“No matter what happens – I will live unafraid.” -Psalm 4:8b
As Becky and I drove through the Arizona desert recently, I remembered the time that I preached in a little country church in the town of Superior. After the service, one of the elders invited Becky and me to his house for dinner. While he was grilling steaks on his back patio, we chatted about his life in the desert.
“Ok,” he said, “Hold your arms out in front of you and close your eyes.” “Why?” I asked. He replied, “Just trust me, and don’t be afraid.” So, I hesitantly extended my arms out in front of me and closed my eyes. After a few seconds, he placed something cold on the inside of my elbow joints. “Alright, are you ready? Open your eyes!” I looked down… and froze in absolute horror. There in my arms, hardly 6 inches in front of my face, was a 4-foot diamondback rattlesnake – coiled up and ready to strike. I looked down in terror – eyeball to eyeball with the deadly serpent. As the adrenaline shot through my veins, it took everything I had to avoid panic and remain calm. My impulse said, “Drop it and run for your life.” But my reason said, “Trust this guy and stay calm.”
Reason won. Barely. As it turned out, my new friend had caught the rattler the night before and dropped it into his freezer. In front of me was a frozen solid snake. I was in no danger and had nothing to fear.
Throughout my career as a ministry leader, I have often allowed fear to get the best of me. My fears of choice are the fears of failure, embarrassment, and rejection. These three fears have thwarted my vision, limited my Kingdom potential, and paralyzed me from making bold decisions. For too much of my ministry career, I allowed fear to hinder me from saying and doing the things that really should have been said and done.
I’m happy to say that after more than four decades of ministry leadership, fear has lost most of its grip on me. I still have my moments, but here’s what I’ve learned: 90% of the things that I’ve been afraid of have turned out to be nothing more than frozen rattlers.
How about you? What are your fears of choice? How many of the things you’ve feared have turned out to be nothing more than frozen rattlers?
Let’s commit to live and lead like the psalmist: “No matter what happens – I will live unafraid” (Psalm 4:8b).