Isn’t being bold the same as being obnoxious?

People don’t believe me when I tell them I’m shy. I’m introverted, yes, but that doesn’t automatically mean I’m shy. And in most circumstances when I’m around people, I’m only in places where I’m very comfortable. When I’m comfortable, I can come off like a total extrovert.

But that’s not who I really am. I’m the quiet one in the corner who likes to get my bearings before I jump into anything. I like to gauge a crowd, a room, a speaker before I answer a question or put up my hand for a comment. But even then, even after I’ve taken the time to get to a place where I’m not terrified, I still feel an urge to stay quiet. There’s always a voice in the back of my mind that tells me nobody needs to hear what I have to say and that if I walk up to someone to talk to them, I’ll just be interrupting. Or I’ll bother them.

But is that the way we’re supposed to live? Believing things like that about ourselves? Isn’t that humility? Or is it lies the enemy whispers to keep us silent when we really ought to speak up?

mountains-nature-sky-sunnyToday’s verse is 2 Corinthians 3:12.

Since this new way gives us such confidence, we can be very bold.

What does it mean to be bold? Is boldness synonymous with being obnoxious? That’s how I usually identify boldness. Being bold means you’re prideful or you’re full of yourself or you’re irritating.

But, correct me if I’m wrong, I’m pretty sure God isn’t okay with any of those character traits. So if God isn’t okay with any of that, how can we be bold if that’s what it means?

Easy answer, that’s not what it means. Being bold is being confident, and, sure, you can be confident in a wrong way. You can let your confidence become pride, or because you’re overly confident you can rub people the wrong way. But true boldness has very little to do with focusing on yourself.

What this verse is talking about is the boldness we have as Christ-followers. It’s probably referring specifically to how we can approach Christ with our troubles, that we can just go to Him whenever we need Him. That’s audacity. To approach the King of Heaven and ask a favor? Crazy talk. But I like to think that this verse is talking about more than just our prayer life.

Because of what Jesus did for us, we can be bold in everything we do. We don’t have to be timid and fearful. We don’t have to crumble whenever someone challenges us. We don’t have to hunker down and squeeze our eyes shut because someone disagrees with us. And, no, we don’t even have to stay quiet because we are shy.

We can live boldly because our confidence is in Jesus. Christ gave His life for us so that we could live abundantly. So what are we afraid of? Why are we hiding in the shadows? Sure, I dislike the spotlight, and I don’t like talking to people I don’t know. But when God has put me in a situation where I need to talk to people, the last thing I should be doing is sitting alone at a table scribbling notes.

I’m shy. I’m an introvert. I’m absolutely terrified to start up a conversation with someone I don’t know. Those are the lies Satan wants me to believe about myself, and it’s high time that I stopped listening to him.

What are you hiding from? What are you afraid to do, even though God’s told you to do it? Stop running. Stop believing the lies, and face those fears the enemy has planted in your heart. God has a plan for you, and it’s awesome. It’s time to get bold.

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Sometimes even weeds can be beautiful

In the spring and summer, our yard here at Safe Haven Farm is full of dandelions. Weeds. All over the place. We’ve had some years when the yard was practically yellow from all the dandelion flowers. And what I’ve learned about dandelions over the years is that the more you try to get rid of them, the more keep popping up.

Dandelions are like the Hydra from Greek mythology. Whenever the hero would chop off one head, two more would grow back. Weeds are the same way. You can chop them off, poison them, hack them to bits, but they always come back because the roots are too deep in the soil to remove completely. Have you ever stopped to think that worry and anxiety is exactly the same?

No matter how efficiently you think you’ve dealt with your worrying, it won’t go away completely. No matter how far away you’ve distanced yourself from anxiety, those horrible, twisting anxious thoughts keep coming back. And it’s not because you want them. It’s because the root of the problem is buried too deep to reach.

What is the root of the problem? For me, it’s fear.

I’m afraid that I’ll fail, that I’ll disappoint people, that I’ll screw up, that I’ll make a mess of things, and that I’ll do such a good job of it that not even God will be able to get me out of it. That’s the fear that whispers to me. Fear tells me that I’ll never be good enough, that I’ll make mistakes so great and so grave that no one will forgive me. And even as I listen, I know it’s all lies, but somehow I still worry. Even though I know it’s not true.

So what do you do? How do you respond to the paralyzing fear that holds you in place and tries to convince you that it’s not worth even trying anymore?

Dandelion at Safe Haven Farm, Haven, KS

Dandelion at Safe Haven Farm, Haven, KS

Today’s verses are Psalm 56:1-4.

O God, have mercy on me,
for people are hounding me.
My foes attack me all day long.
I am constantly hounded by those who slander me,
and many are boldly attacking me.
But when I am afraid,
I will put my trust in you.
I praise God for what he has promised.
I trust in God, so why should I be afraid?
What can mere mortals do to me?

Fear doesn’t come from God. That’s not how He works. So if you’re making decisions based in fear, you might want to make sure you’re following the right person. If you’re feeling fear, which is leading to worry and stress and anxiety, that means you’ve got the enemy’s attention. Usually that means you’re doing something right.

I know that’s not much comfort. Believe me. But it’s the truth.

So how do you manage worry and anxiety if it’s never actually going to go away? And it’s not happening because you don’t trust God. You do. You wake up every morning determined to trust Him for everything, yet still that little voice whispers in your mind. And soon you’re in knots because you’re worrying, and then you tie yourself in more knots because you try to stop worrying so that you won’t worry about worrying. Ugh, it’s a vicious cycle.

I don’t know the answer, but I do know who God is. And I know what this verse says. When I’m afraid, I need to trust God. When I’m afraid, that means I’m trying to solve problems on my own. I’m looking at the difficulties I’m facing and trying to overcome them in my own strength, and I can’t do it. I’m not big enough.

The problems in my life are God-sized. And when anxiety gets the better of me, it’s usually those moments when I’m trying to rush God’s plan or trying to do it myself without Him, usually because I feel like He’s moving too slowly.

Trusting God means not taking matters into your own hands. It means letting go of your plans and your dreams and your goals and giving them to Him. It’s hard and scary, and often it hurts because letting go of anything that matters to you isn’t fun. But that fear you feel in response to letting go isn’t from God. It’s from Satan. He’s trying to keep you from experiencing the very best God has, because God can’t transform your life while you’re still holding on to it.

Remember what God promised. He won’t leave us. He wants the best for us. And His plans for us are good. So it doesn’t matter what anyone else can do to you, as long as you’re on God’s side. You stay right with Him, and He’ll take care of the rest.

You can wear yourself out pulling weeds, and they’ll all just come back again the next day. No, just wait. Let them bloom. Let the seeds scatter. And if at all possible, enjoy them. Even weeds can be beautiful at times, and even weeds like dandelions have can be useful.