“So what are y’all declaring?”
The middle-aged man paused in front of me, his thick Texan accent hanging in the air. It was a logical question. My nametag had the name of the conference emblazoned across it in bright purple: Declare.
“We’re declaring our love for Jesus,” I said without hesitation.
Fidgeting a little, I looked at him and secretly hoped he wouldn’t start an argument. I was in unfamiliar territory. Were Texans friendly?
“Well, that’s a good thing to be declarin’,” he said, and walked off, a single male in a sea of estrogen and high-pitched conversation.
My body relaxed but my head raced. What if he hadn’t been so agreeable? If he’d started an argument, would I have remained unmoved?
I’d like to think so. After all, we were in America and this man was a complete stranger. I wasn’t in a country where people are imprisoned for their beliefs or fearing for their lives because they are Christians.
What if I was?
In this brief moment I was bold, but so often I am timid and insecure. I miss opportunities to share the love of the Gospel because I am afraid of judgment and isolation.
I let my feelings dictate my behavior. My self-conscious, flighty feelings tell me I’m not good enough or well-versed enough, so I stay quiet.
As I sat outside in the first crisp breezes of a new season this morning, I read Psalm 42. Sheer poetry jumped off the page and I soaked it in the poignant descriptions, but one facet of the Psalm stayed with me throughout the day: Instead of letting his feelings dictate who he will become, David commands them.
He commands his soul to hope in God.
Why are you cast down, O my soul,
Why are you in turmoil within me?
Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise him,
my Savior and my God.
Psalm 42: 5-6 NIV
Even though David is overwhelmed by the circumstances of life, he commands his soul to give thanks. He directs his soul to place hope in the only One who stands firm and secure when his situation is rocky and uncertain.
Hope placed in a fickle feeling will never satisfy, but hope in an unchanging God will not disappoint.
Where is my hope? Where is yours? Is it in your abilities or the temporary high you get when you accomplish something on your to-do list? Is it in the praise and affirmations of others?
The truth is, regardless of how I feel God calls be to step forward in obedience. Even if the man at the conference hadn’t been friendly, God’s Spirit would have been present, guiding my words and guarding my heart.
Sometimes we have to place our feelings aside and step out in faith.
Being brave doesn’t mean not having doubts. It means trusting God more than our emotions.
When step out, we see the faithfulness of a loving God who never leaves us or forsakes us. He transforms our weaknesses and insecurities into evidence of his power.
Today, I’m commanding my soul to be brave even when my feelings say I’m the opposite. I’m doing the next new thing, because of where I put my hope.
Through his strength alone, I am an unstoppable force.
*Linking up with Grace & Truth and Dance With Jesus.