“Now faith brings our hopes into reality and becomes the foundation needed to acquire
the things we long for. It is all the evidence required to prove what is still
unseen. This testimony of faith is what previous generations were commended for.
Faith empowers us to see that the universe was created and beautifully coordinated
by the power of God’s words! He spoke and the invisible realm gave birth to all that is seen.”
Hebrews 11:1-3 TPT
“Would you like to do this here or in a private room?” was the question that jarred my mind back to reality. I looked back at the young, uniformed lady staring back at me waiting for me to answer. Just a few moments earlier, my life had flashed before my eyes and I found myself reliving every prior experience I had with airport security. “Well, (we) may as well do it here.” I said while laughing and shaking my head. Of course I was getting the full body treatment courtesy of TSA.
As I waited an eternity of five whole minutes of getting patted down, my mind was free to wander—and boy did it! I found myself talking to God about what this was teaching me. “Would you have handled this differently last week? Last year? Two years ago? How about 5 years?” He asked, already knowing what my answer would be. Definitely yes! In the past, I would have been completely traumatized by this experience and would have gladly welcomed shame and fear in with open arms, but not today.
Let me back up a little bit: A few days prior to my airport experience, I was honestly battling fear of flying. This seemed absolutely ridiculous because I have always loved traveling by plane–I had been doing it since I was seven years old. I love being at the airport, watching people and planes arrive from and depart to exotic locations all over the globe. For me there is something magical about walking down the ramp in one city, being whisked away, and then walking back up in a completely different one. Yes, I was born to fly—at least until recent years, when I found myself at my heaviest weight.
You see, I’m not just a little overweight–I’m extremely overweight. For the first time in my life, I found myself gripped with fear as I was facing air travel on an airline I’d never been on. Would I fit in the seat? Would the airline make me purchase another seat? How would the flight attendants respond? How would other passengers respond? What would Kendall think if we couldn’t go on the plane?!? I could handle being squeezed into a seat or anything else, but I couldn’t handle disappointing her! Yep, worry and anxiety were setting in and I soon found myself in a tailspin. I just wanted to hide in a dark corner and escape the judging, condemning, shaming voices in my head. Then, when those voices seemed to be screaming their loudest, a gentle voice spoke my name, “Nicole” above the noise. Suddenly, my soul was at peace in His presence.
Words seem inadequate to describe how my soul settles when I hear the beautiful voice of God. It is the same voice that quieted the wind and waves and calmed not only the storm, but the disciples as well. I love that story (found in the first three books of the NT) of how Jesus simply spoke to the storm and it obeyed. It just goes to prove that every storm we face must surrender to the voice of Jesus. The storm I was facing wasn’t one with thunder or lightning, but the fear it brought was as loud as any thunderstorm I’d seen.
Fear is one of the loudest lies that the enemy uses to keep us from our destiny. It paralyzes, silences our voice, and forces us to cower to our circumstances. I’ve heard some people say that fear is the opposite of faith, but what I’ve come to realize is that it’s not. God often calls us to step out of our comfort zone–that doesn’t mean we are suddenly courageous. It means that we choose to be obedient despite how we feel. When we step out in faith, we are declaring that our circumstances are nothing compared to our wonder working Heavenly Father.
Fear is misplaced faith. It’s a lie that says my circumstances are bigger than my God. Remember the question Jesus asked His disciples after He calmed the storm: “Where is your faith?” (Luke 8:25) The disciples had misplaced their faith and had become blinded by the storm raging right in front of them.
I cannot even begin to tell you how many times I have misplaced my faith! I grew up believing the lie that my circumstances were bigger and more complex than God could handle. I have had victories in some areas and still continue to struggle in others. I wish I could say that God has completely set me free from all fear, but I’m just not there…yet.
Seth Dahl, former Children’s Pastor from Bethel, recently posted a video (I will post a link in FB to it) he did with his daughter on that powerful little word: yet. That little 3-letter word completely changes a “fixed” mindset to a “growth” mindset. Our mindset can make or break our journey. For instance, a fixed mindset would say, “I can’t conquer this fear!” It makes our mountain impossible to move. A growth mindset says, “I can’t conquer this fear yet.” It says that I’m going to overcome this mountain—even though I’m still facing it. So even though I still have areas of my life where fear rises up and circumstances are daunting, I know that, with God’s help, I will overcome in time as He guides my every step—even the fear of flying and my weight.
I’m so thankful I had this conversation with God BEFORE my trip—seriously, the TSA experience would have really traumatized me. It also prepared me for what would happen in Florida a few days later. My daughter and I had asked my dad to drop us off at the town square while he went to run an errand. As soon as we got out of the car, I just had this, “Danger! Danger!” sense in my spirit and began praying in tongues and declaring the goodness of God as we walked around this little square. I was extremely grateful that I could sense God’s presence in this place! I felt His presence in such a tangible way that even in the middle of a strange and scary situation. I was not afraid because the Holy Spirit had given me clear direction once again. Let me explain. We had sat down on a bench waiting for my dad to arrive when I felt prompted to turn off my phone. Within seconds, two men approached us asking to use my phone. I looked them straight in the eyes and heard myself saying, “Phone’s dead.” In that moment, I felt the presence of God enwrapping us and I felt completely safe in His presence. I truly believe that they saw a huge angel standing right behind us in that moment because they looked at me, looked behind me and then turned around and walked away.
The best part came later when the enemy continued to show me their faces. I could feel fear rising within me and I was battling to keep it at bay. After putting up with it for a couple days, I finally said, “Look, Satan! I’m done playing this game. So starting now, I’m just going to start interceding for these men! God, I declare that they are going to come to know the love of their Heavenly Father and will one day make Jesus the Lord of their lives. Jesus, send people to show them your love and set them free!” When I prayed, the fear from that situation left once and for all. In fact, now, I choose to see their faces and intercede for them now.
While this “stranger danger” situation was one of the scariest one I’ve faced, I am so thankful I didn’t succumb to fear, which I’ve done so many times before. I know there are more areas where I need to surrender fear. I know I’ll be tested, but I also know that faith is becoming stronger, mountains are becoming smaller, and God is becoming greater in my life.
Where’s your faith today? It’s okay if it’s not there—it doesn’t mean that it won’t be. God’s not finished with you yet!
Dear God, I thank you that there is no circumstance that you are unable to handle. Nothing is too hard, too complex or even too small! Help me to remember that no matter what I’m facing—whether it’s a mountain or a molehill—that you are with me. Let my faith be grounded in you and not my circumstances. In those areas where there is fear, help my unbelief and eradicate any fears. May my mountains get smaller as you become greater. Let faith in you arise in me today. Amen.