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

Fear (series): When We Have an Agenda

@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. But this time? The Lord has shown me many things I never considered before. I noticed how differently Saul and David responded to fearful situations in our lives.

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

This is the fourth and final post in this series. If you’ve missed past posts, you can find them here. Thank you so much for joining me on this journey to better understanding fear and how deal with it when it tests our faith.

*****

A few years back, one of the boys and I went through a difficult season. The hard-heartedness, back-talk, stubbornness, unwillingness to yield . . . had me on my knees in prayer and praying throughout each day.

The “rebellious force” was strong with this one. He had his agenda, and it didn’t match mine. One morning, I was driving somewhere talking with the Lord about this child. Fear had dug in, sprinkling in doubt and worry about the upcoming teen years. I couldn’t even handle him at nine.

The Lord told me that I was not to worry about the teen years. He shared that He was using each day, every current interaction with our boys, to form me into the mother I’d need to be in future years. Kind of like stepping stones. Walking through ups and downs with our kids would prepare me for when they arrived at thirteen and beyond.

I look at Saul and how he clung to his reign with a vice-like grip. He knew God said the kingdom would be stripped from him and given to another. But he refused to accept this. Instead of having a repentant heart, his heart grew harder. More calloused. 

Saul feared  David because he knew God was with David. When our eyes are on ourselves—when our hearts are self-focused—our ugly inside tends to spew outward. Saul’s ugly was revealed as he plotted ways to “kill the competition.” But God protected the younger man.

He witnessed his own plans coming to ruin. Had Saul begun preparing his son Jonathan to take the throne when he died? Perhaps he had plans for the nation. He probably had plans for his own future as king of Israel.

Fear drove Saul to clamp onto his agenda, which ran contrary to God’s intentions. He fought God to establish his plans, but God thwarted him. 

David handled his fear in a different way. He cried out to the Lord when he was afraid. 

David listened and continued to seek God. He asked for God’s wisdom, listened to God’s plans, and obeyed them. And God honored this. God’s agenda was carried out through David.

As I’ve studied these two men, I noticed defining things about fear:

  • We all face fear during seasons in our lives. The question is, what will we do with it? We always have a choice of how we’ll respond.
  • Saul allowed fear to rule him. It prompted him to hold tightly to what he thought was his. This hardened his heart and pushed him to courses of action borne from deep insecurity.
  • David turned to God and laid open his heart before the Lord. He trusted God to hear him and offer counsel. David followed God’s leading and experienced God’s favor. 
  • When God asks us to obey Him in a fear-inducing way—maybe by encouraging us to do something that seems crazy or way outside our comfort zones—our choice will lead to blessings or regret. Obeying His direction doesn’t always make life easier, but it inevitably draws us closer to the Lord and offers us peace. Giving fear the upper hand and chasing our agenda instead of God’s leads to unsettledness and to distancing from the One who loves us most. 
  • Trusting God is the only way to overcome fear’s influence. We can only see from one moment to the next. But He knows the path to bring us beyond fear. He knows the plans He has for us, and He knows our future.  

Both of our boys are now teens. We still have hard days. But God has shown me the truth of His words from that difficult morning a few years back. I’m not the perfect mom, but He’s shared insights into our sons that help me navigate the tough seasons. He also gives me His eyes to view them through a lens of love and grace and not just frustration.

When fear creeps in, throwing worst-case scenarios into my thoughts, I’m learning to ask God to help me keep my thoughts on what’s true. To trust His guidance when I can’t see the way forward. 

Here is a closing thought from blogging friend and author, Betsy DeCruz (find out more about Betsy here)

“Fear makes us feel we’re on shaky ground, but with God we’re on holy ground. So take courage for your next step, my friend. God will never leave you, and He will not fail you.” ~Betsy DeCruz

What about you? What helps you make good choices when what you want is different from what God’s telling you? What’s your best tip for overcoming fear?

One more song that has honed my perspective about fear:

Click to Tweet: When God asks us to obey Him in a fear-inducing way, our choice will lead to blessings or regret.

I’m linking up with #TellHisStory

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11 thoughts on “Fear (series): When We Have an Agenda”

  1. Love the honesty, depth, and transparency here, Jeanne. And the pictures, especially the river beneath the bridges!

    If this is what God had in mind,
    I sure don’t want it…do I?
    Cancers been anything but kind
    and it’s not a nice way to die.
    But maybe on the other hand
    there’s some grace shining through
    going from life comparatively bland
    to the turning of hell’s screw.
    The ordinary’s far, far gone
    and days have a vivid palette
    for eyes and heart to feast upon
    while I’m beaten with a mallet.
    And maybe He needed me beaten witless
    to understand what it is to witness.

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    1. Oh Andrew, your poem. I read it hours ago and still don’t have the perfect words. I guess what comes to mind is that, in the pain of this life we always have the opportunity to see our Father working in our lives, teaching us, and conforming us into the image of Jesus. Though not physically, you resemble Him more and more, my friend.

      I continue to pray for you.

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  2. Jeanne, several posts you have made recently have spoken to me so deeply. I’ve been following you for years and I love the depth of what you write. Thank you for sharing your heart.

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  3. I love these posts where you share your mothering journey because we’re in this together. With one more teen in the house full time, there are days when I want to coast–we’ve been through this all before, but the urgent truth is that HE has not been through his teen years before. It’s all new again, one more time! Even on the days when I feel as if I am being dragged, I want to hang on. . .

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    1. We are in this together, Michele. I often think of you, especially when I’m having a “bad mom day,” or something along those lines, because I know you’ve had them too. 😉 It’s such a good reminder to me that this is the first time my sons are “doing the teen years.” I have to remember they’re trying to figure it all out, just like I’m trying to figure out how to mother BOYS. 🙂 Thanks for your encouragement and insights. 🙂

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  4. This has been a great series, Jeanne, and a good challenge to think through how we respond to fear. I think we all feel fear at times but we have a choice to make about whether we allow it to have the upper hand or whether we turn to God. Saul and David’s story gives great insights about the consequences of that choice.

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  5. My daughter is struggling with her 18 year old who thinks he knows everything. I keep reminder her with teens you must have long range vision. My husband and I share ahouse with our son, wife and three children, age 10, 8 and 3. It’s fun now to watch them parent knowing these are the easy years. We have learned to step back and allow them to make their own mistakes unless they ask us for advice. this is a tough world to raise children in. Great post.

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  6. Thank you for being so vulnerable throughout this series on fear. Mothering is hard at any age, but also comes with sweet rewards. Your willingness to get down on your knees before God has brought you to where you are today.

    These words —> When our eyes are on ourselves—when our hearts are self-focused—our ugly inside tends to spew outward — really hit me hard. I still think I can take care of things by myself in certain situations. Never a good idea! But then you point out how trusting God is the only way to overcome fear’s influence. Amen.

    I appreciate you and learn so much from you.

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