2 Timothy 1:7-8 says: 7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. 8 So never be ashamed to tell others about our Lord. And don’t be ashamed of me, either, even though I’m in prison for him. With the strength God gives you, be ready to suffer with me for the sake of the Good News.
This one hit me square in the jaw after being asked to speak about chaplaincy at church yesterday. The last-minute, morning-of-speaking request threw me off. I am not a public speaker and I am pretty good at arranging my life to avoid that type of discomfort but when the ask came in I thought thoughts that were very similar to this passage and instead of going with my natural instinct of saying heck no, or suggesting another time infinitely in the future when I can properly prepare, I said yes. Instead of writing something down I just prayed and asked God to share through me what he would want me to share. After doing so, I am glad I did or this verse would have hit me even harder this morning than it did!
It is not that I am ‘ashamed’ of God’s Kingdom by any means but too often I lean toward my own comfort over being bold and outspoken for the Lord. These verses are a great reminder that I can’t do that. I can’t allow myself to fall victim to fear or be timid when it comes to proclaiming the Lord. He has changed my life. He has saved my life. He is doing great things in me and through me and I should be happy and excited to share those. The truth is I am. It is just that too often I allow myself to slip into the areas I feel comfortable and safe. I miss opportunities to connect with others one on one, or in big groups like speaking to the entire congregation because of my own fear and discomfort and I need to take Paul’s prompting of Timothy here to heart. I can’t let my own fear or timidity hold me back from His mission.
Yesterday stretched me though and I am glad I allowed myself to be stretched. Stretching is good. The stretching through chaplaincy has been life-changing. I have been seeing God do amazing things. I have also seen God doing great things in me by putting me in situations I have no ability to handle without Him. It was an honor to get to share about that and even though I probably could’ve said what I said better with some preparation I got great feedback from others that were listening and hopefully if nothing else people realized that there are ways that they can serve the Lord outside of the church. I don’t expect everyone to want to become a police chaplain but I do hope that they can see God is working in many areas and in many ways. There are plenty of opportunities to serve beyond the church walls. I also hope that those listening see the benefits of using their gifting to step out and serve His Kingdom.
I think we can all benefit from not allowing ourselves to live restrained by fear. Our calling may be different. Our fears and worries are going to be different but no matter what we’re up against we can trust in God. He is the answer and He loves us. We shouldn’t allow anything to hold us back from serving and growing His Kingdom. If He asks, the answer should always be YES, Lord!