Flashback: It's Not About Perfection
Perhaps you’ve seen the acronym F.E.A.R., which stands for “False Evidence Appearing Real.” In our post-COVID world, we have more reasons to be afraid than when I first wrote this article in December 2018, yet the timeless truths in Scripture tell us that we should never let fear be our guide. Are you allowing fear to rule in your heart rather than God?
The dream woke me. My heart was beating rapidly. I was now awake. “Where did that come from?” I thought.
Have you ever had a dream or recollection trigger something from the past? I don’t claim to understand dream therapy. It’s easy for me to shrug off dreams or those random, out-of-no-where memories.
But this one has stayed with me.
I was eleven years old sitting in a classroom. My teacher (Mr. Richerts) asked me for an answer to a question. I was confident I knew the correct answer. However, I softly replied: “I don’t know.”
The reality was: I did know, but my fear of failure overpowered me.
It’s been many years since that classroom experience. I’ve learned that it’s ok not to have all the answers. However, in one “out-of-nowhere” dream, I was reminded: Fear of failure can be debilitating.
For each of us who follow Jesus, responding to God’s call on our life requires courage. The truth is: There may be times when we have the right answer, and times we don’t. We won’t always get it right.
But following Jesus isn’t about perfection. It’s about faithfulness and trust.
To faithfully follow our Savior will frequently require us to take risks. When we follow Jesus, we are regularly reminded of our insecurities. Even the great ones who followed God were people who struggled with timidity!
Jeremiah is one example. Here’s what God said about Jeremiah:
“And the word of Yahweh came to me, saying, ‘Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you came out from the womb I consecrated you; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.’ Then I said, ‘Ah, Lord Yahweh! Look, I do not know how to speak, for I am a youth’” (Jeremiah 1:4-6).
The issue at the heart of Jeremiah’s hesitancy is doubt. He’s not sure how it will all play out.
What Jeremiah needs – what I need – is a simple re-framing of his (my) calling.
“’ Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you,’ declares Yahweh” (Jer. 1:8)
Fear of “them” can take many forms. It may be others, who intimidate us, or a sense of inadequacy.
Whatever your “them is,” God reminds you (and me) before we were born: He knew us, consecrated us, and appointed us. And, when – even in a dream or memory – we recall how strong our uncertainty is, God reassures us that we can trust Him who has called us.
What’s your fear? How is God reassuring you?
Praying for each of us this week!
Everyone you know is fighting a battle with fear on some level. If you need some encouragement in this daily struggle, let me invite you to listen to my weekly video devotions on www.richardparrish.net. Every Friday, you can watch a short video that will help you discover hope this week. You can watch them on my website or you can visit my Facebook page.