/ F E A R O F ... / Not Being Amazing
Updated: Sep 19, 2019
Facing our fears is a scary thing to do. But acknowledging them, and understanding how the love and power of Christ invades these fears, sets us up to pursue the cross in amazing ways. This is the first of a six-week study.
We all have fears. Whether we experience them on an airplane, in confined spaces, or in clown museums. But, the reality is that there are also deep seeded fears that find their ways into our very identities. These fears, whether we acknowledge them or not, have a powerful influence on our daily lives, the choices we make, and the way that we interact with and love those around us.
In this four to six-week study series we will be looking at a number for formational, identity shaping fears. As we journey, we will do so in relationship. Not speaking about these fears as though they are only experienced by a third-party, but through sharing our testimony we will grow in our faith and capacity!
// I N T R O D U C T I O N //
Have you ever failed at something? How did it feel? Why do you think that it made you feel that way?
Fear, is debilitating. They prevent us from building deep relationships and from pursuing our personal goals. We are not beginning this study with the intention that a Christian faith will help you to overcome arachnophobia, or fear of heights. This week, we are looking at a fear that we all face to some degree: the fear of not being amazing or the fear of failure.
// S U R V E Y //
Fear of Not Being Amazing…
❏ Have trouble setting healthy priorities and boundaries.
❏ Blame yourself for everything.
❏ Pick on yourself for everything, including the way you think, feel, look, act, and behave.
❏ Reject compliments or praise.
❏ Are you extremely loyal, often remaining in harmful situations too long.
❏ Compromise your own values and integrity to avoid rejection or anger.
❏ Put aside your own interests in order to do what others want.
❏ Are you hyper vigilant regarding the feelings of others and often take on those feelings yourself?
❏ Hand in an assignment late, rather than on-time, because it doesn’t meet a perfect standard that you set for yourself?
❏ Are you constantly thinking about what others think of you?
// W E E K O N E //
The word ‘fear’ appears 199 times in the Bible.
Ya-rah: (1) To fear, be afraid of – “After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision: “Fear not, Abram! I am your shield and the one who will reward you in great abundance.” (2) To stand in reverence, awe, or worship - “On the third day Joseph said to them, “Do as I say and you will live, for I fear God.”
As students we come into a new year excited to start new thing, to join new clubs, and to live with new housemates. We are excited about all of the new!
But often we pull out last minute if we aren’t entirely confident that we are going to do an amazing or incredible job.
You don’t play for an intramural team because you are afraid that you aren’t going to play well enough.
You don’t go out to a social event or outing because you don’t look perfectly amazing. Or you don’t know everyone there.
You don’t hand in that paper, or submit the project, because it isn’t 100% undeniably perfect.
This fear of not being entirely perfectly amazing, prevents us from living our daily lives, living the capacity, strength, and giftings that God has given to us.
These fears in fact perpetuate mental illness, stress levels, anxiety, and depression. This fear is all pervading. This fear is overwhelming.
// O.T. S C R I P T U R E R E A D I N G //
OT / Exodus 3 - 5: Moses, the Burning Bush, God’s signs, Moses Returns, Hopes of Israel, Failure.
Read: 3:9-14, 4:1-4, 4:10-13, 4:27-31, 5:1-4, 5:7-9, 5:15-18, 5:20-23
But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?”
Moses said to God, “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them?"
Moses answered, “What if they do not believe me or listen to me and say, ‘The Lord did not appear to you’?”
Moses said to the Lord, “Pardon your servant, Lord. I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue.”
But Moses said, “Pardon your servant, Lord. Please send someone else.”
Then Moses went back to Jethro his father-in-law and said to him,“Let me return to my own people in Egypt to see if any of them are still alive.”
But Moses said to the Lord, “If the Israelites will not listen to me, why would Pharaoh listen to me, since I speak with faltering lips?”
But Moses said to the Lord, “Since I speak with faltering lips, why would Pharaoh listen to me?”
Moses returned to the Lord and said, “Why, Lord, why have you brought trouble on this people? Is this why you sent me? Ever since I went to Pharaoh to speak in your name, he has brought trouble on this people, and you have not rescued your people at all.”
What is your initial reaction to these statements that Moses makes?
Why do you think that God commanded Moses to do something that he was so deathly afraid of, and unwilling to do?
// N.T. S C R I P T U R E R E A D I N G //
Read: Acts 4:5-13 Peter and John before the Sanhedrin
What is your initial reaction to this text?
Two fishermen, teaching about Jesus in the Synagogue, to religious rabbis and leaders. Like a Grade School student, teaching an introduction to Psychology course when the whole Psych department enters the lecture hall.
V. 13, “When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.”
Peter and John were unschooled, unchosen, fishermen from the middle-of-nowhere countryside of Israel. Not intelligent Biblical scholars, or professors, or religious leaders! They got their courage, from their closeness and engagement with Christ.
We cannot expect that our faith will wipe away ever fear that we are ever faced with, but as we bring our fears before God. As we come together as a loving community of prayerful support - everyone here today.
We can face that which we are fearful of, in confidence and hope because we are in Christ. God dwells in us. We are forgiven, we are loved, we are empowered by the cross.
// T H E G O O D N E W S //
With all of this in mind – what now? Why does this all matter for us today? Who cares?
God doesn’t expect you to be amazing. God created you for some pretty amazing things, and has given you some pretty amazing gifts and talents. But He also knows that there are days, months, even seasons where you will feel far from amazing. The Psalms give us permission to call out to God in our difficult days. The Psalms, both the joyful and agonizing, are calls of worship to God.
Psalm 88: “... The darkness is my closest friend.”
Psalm 13: “How long O Lord? Will you forget me forever?
God will always remain faithful. God remains in control. Our faith should not crumble when things get heavy, when we fail, when we don’t live up the expectations of the world around us. When the letter on our paper is not an A. When we experience Earthly failure.
Moses was called by God to do something that he was deathly afraid of. God never promised it would be easy, but He did promise to walk alongside him (Ex. 3-4, 19).
For we are pushed outside of relying on our ‘amazing’ selves, to relying wholeheartedly on an amazing God who promises to be with us. To care for us, just as he does the birds of the air (Matt. 6:26-34).
You are the handiwork of God (Gen. 1:27). He thinks you are amazing on the good days, and the bad. Second, as people made in God’s image, we are called not to be constantly amazing by the world’s standards - but to be constantly open, honest, and authentic with others as we seek to express ourselves and love others as He has first loved us (1 John 4:9).
Jesus died for you. Christ came to Earth as a man, suffered, was humiliated, and by the worlds standards did not live a politically, economically, or socially amazing life (Rom. 5:6-11). He died for you, all of you on all of your days. The amazing days, and the far from amazing days all the same.
// A C T I V I T Y //
❖ Take 5 minutes and write down a few of your personal struggles with the fear of not being amazing, or the fear of failure. Don’t worry we are not going to share these!
This might be few things that you want to do, but you are being prevented from doing based on a fear of not being amazing.
This might be a fear that you struggle with daily or as assignments come and go.
This might be a fear of building relationships; of not being an amazing friend.
❖ God doesn’t say “Get over it!” Instead, He calls us to come to him, know him, and find final confidence and rest in who He says that we are (Matt. 11:28-29, Eph. 2:10, Rom. 8:14-17).
❖ Prayerfully ask Him to continue to relinquish these fears, and give you courage to find rest in Him.
// P R A Y E R //
God, remind us daily that we are not called to be perfect. We are not expected to have it all together, or to be the most amazing person in the room. In fact, you know that we are broken. That we are unable to be those amazing people no matter how hard we try. Yet, you see us as perfect in your sight. You see us as white as snow. Through Christ, we are made your amazing sons and daughters. We are forgiven, freed, and empowered to be your amazing people here at Brock, in our relationships, and beyond. So we thank you, we praise you, and we love you.