Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Fear of Man

I sit cross-legged on my bed, laptop on lap, stacks of reference books around me. All right. Eight papers down, six to go. We can do this. I’m focused, attention fixed on the subject matter before me. Suddenly my mind jerks from the paper I’m trying to grade. A random thought flashes through my consciousness-- “What did that person think of me?” I just finished a conversation with someone, and I find myself desirous of his or her approval. Another thought comes at me—“Did I seem too professional? Does it appear that I’m trying too hard?” More thoughts begin to fly about, one from the left, another from the right—“Did that conversation impress? Or did it cause him or her to look down on me? Am I too eager? What did that other person say about me?”

Feelings of fear wash over me—a guilty, sick sort of feeling that starts as a hard knot in the pit of my stomach and spreads up towards my heart and over my head like an icy-cold heat wave. My mind is suddenly overrun, as if it were the target in a dive-bomb attack—“What do they think of me? Are they impressed with my skills or do they view me as a little pipsqueak trying to get in with the Big Dogs? Did I do or say something wrong? What can I do different in the future? Will this affect how [a third person] thinks of me? I know they talk often. I wonder if they ever talk about me. I know I’m not that good at what I do… what have they said about my work? What if [the second person] sees this project I’m working on? I know I haven’t had the training for it, but time and necessity require that I work on it. Should I ask for help? What if I don’t do it right?”

NO!! I will not give into these feelings! I will not allow the fear of man to rule me! I will not place people on pedestals. I will not give into to idol-worship. God, I will love You with all of my strength. You are God—You are my Strength (Ps. 18:1). I will place Your approval above the approval of people in my life. I will base my success on Your opinion of me, rather than on my assumption of others’ opinion of me. I will not allow myself to dwell on possible comments or assumed expectations. I will not allow the fear of man to grip and disable me. I will love You, O Lord, my strength.

As a child of God, my standing in society is not based upon the approval or recognition of my fellow man. A human being cannot make me any more of a person than I already am—only Jesus Christ can do this. A friend and comrade cannot bring me success, make me “a somebody,” or affect my right standing with God. Only my Dearest Father can do this. My position as a child of God is not contingent upon my accomplishments or skills as a photographer, program coordinator, “graphic designer,” daughter, or employee; my acceptance in the Body of Christ is not based on my personality, strengths, or abilities; my right standing in the Throne Room of the Holy God is not depicted by my phone etiquette, job training, or interpersonal relations; my sweet relationship with my Lord is not based on what my family, friends, coworkers, or authorities think of me.

I am the child of my Lord. I am covered in the blood of Christ. Here I stand. I can do no less.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007


by Nichole Nordeman

Send some rain, would You send some rain?
'Cause the earth is dry and needs to drink again
And the sun is high and we are sinking in the shade
Would You send a cloud, thunder long and loud?
Let the sky grow black and send some mercy down
Surely You can see that we are thirsty and afraid
But maybe not, not today
Maybe You'll provide in other ways
And if that's the case ...

We'll give thanks to You with gratitude
For lessons learned in how to thirst for You
How to bless the very sun that warms our face
If You never send us rain

Daily bread, give us daily bread
Bless our bodies, keep our children fed
Fill our cups, then fill them up again tonight
Wrap us up and warm us through
Tucked away beneath our sturdy roofs
Let us slumber safe from danger's view this time
Or maybe not, not today
Maybe You'll provide in other ways
And if that's the case ...

We'll give thanks to You with gratitude
A lesson learned to hunger after You
That a starry sky offers a better view
If no roof is overhead
And if we never taste that bread

Oh, the differences that often are between
Everything we want and what we really need

So grant us peace, Jesus, grant us peace
Move our hearts to hear a single beat
Between alibis and enemies tonight
Or maybe not, not today
Peace might be another world away
And if that's the case ...

We'll give thanks to You with gratitude
For lessons learned in how to trust in You
That we are blessd beyond what we could ever dream
In abundance or in need
And if You never grant us peace ...

But, Jesus, would You please ...