Calling, Fear, Trusting God, When Fear Tests Our Faith series

Fear (Series): When Life Changes Course

@JeanneTakenaka +Jeanne Takenaka

Have you ever read a passage in the bible—one you’ve read many times before—and God just speaks to you? 

I don’t know how many times I’ve read about Saul’s and David’s lives over the years. But this time? The Lord showed me many things I never considered before. I noticed how differently Saul and David responded to fearful situations.

Maybe the stories of these two men spoke so deeply to my heart because I, too, have dealt with fear. I discovered valuable, timeless lessons to take away from their examples.

Over the next few weeks, I’m sharing some insights God has given me. If you’ve missed past posts, you can find them here. I hope you’ll share your thoughts, struggles, and victories here so we can all encourage each other, and maybe even pray for each other.

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Many years ago, when Peter was still a tiny baby, I already struggled with the fear of him rejecting me as he grew older. That rejection wound carved crevasses in my heart, hollowing me out and filling those spaces with the poison called fear. 

I was determined to love my little guy, but I was scared there would come a day that my love wouldn’t be enough for him.

Living in the shadow of fear is a no-win situation. It skews our thoughts, our hearts, our intentions. It slants the way we love and interact with others.

But, that baby . . . he began changing my life in ways I never could have anticipated. 

I recently (re-)read about the lives of Saul and David and noticed a number of things about fear. 

We’re introduced to Saul in 1 Samuel 9-10. Some donkeys wandered away from his father’s property. Saul and a couple servants were tasked to go find them. 

I wonder if he had any clue on the day he left to go find the wandering donkeys, that his path would angle toward kingship, not just being a son to his father.

Who knew when Saul sought out Samuel for answers about the goats, that the prophet would change his destiny? Instead of being a donkey-herder, Saul would be a leader of people. The very first king of Israel.

It wasn’t Saul’s idea to ask Samuel, it was his servant’s. But, Saul followed and found the seer. 

Samuel knew God’s plans for Saul. When he told the younger man he would be king, Saul deflected, pushing the words back toward Samuel. 

I can only imagine how shocking Samuel’s message was to Saul. He had come in search of donkeys and found a new calling. He only wanted to find the animals and go back home. 

I love how Samuel (speaking for God) gave Saul assurances that this truly was God’s plan. Samuel anointed Saul and spoke prophecies that came to pass. There was no reason for Saul to doubt God had given him the kingship.

And yet . . . 

On the day of his coronation, Saul tried to hide. Which wasn’t easy for a man who stood head and shoulders taller than everyone around him.

I’ve always wondered why Saul hid. Perhaps he was scared. Being scared is a normal thing. But when fear sneaks into our thoughts, we have two choices. We can listen to it, or we can ignore it. 

That day, Saul listened. It seemed better to hide than to be celebrated as the king of Israel.

I wonder if he feared the expectations of the Israelites? Or perhaps his own inadequacies? The responsibility? 

God didn’t allow him to stay hidden. And Saul was coronated as king.

When we embark on something new, unknown, hard, we will struggle with our thoughts, our perceived inadequacies. What we must remember is that, if God has directed us, He’ll walk with us as we learn to live out His calling, to fulfill our responsibilities. He never simply waves our direction, saying, “Best of luck to you! See you on the other side!”

No, He walks with us each step of the way. He holds our arm when we stumble. He strengthens us when we call on Him. 

We have a choice. Will we walk out our calling—the change in plans—in our own strength? Or, will we seek Him, and trust Him to guide and encourage us along the way? 

When we choose to walk in our own strength, fear slithers in. Because in our hearts, we know we’re not able to accomplish what God’s given us. Fear tends to dictate our actions, our plans. 

When we walk with Jesus, there’ll be times when we feel afraid, but we can count on Him to help us. We may do that thing scared, but we’ll do it with Him as our steadying presence. 

And as for those early days in fearing future rejection? God has a way of preparing us for each step of the journey. I haven’t done everything right as Peter’s mom. In these teen years I don’t fear his rejection. God gives His wisdom and insight in each interaction with our boys. And I know that, though Peter may not always like me, he does love me. 

What about you? When has fear tried to dictate your responses in a situation? What’s one lesson you’ve learned to help you overcome fear?

Click to Tweet: Will we walk out our calling—the change in plans—in our own strength? Or, will we seek Him, and trust Him to guide and encourage us along the way

I’m linking up with #RaRaLinkup and #TellHisStory

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18 thoughts on “Fear (Series): When Life Changes Course”

  1. Beautiful post and pictures, Jeanne, especially the flower peeking out from under a rock.

    I don’t recall when I got brash,
    and flipped a bird at fear.
    Might have been the aeroplane crash,
    or was it over beer?
    I do recall the feeling
    of a mild surprise,
    but it may have been the healing
    knowledge – everybody dies.
    Since we won’t get out alive,
    there’s no point being scared,
    and onward we can really thrive
    doing what we’d not have dared.
    So throw the shackles off, my friend;
    God will take you in the end.

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    1. Andrew, this poem . . . such a great perspective. You’re right about fear shackling us if we allow it to. Thanks for the reminder that, regardless of what happens here, one day we will be with the Lord. All those things that tried to make us fearful will be less than a vapor in eternity.

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  2. I’m pretty fearless—unless it has something to do with writing. That’s where I let fear choke me. I’m starting to realize that rejection in writing is not a reflection of me and my character—a sign I have more homework to do, perhaps, but not rejection of me as a person. Your photos are stunning! Zion or Bryce or somewhere around there?

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    1. Anita, I can see you as a fearless woman. It is interesting how, sometimes, those things closest to our hearts can cause us to fear. I’ve struggled with fear in my writing as well. That whole rejection thing? That has been the thing God has shown me time and again that I need to entrust to Him, rather than being fearful. I love the idea of having more homework to do. Me too, friend. Me too.

      Most of the pics are from Garden of the Gods. But the darker one is from Zion. 🙂

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  3. I love the way you intersperse your words with such amazing pictures. And this series on fear is coming at a great time for our family. There are some big changes on the horizon. Thanks for reassurance that God is in this, even when I can’t see past the turn in the road.

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    1. Awww, Michele. Change has a way of inducing or inviting fear, doesn’t it? I look forward to hearing what God shares with you as you walk through your family changes. I’m so glad these words spoke to you, my friend.

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  4. In the process of hormonal changes, I have to consciously be aware that my feelings are not reality! This is when I’m grateful God made me a ‘thinker’, however I have reacted from my feelings including that fear feeling which takes me into flight mode. Sharing what the scriptures teach about fear is a tangible way to help see the real truth! Thanks for sharing what you are learning in His word, Jeanne. It’s a blessing!

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    1. Lynn, Yes, I know the hormonal changes of which you speak. When I was in college, I attended a Sunday school class where we went through Dr James Dobson’s book, Emotions: Can You Trust Them? At least, I think that was the name of the book. It was positively eye-opening for me. And now, trying to help my boys understand the concept that no, we really can’t trust our emotions, is challenging, because they feel so real. I have had to remind myself often that a fear response is rarely justified. And turning to Scripture is a great way to help us combat fear when it feels so real.

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  5. Thank you for the beautiful examination of Saul and Samuel. I especially liked this: “When we choose to walk in our own strength, fear slithers in”. I have allowed fear to slither in too often and always wind up feeling regretful. I don’t know that I have a specific method to face my fears, but prayer and a whole lot of very brave, encouraging friends helps!

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    1. Laurie, thanks for your kind words. I’ve allowed fear too much of a foothold in my life. I’ve been working to turn all of them over to the Lord. I agree with you, prayer is an effective way of taking the reins on fear. And yes to brave encouraging friends! I’m blessed to have some in my life as well. 🙂

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  6. As always, your photos are breath-taking, Jeanne. Raising teenage boys can really be hard, but your boys are blessed to have you. I pray God will continue to give you strength and wisdom. Fear has been too much a part of my life, especially the fear to trust. But now that God has helped me to trust Him as One who will never hurt me and is always out for my good, I am more willing to grasp Jesus’ hand, knowing He’ll help me to the next step, no matter how afraid I am. With Him at my side, I am slowly learning to get through other fears. I love that He is so tender and patient with me. Love and blessings to you!

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    1. Trudy, thanks for your kind words. You are such an encourager! I am also blessed to be mom to my boys. I will take those prayers. My youngest has been fighting Influenza A all week. it’s been kind of a busy/at home kind of week so I can be here for him.

      Fear in trusting is understandable. But you’re right. We can always trust God. He is always out for our good. I’m so glad He’s helping you see His presence and His love for you. We are blessed to be loved by such an amazing Father, aren’t we? Sending you love and blessings back, my friend!

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  7. This sounds like a great series, Jeanne! I identify all too readily with Saul’s feelings of fear at being asked to take on a task that feels too big, but I agree, the key is focusing on God – looking at his strength rather than our own limitations. That helps a lot!

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  8. Jeanne, your pictures are making me want to return to the Garden of the Gods! I love your point that God doesn’t just wave at us and say, “See you on the other side.” It reminds me of that old chorus that says, “He didn’t bring us this far to leave us …” I’ll be looking forward to reading more of your insights about fear. 🙂

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    1. Lois, if/when you come back, we need to get together. 🙂 I’m so glad God walks closely with us through each trial, each struggle. I like that reminder, “He didn’t bring us this far to leave us.”

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  9. Your questions at the end are very convicting. I let fear of the unknown have the last say in certain situations and it has never led me the right way. I am learning to ignore the fear and look for God’s truth, but I am a slow learner.

    Thank you for highlighting a subject that many of us wrestle with daily. I love knowing that God walks with us and never leaves us lost on the way to Him.

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    1. I have already been convicted by this series, Mary. God keeps showing me areas where fear tries to sway me toward self-focus rather than God-focus. Looking to God’s truth is crucial in dealing wtih and overcoming fear’s impact on our lives, isn’t it? I’m with you, so thankful God walks with us and is always with us.

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