Gosh Darn Fear, would you get out of here?

Fear. It cripples us as it ripples anxiety through our souls. Stress about the nearest future, worry about the what-if's, and fear shatters our hope of the unknowns. Our entire being groans as we begin to believe the lies that are thrown at us. Lies that proclaim we are entirely alone. Lies that say we are nothing but walking skin and bones, flesh. Fear. It distorts reality, removing us from the present. Unable to see past any practicality, fear ushers us into this very real insanity. I have discovered a very practical tool to fight this thing called fear.

Have you seen the movie After Earth? It features the wonderful Will Smith and his son, Jaden. It's about an alien species that took over earth, forcing what was left of humanity to live in space. Will & Jaden's space ship thing crashes onto earth and basically it's scary because there are aliens that are going to kill him and all of that crazy movie stuff.

The movie is all about fear.

Fear of what could happen, what might happen, and what probably won't happen. Loren and I were watching it and Will Smith gets all real-talk and says, "Fear is not real. The only place that fear can exist is in our thoughts of the future. It is a product of our imagination, causing us to fear things that do not at present and may not ever exist. That is near insanity. Do not misunderstand me, danger is very real but fear is a choice." And I'm on the couch eating popcorn just like, "Preach it, Will. That's my man." Really, he isn't my man at all. He just happens to look like my brother so I feel this connection with him. It's like we are pals.

Believe it or not, some time after watching that movie, I actually began to fear! I know, I know, you can't believe it. But really, about 6 seconds after the movie ended I caught myself worrying my way to fear about the pillows I was making for a customer and "What if they dont like them? What if they don't fit right? What if __" Then good ole Will's voice said to me: "Take a knee; root yourself in this present moment now to sight, sound, smell." So I did: I was laying on our comfortable couch, husband's arms holding me close, the house was calm and there was absolutely nothing at present to worry about. Nothing to fear. In fact, I was immensely blessed in that very moment. You would think that would have nipped my worrying in the bud, but about 13 minutes later when I was brushing my teeth my mind began rabbit trailing down the path of fearing offending people... Will Smith said to me again, "Take a knee; root yourself in this present moment now to sight, sound, smell. Fear is not real. The only place that fear can exist is in our thoughts of the future. It is a product of our imagination, causing us to fear things that do not at present and may not ever exist."

I worry. I fear humans. It is an ongoing battle, a constant war over my mind. Can fear just leave already? Fear is a trap, an unwelcome prison. Maybe you aren't so different. It is often that I have to remind myself to combat those fleeting and dangerous thoughts with thanksgiving. Saying "thank you" or listing off the many reasons I have to be thankful is the cure to my {sin of} worrying and fearing. It turns my heart towards the right direction.

You know what? When I slow down enough to root myself in each present moment, my fears vanish and I am deeply grateful for my present life. When I root myself in the sight, sound, smell, the reality of the here and the now, I have absolutely nothing to fear. When we fear, we are actually racing ahead and into the what-if's of the future; we are speeding up time with worry. And when we give thanks, rooting ourselves in the present, time slows down and our heart calms into a place of peace. Will Smith knows his stuff. {I'm just going to assume he wrote the lines because I really think he is actually my brother. And my brother is amazing}.

Flower photography

Now throw this into the equation: The God of this very universe, the Lord of all creation, the Creator of the sunset and the lilies and the very body your soul resides in...He is with you. You may or likely may not know this, but its real and its true. Lord Jesus the Messiah is with you, by your side and holding your heart and carrying your current circumstance.

Can you root yourself into that reality? Please try it. Close your eyes, {I guess you should read this first then close your eyes}, root yourself in the present, imagine and see the God of the universe as your Father, holding your hand. Or maybe you're sitting in His lap crying. Or maybe you're dancing through a field or running up a mountain to race the sun or doing yoga on the top of a sand dune or fishing in the great beauty of a lake. Whatever it is, He is there, He is with you and you have no reason to fear. If you allow yourself to live the Truth of His heart for you, you will not fear. What truth? This truth:

Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure. 6

He has loved you since before the beginning and He identifies you as HIS. You need not fear what your boss or your friend or your pastor or even your spouse thinks of you; these are humans. You need not fear what needs to get done tomorrow. You need not fear how you are going to pay the bills and feed yourself. This is a promise: "Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need," Matthew 6:33. To seek the Kingdom of God is to be in His presence, desiring what He desires - when you are in His presence, rooting yourself in that reality, there is no reason to fear.

Romans 5:1 says that we have been made righteous in God’s sight by faith.  "Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see," Hebrews 11:1.  Did you know that "to live righteously" is simply having faith in God that He will keep His promises, especially the promises we have not yet seen fulfilled? Even the promises like, "blessed are the humble and meek" - I have found time and time again that He is so right; when I am humbled, it is a blessing. I have faith that He means what He says in His bible, even when what He says tests my limits and stretches me..alot.

Friends. You are so loved. You are so well cared for. He does not have any intention to hurt you or desert you or leave you hanging high and dry. {I dont even know what that saying means}. If you are submitting your heart to Him and seeking His will {which is simply to be thankful in all circumstances}, every single need will be provided for you. It's not conditional, it just is. He has your back, He won't let you down, He has never failed us. He keeps His word, friends. He is the best of pals and the greatest of Dads. He is your Redeemer, your Savior, your sturdy foundation to stand upon.

Fear's prison is all about the future. You are not responsible for the future. You cannot control the what-if's. But you are responsible for the now, the present, and you can control your thoughts. I invite you to join me, take a knee.

When you feel fear creeping in, root yourself in the present. Take in the sight, the smell, the sounds. Remind yourself that presently your God is with you. Presently, and since before He made you, He calls you His and holy and faultless. That is the identity that you and I are both invited into. The freedom is real and invigorating. It is empowering. Root yourself in the present.

Don’t be afraid, for I am with you.     Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you.     I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.

5 Lessons from the "Old Burn Outs."

It is often that we spend time with couples that are older than us. We do this for many reasons, the main reason being they tend to be full of experience and stories and lessons learned. Lessons we may glean from, wisdom we don't yet hold, adventures that inspire and excite us. They remind us that we are young and we have plenty of life ahead, but also that it passes faster than we realize. They share with us ways to connect as friends and spouses, and offer us rest in knowing they are here for us. BBQ

Sadly, one of these couples is moving. They have been an integral part of our community here in Corvallis, and though we are bummed to see them go, we are excited for their new adventure. I am all for adventures, friends, so I salute you as you venture towards central Oregon.

This particular couple invited us to their home many times for dinners and desserts and a multitude of bonfires. They built their house on the Willamette River, and can I say it is extravagant? Absolutely beautiful. At one point, they offered us to live in their guest home. For free. Because they are just that generous. A beautiful characteristic within itself {generosity}. For some reason they enjoyed calling themselves the Old Burn Outs - but if we are honest, they are nothing near old and they are definitely far from burnt out!

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Peoria, OR  unnamed

Peoria, OR

Peoria, OR

5 Lessons from The Old Burn Outs

1.Don't waste time worrying or being anxious. "I look back and wonder why I wasted so much time and energy on worry and anxiety. It got me no where. It fixed nothing. It only made me sick; I didn't enjoy life when I worried. It got me no where. Whatever adventure you're on, whatever problem you're facing, DON'T WORRY. It will work out, because it always does. And worrying doesn't fix a thing. I promise."

2. When you can't sleep, call out to Jesus, out loud. "You know at night when I can't sleep, I sing out to Jesus and I am immediately covered with peace. You call upon His name, out loud, and the enemy will flee. It's a miracle."

3. Don't be afraid of change. This is just the beginning of your life! You won't be here, in this particular season, forever. "You guys are so young, you're this generation, and we are extremely excited to watch you flourish in your ministry. This is just the beginning! You never know where The Lord will take you. Could be Canada or Europe or the East Coast. Could be just down the road and over to Bend. Just keep your hands open and your heart willing. This is simply a journey on Earth full of lots of chapters. We want to support you til we die, we love you guys like our own kids."

4. You can be on your honeymoon until death do you part. "You know, our first 6 years of marriage were hard and not so great. But then we found Jesus and realized we could be on our honeymoon again. For the last 31 years, we've been on our honeymoon. Stay on it, keep it alive, and always serve each other. Don't yell or call names, remind each other why you're married and always pray together. Keep it fun and stay friends."

5. Believe in those younger than you. Every time we see the Zounes, they tell us how much they believe in us. They remind us why they invest their time and their love and their energy into us. "You are this generation, you are the next big leaders. You are changing this world. Always invest in the next generation." They have told us many times how much they believe in us - every time, I am encouraged and empowered. It would be doing a disservice to them and to others if we held those words and truths to ourselves - Loren and I have both told others how much we believe in them. We want to share that with our students as much as possible: how much we believe in them. How much they can change this world, through the strength and by the blood of Jesus Christ. They are the next generation and we want to invest as much as we can into them. It means so much that those before us are investing in us; we don't want that to stop.

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Peoria, OR

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Peoria, OR

99% of these lessons have been learned by this very fire pit, on this very river. We will miss these moments but are so grateful to have the memories made and the wisdom gained.

Thank you, John & Tracy.

We will miss being near you, but you won't be too far from us.

We love you.

 

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