This is a Yes Moment

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The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot. The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.

I bless the Lord who gives me counsel; in the night also my heart instructs me. I have set the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.  Psalm 16:5-8 (ESV)

I am more than what I do. I struggle with this thought here at 2:35 in the morning. I hold Come Matter Here in my hands, my cup of maple ginger tea beside me. I try to concentrate and let Hannah Brencher’s words sink in; 

“At some point, you decide to get over your fear. You say it’s time to not be afraid of whatever decisions you have to make or direction you need to take.” 

I look around the room as I work on managing the fear that has me awake at this ungodly hour. I think it is a fear deep and wide of failure. I am afraid I will fail and there will be nothing left. I will be nothing… and that is a terrible fear; to be nothing. 

I have failed before. Actually, I do it all the time. All day long. 

I am sitting on evidence of my failure. It is a 1960’s really long sofa. I found it in a Salvation Army in Marietta and almost ran to the front counter with its little tag in my hand to pay for it. It was gold and beige tapestry fabric with 4 goose-down pillows across the length of the back and had wooden armrests.

I hauled it to Seven Queens upholstery and Mr. Fears reupholstered just the pillows and the seat cushion in creamy white linen and my husband painted the oak arms an equally creamy white. It sat in a new house in Brookhaven for less than 2 months, until the house sold, and I hauled the sofa to my house.

Beside it is the biggest coffee table in the world, found in the basement of an estate sale. Once an awful dark green, it now is painted silver and piled with an antique rug across it as a runner and my collection of mercury glass candlesticks and vases.

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All of these ‘things’ are remnants of a ‘failed career’. I worked staging empty houses for a while and decided it wasn’t profitable and I wearied of the business side of it.

So here I sit – quite literally – on my version of failure. But you know what? It isn’t the worst thing that can happen. It is actually very little in the big scheme of things.

The sofa is so long it easily held multiple couples on Monday nights when our Just Married small group would meet. The now-silver table is sturdy enough to prop your feet up on and we have watched the babies who visit often pull themselves up to a precarious stand and work their way around its perimeter, their little feet sinking deep into the shag rug. If this is evidence of failure, then it’s not so bad.

Knocking down fear doesn’t seem to happen once and then it is done. I think maybe it is a one day at a time sort of thing.

God, through the words of Jesus tells us that; if we could just get His words to battle past the iron shell around our hearts. “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?” Matthew 6:25 ESV

And Jesus concluded with the strangely worded, “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” (V 34) In other words, there is going to be enough stuff you will be dealing with tomorrow, so don’t be heaping imagined catastrophes of failure on your head today. Or tonight. 

Two black bamboo chairs with the same sort of creamy linen cushions sit across the room. Oh yeah, another failure; from the year I owned a small shop at ‘Antiques & Beyond’. That business venture came and went quickly, a leftover dream from my teen years to gather together little things that brought me joy and offer them out into the world. Another adventure I could list in my ‘failure’ column. But the chairs remain and welcome me each morning for a time of devotion and oatmeal and berries.

So really, what am I holding onto as ‘failure’? I have been deeply interested in various ventures. I have called myself by many different names and explored different occupations. Why do I think these adventures into different professions must not only define who I am – but also define my success – or in my own words, ‘failure’ as a person?

There is not a magic red destination star on the map of my life. I am not lost, looking for a way home. I am already here. I am found. I am safe. God has placed my feet in a large room. With plenty of room to grow.

Banish the fear. It is not of God. He delights in telling His people not to. Joshua was heading in to slay the giants and claim the promise and God told him to stand tall. “Be strong for I am with you.” The big powerful ‘I AM’ was by his side, going before him, and protecting him from behind. Present tense. God’s name for himself is in the present tense. I AM. He is with us.

Banish the fear. It has no place in my life. It has no place here, creeping around in the night like the coward it is.

I am more than a label or an occupation. I am not failure or success. I am not in search of a destination or a star stamped into the sidewalk. I am already here. Fully engaged. Present. Now. I shall not be shaken.

Question: Do you battle fear or depression or anxiety? What do you do to fight those small voices that desire to ‘have you’?

English Standard Version (ESV) The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles.