Don’t Let Fear Determine Your Path

I got a text recently from someone about an exchange we had six years before.

You may never know what these words you said to me in 2014 have meant to me. There is so much pressure living in the “Bible belt” but I think I finally realize through this pandemic and having time to be away from it all that my relationship with Jesus can grow without that pressure. Fellowship can be sitting with a friend having coffee and challenging each other. I don’t have to sit in a group or be forced to be part of a small group I’m not comfortable around. Thank you so much for your books, podcasts, Breath of Fresh Air. You have provided a window of light to me and helped reveal truth.

Looking back, I found our original exchange to help me sort out exactly what she was talking about.

I am not even sure I know how to put into words the things going through my heart and mind right now. The Jake book has been a glimmer of light to me as well as soaking up all the podcasts from the God Journey and Lifestream. I don’t know what to say about my “church”. I still go but I’m tired of the pressure to serve, the pressure to join a life group, the pressure that if you don’t go on a foreign mission trip every year you aren’t doing what you should.

I chose this group originally because I felt there was authenticity, now it seems like it is all about entertainment, they had Jack Sparrow and Elsa and Anna wandering around there last week. Yet, when my life was tough and things were scary for a few months, no one cared. Our motto is ” changing the way you think about church” I used to think we were so different. Now, I feel that if Jesus were here sitting in our midst he would be sad. I don’t think this Is what He wanted or intended.

We don’t know where the money we give goes. We don’t know the church’s budget. A select group of elders makes all the decisions. They are the only ones who know what is in the bank. I don’t know anymore. My relationship with God is suffering. I’m disillusioned. Saddened. Disheartened. And really don’t know where to go from here anymore.

My response to her had been brief, so it was so good to hear how such simple words had changed the trajectory of her faith—

Follow your heart.  I suspect you already know how God is leading you but you are afraid to follow.  I appreciate the things that you’re seeing.  Pressure is not godly nor is fear.  I pray you’ll have the courage to follow what he has put in your heart and find yourself in more spacious places of his working.

That’s true of most people I meet. They seem to be confused, but when you listen behind their words, it’s evident that they already know how Jesus is leading them. They have just talked themselves out of it because of what other, perhaps even well-meaning Christians are pressuring them to do. They worry about how others will judge them than simply following the gentle nudge the Spirit has put in their heart.

God’s leading is not that difficult to know; it’s just challenging to trust that it’s him, especially when he’s leading you away from those things you were taught to rely on. Fear will never lead you to what’s best, and it will distort your perception of God and his whispers into your heart.

What would you do if you weren’t afraid of making a mistake, of facing the disapproval of people you love, or that God wouldn’t be there to help you beyond your own efforts?  That is often the path that will lead you to more light and freedom.

6 thoughts on “Don’t Let Fear Determine Your Path”

  1. “ it’s just challenging to trust that it’s him, especially when he’s leading you away from those things you were taught to rely on.”

    Yes yes and yes. I talked with you a few years ago and in the same situation- and it’s so easy for me to get pulled back into the guilt and shame from other believers, mainly about my parenting and how I’m not leading my children in the ways of God- even though we talk about God and study the Word every day. I know the guilt isn’t from my Father- but my earthly dad passed away in August and some of these issues I thought I had dealt with have now really raised their ugly heads, and I know he was so disappointed that we didn’t go to church every Sunday. It’s a challenge every Sunday for me to just breathe and trust that I am OK. Thank you for your encouragement and reminder. It was truly an answer to prayer tonight.

    1. Hi Shay. I’m sorry to hear about your father’s passing. The one thing you know now, however, is that he sees more clearly and wouldn’t have the same guilt to give you regarding how you’re raising your kids. In fact, he’s probably cheering you on more now than he ever has. I’m sure he now admires the courage you have to confront all the guilt and fear and do what Father has put on your heart. I know I do!

  2. Beautifully stated, I’ve had bad behavior at the same time that I was trying to find God’s leading and that’s not acceptable inside church institutions or any ministry, but it is to Jesus 👹😇

  3. It is true that trying to please others can really drag us away from God’s path. God’s will is not always to the liking of the people around us. But either way, we should trust God and not rely on people instead. God leads us the right way. Always. And we should really stop being afraid. If God is with us, who can be against us?

  4. I agree with this lady. I have tried numerous times to read HE LOVES ME to no avail. I feel that everyone but ” MOI” gets so much from “this little book ” as you call it. I have read “SO YOU DON’T WANT TO GO TO CHURCH ANYMORE ” zip, nada, nought “. God needed to do some wondrous work from my past, parentless childhood that I didn’t know was buried so deep within me. He did what He does best and took it all away. Then I picked up the Jake book again WOW you wrote it just for me.
    THANK YOU
    Gail Russell-Baker

  5. I can only say “Thank You” Wayne for your input into my life over the past years……
    I am “living loved” because of it.

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