I have heard about and seen different people example verse mapping so I figured I would give it a try. I must say that it is an amazing technique to use. I found that I got so much more out of the verse after I dissected it. Each word came alive and by inserting my own name it became very personal and spoke to me. It was exactly what I needed to hear. My confidence and the way I see myself is not always how I wish it would be so I took great comfort in this verse and knowing how valuable I am to God. He paid such a high price for me…(His Son) and implanted His life in me through the Spirit. I belong to Him and He loves every aspect of me. But with the Spirit within me why do I still fear?
This week we have been working on the first and second chapter of Limitless Life by Derwin L. Gray. Derwin started out the first chapter with a quote from Nelson Mandela. This quote set a great foundation for the first chapter. It said….
“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” -Nelson Mandela
This is something that I had a misconception of. For some reason I perceived fear as something that I should not do or have within me God is constantly telling us, “Do not fear,” “Do not be afraid,” “Do not be anxious.” So in a way whenever I would feel one of these emotions I would feel guilty. I would feel like I was not trusting God completely. Why am I worrying when God is in control? Why am I so afraid of the unknown and what my future holds when God has it all planned out? Am I going against God by feeling this way?
Then after reading the first chapter and reflecting on the quote by Mandela, which I referenced above, I realized that I am not alone.
Derwin starts off the chapter talking about the commonly known “David and Goliath”story. As I read back through this story in my Bible I saw where Mandela’s quote came into play. David was afraid. He was scared of facing Goliath. All the other men in the army feared him as well. No one wanted to fight the giant in fear that they would loose and be killed. The difference between David and the other men is that David found his strength and courage to overcome fear by trusting God. That is what we need to do more of this in our own lives. There are many people throughout the Bible that serve as an example of this fear of what God was asking them to do. They did not want to take risk in fear of failing and in fear of the unknown. But when they trusted in God and found their courage to take risks through Him, great things came from it.
I have been struggling lately with knowing what my “purpose” is? What is God’s will for me? What risks does He want me to take? I have been driving myself crazy trying to figure out what steps I should be taking to figure this out. Then I realized that it is not my responsibility to figure it out. I just have to have an open humble heart and ask God to come into my heart and direct me. He will lead me where He wants me to go, setting me up in the perfect position to take the opportunities and risks He wants for me. My job is to fully trust Him and take those first steps even though I may be fearful. He WILL be with me every step of the way and will NOT lead me astray.
So with that said… it is so comforting and important for me to remember that I will be fearful of change, the unknown and what is to come. That is normal. The important thing is that I overcome and conquer that fear by having courage. And that courage comes from God.
So take comfort in that my friends. With God you can conquer anything!!
May 25th I will be starting up my second Bible Study through Proverbs 31 Online Bible Studies! During the 5 weeks we will be studying “Limitless Life: You are more than your past when God holds your future” by Derwin L. Gray. I am so excited about this study! I so often let who I used to be or who I think people see me as determine and influence the decisions I make, which often holds me back from great opportunities. So I am looking forward to working through some of my internal issues with the support of such an amazing group of women.
During these five weeks we will be asked to blog on various topics. This weeks topic is on Community. What does community mean to me? My quick answer: Community is essential for my growth!
Am I good enough? Can I do this? Those are two questions that go through my head on a daily basis. I have always struggled with feeling adequate. I let the fear of failure hold me back from taking risks. Instead of taking leaps of faith and trusting God to guide me I often take a step back. (Often missing out on great possibilities/opportunities) I have always tried to to work through my issues and struggles (just me and God). I never included others because I did not feel like their concerns would be genuine or that they would truly care but rather just use my weaknesses against me. That was until I joined my first community group and finally had an accurate grasp on what that entailed.
Community: ” A feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interest and goals.”
When my husband and I moved to the beach we tried out a few different churches and finally found the place we wanted to call home. We got plugged in right away and were placed in a community group that included other couples varying in age. I was extremely hesitant about this step because I do not do very well in groups of people. I tend to step back, observe and take it all in. It takes me a while before I become comfortable enough to voice my thoughts and opinions. I think that stems back to my issue with fear. The fear that I will say something wrong or won’t know how to answer something. Other times I become intimidated about the knowledge others have of the Bible. I start to feel like I should be on the same level as others even though I know that everyone’s walk with God is different and each relationship develops at different rates. With that said I cannot even begin to explain how this community group changed me. I gained such confidence in my faith. I realized that everyone in my group was sincere and truly cared about me. I was constantly challenged and pushed to be better. It was a safe place where I could share my struggles and voice my opinions. Through this group my faith and relationship with God was strengthened. I was baptized in February and my entire community group was front row cheering me on. They were the ones who prayed through my difficult pregnancy and the first ones to be there to bring me meals every night to get me back on my feet. They have become family and have opened my eyes to the importance of a community. I cannot begin to explain the growth I have seen in myself and my faith. Through this group I gained the confidence to branch out and find a Bible Study to help me dig deeper into Gods word and find others who shared that same desire……
That is where Proverbs 31 came about. My daughter is now 4 months old and I am a stay at home mom. She has been the biggest blessing and I thank God daily for choosing me to be her mom. As joyous as being a mom is so far…. there have been those days where I sit and wonder what in the world I am doing. How is what I do daily making a difference and important? I change diapers wash bottles and feed ALL day long. Is this what my life has become? I realize it is a stage that will come and go so quickly but it is still challenging some days. Especially because having an infant is so confining that actually going to someones house for community group or going to the church for Bible study is not enjoyable anymore because it adds on so much work when an infant is added to the equation. So my activity in my community group became less and less. Thankfully Proverbs 31 was my saving grace. I for once took a leap of faith and decided to go out of my comfort zone and join the Online Bible Study. I cannot even begin to put into words how much just one Bible study impacted my life. When the challenge to join the Blog Hop came about I spent two days juggling the idea of writing a blog. I let Satan in my head and was listening to him tell me that I would not know what to say or no one would be interested in reading it. But after those two days I decided to take a leap of faith. I have never had so many women encourage, support and show me so much love. By stepping out of my comfort zone I became part of a group who shares the desire to become closer to God. I became part of a community where I can be myself and feel safe sharing about myself. I am inspired by all of these ladies, I pray for these ladies and I strive to be a better wife, mother, daughter and individual because of these ladies. I love Proverbs 31 and am so proud to be part of their community. I am so thankful for the impact it has had on my life so far and I am so excited to continue to grow!
I would encourage anyone who has any interest in being a part of a community to take a leap of faith and join this next study! You will not regret it!
“Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one heart and purpose.” Philippians 2:2
“As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” Proverbs 27:17