For the past number of years, maybe even a decade by now, God brings to my mind a word, a phrase or a scripture…sometimes all three…to focus on for the year. Last year my word was ‘abide’ and it was such a great reminder to draw near to Him in all circumstances that came up in life, but more than that, to grow in Him so that I can become more fruitful:
“Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me.” John 15:4 NASB
As I have been thinking and praying about what my word, phrase, or scripture may be for 2020, the word “fearless” keeps coming up, but it wasn’t sitting right with me. To be fearless means to be free from fear and I have learned in the past two months, that fear doesn’t have to be bad. Fear is a combination of complex physical, emotional and mental components and is critical for survival. Our mind and body needs to know fear so that we aren’t harmed. Some fears are instinctive (survival). Some fears are learned (people, places or situations due to negative associations or past experiences) and some fears can be partially imagined.
This past year I was diagnosed with a rare and non-serious congenital heart condition called WPW Syndrome. Basically, I have an extra electrical pathway in my heart that, from time to time, messes with the regulation of my heartbeat. In the past year, the symptoms of this condition have become increasingly worse and escalated this November, landing me in the E.R.. When I have an episode and my heart beat is confused because of this extra electrical pathway, it sometimes goes away with few symptoms, but sometimes my heart races so quickly, and my blood pressure rises so high, that my body tells my mind that I am in trouble and fight or flight kicks in, telling my mind I need help. Logically I know that I am not in danger, but the biological instinct is that I am in trouble and my body reacts accordingly. That experience was so terrifying for me that now, whenever my heart skips a beat or has palpitations, fear kicks in. I know that this is a learned fear from my previous experience and it is partially imagined. At that point it is not instinctive…although it can escalate to that point. So, after learning more about fear and our bodies and how fear is wired into our bodies to protect us, I have a hard time with ‘fearless’ being my word for the year, but I know that fear has been the thorn in my side since I was born, so it has to be related to this somehow. What could God be pointing me towards? Which words or phrases are related to being fearless? Brave? Courageous?
I started to think and pray about this and the encouragement, scriptures and words that have been spoken over our lives this past year. They are huge and honestly, terrifying for me, because there is no way I am capable…and maybe that’s what makes them each a God thing, because it will have to be all God for them to come to be. Fear could very easily keep me from moving forward into the pathway that God is clearly laying out for us. It’s going to take bravery AND courage AND a lot of risk taking. Then the word ‘bold’ came to my mind. To be bold means to show an ability to take risks and be confident, courageous, and brave.
“For this reason I urge you to boldly believe for whatever you ask for in prayer—be convinced that you have received it and it will be yours.” Mark 11:24 TPT
“Since we have such a hope, we are very bold.” 2 Corinthians 3:12 TPT
Perhaps God wasn’t asking me to be fearless, perhaps He is asking me to Be Bold & Fear Less.