The Bible is full of strange stories. Ezekiel lies on his side for 430 days and only eats food cooked over cow dung, Noah builds an ark for his family and two of every animal after divine warning of a flood that devastates the world, and Esther joins the king’s harem to risk her life saving her people.
These are not neat, pleasant stories–they are full of weird, dangerous, and almost nonsensical elements. Would you choose to be in any of them? Even when things turn out alright, the process is often utterly terrifying.
In the past few years, I’ve felt God ask me to do things that are very scary to me–none as shocking as the ones listed above, but certainly not within my comfort zone. I’m not going to go into detail in this post, but stay tuned for future reflections.
So much of this process has been unpleasant, painful, anxiety-inducing… You know that feeling in your stomach when it’s all in knots and you can’t bear to see what’s going to happen next? Yes, that feeling.
Some things are just painful. That’s when gentleness and mercy from self, others, and God is so important. Most certainly, I’ve been blessed in this way.
Other things are embarrassing. I cannot begin to list the moments where I’ve felt deeply and consistently embarrassed. Following God comes with a rich reward–I know God is drawing me so near to Him–but it also comes with a cost. Not everyone gets it, and when they really don’t get it, there can be a wide range of consequences.
Oof, I could go on, but it’s not time to share in detail yet. But I do want to share one thing I’ve learned with more conviction lately:
Dear friend, if your sole motivation is other people’s validation, it’s not worth it.
In all these Bible stories, and in my own life, if the motivation were other people’s validation, nothing would have happened–nothing brave anyway. Ezekiel never would’ve been a prophet, Noah would’ve died in the flood, and oh yeah, Esther would’ve also died with the rest of her people. Who would’ve remembered any of them? All their inspiration for thousands of years would’ve been lost. That’s not the ending we want!
I don’t know who needs to tell you this, but if you’re thinking about doing something brave for God, DO IT! Your fear is absolutely lying to you because the alternative isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
None of us can ensure the future anyway. Whether we follow God or not, we could lose everything. But if we’re following God in the moment of utter loss and shame, we’re not alone. God is there to restore us. God is there to be with us.
Once again, I could go on. I’ve barely captured 1% of my thoughts on putting God first, even when it’s terrifying. All this to say, God is worth the risk. God is worth losing everything we would’ve went after against His will. Whatever brave thing that means you’re about to do in your life right now, DO IT!
Praying for love and courage in Christ for you all ❤