isaiah 43:1, John 14:27, Joshua 1:9, Psalm 27:1, Deuteronomy 31:6
We long for Your presence and peace. Give us a spirit of faith and not fear. Help us to accept with faith your plans that make us uncomfortable so that we can grow. Help us trust you with all our heart and lean not on our own understanding. Help us submit to you so that you can direct our path. (Proverbs 3:5-6) I pray that when fear starts to rise up in our gut, that You will quiet our heart and enable us to relax in You. Help us Lord, to stay focused on the truth of Your Word – for it is only in You that our souls will rest in safety and peace. Amen