Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the LORD your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.Deuteronomy 31:6
At the beginning of the year, I did something that I rarely event do, which is make New Years resolutions, they are so easy to break and hard to keep up with and continue. I have made some excuses and many things have happened in the first four months of this year that seemed to get me down and not follow through on my resolutions. Hopefully, this will change and I can get back on track for the remainder of the year. If you do not remember my resolutions, here they are:
First of all, I am going to be more positive and optimistic. I try to do this anyway, at least for those around me, but it resolve to do this for me as well. I will eat healthier and exercise more so that I build up my endorphin levels and feel better (this one might be a hard one, but it will try). My second resolution is to be more proactive in making myself happier. Which means, I am going to live each day to the fullest, and not shy away from opportunities. It also means that I am going to be more outgoing and build my self esteem. My second resolution means that I am going to work on personal growth, and this may be the most difficult of them all. My last resolution is that I am going to read more. This is my easiest resolution.
As I said, the last one was the easiest. I have been reading more and once I got back to making he time to read, I have rediscovered the immense joy it brings me, which brings me to the first resolution. It has been difficult at times to be positive and optimistic these first four months of 2014. My aunt's death, HRH's health, other health concerns, my own and others, and the frustration with students, have all a made positive thoughts and optimism difficult. However, I have some truly wonderful friends whom I love and love me that have continued to bring positive thoughts to my mind and helped me to be more optimistic.
The second resolution was to be more proactive with my own happiness. For me, I think that means being bolder and going after what I want. Have I been successful with this? Not as much as I would hope, and that I have allowed myself to blame on the setbacks with my first resolution. But I am taking some bolder steps, especially in the last week or so, and I do feel more confident and alive.
Boldness is our willingness to venture out and do the right thing at the right time, regardless of the barriers or fears we may encounter. This enables us to speak the truth, and perform a task without fear of the consequences or results, because, it is the right thing to do. It is realizing that God is in control. He is there within, and beside us, and He will take care of us. Therefore, we do not need to fear what others can do; rather, we are to concentrate on our character and call, and do it with passion and conviction.
Cowardice, fearfulness, cynicism, negativity, discouragement, and pessimism are all opposites. These negative traits create a negative attitude that is infectious to others. It causes people not to take the chance to go forward with what God is leading them to do. Thus, the person remains ensnared in fear, allowing obstacles to stop him so that the work our Lord has for us remains undone.
God is calling us to be bold. If you have the tendency to not take chances in life because we are afraid of making mistakes, God wants us to know He's pleased with us when we try. It doesn't matter if you don't do everything exactly right. What matters is that we step out in faith, believing God will help us!
Second Timothy 1:7 says "for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control."—and He wants us to use it! It doesn't take courage to do what we already know we can do. True courage is displayed when we are afraid to do something but we go ahead and do it anyway. The truth is, we don't ever have to fear because we can ask God for His help anytime we need it.
There are so many people who are so afraid of making a mistake that they don't do anything. Instead, they sit around saying, "What if I'm wrong?" Well, we're human. We're going to make mistakes and look silly from time to time. We can be so afraid of being judged or criticized or getting laughed at. But the only thing fear does in our lives is stop our progress.
What matters to God is relationship…not performance. God knows we aren't perfect, and He's totally okay with it. Romans 3:23 says "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." The problem is, the devil knows it too, and he does his best to tell us every step of the way! We can be going along, serving God, doing good, stepping out in faith and then all of a sudden, without there being any justification for it, we'll have a day or week when we have an attack on our mind about fear. That's when we need to say what God's Word tells us:
For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete. — 2 Corinthians 10:4-6
We can care too much about what people think of us to the point where it totally immobilizes us and we are petrified about looking wrong. But do you know what? I think if we are more truthful, we will actually get more respect than we do by trying to hide everything, pretending we're perfect.
We need to stop living in fear of making mistakes, because we will make mistakes—period. God is not asking us to not make any mistakes. He's calling us to be bold—fearless in approaching Him, in stepping out in faith, and in trusting Him to lead us. I for one plan to be bolder. Not only in my faith, but also in my personal life. This does not mean that I will come out of the closet. No, I need my job, and though people have suspicions and gossip about my sexuality, they do not need confirmation, because then they can use it as a weapon. However, I can be bolder and not have to fear all the complications that may arise. I just have to be smart about my boldness and pick the battles I want to fight. Nothing helps more than turning to God and receiving encouragement from friends who love and respect you and just as God does, wants to see you happy.
As an addendum, actually an aside, today is Mother's Day. I never let a Mother's Day go by without this post, so I'm adding it to today's:
I hope that we all think of our mothers today. I love my mama, but like all mothers, she drives me crazy sometimes. She has been in a long, period of depression since she found out I was gay, but that was relieved somewhat by the birth of my niece, so she now has the grand-baby she always wanted. She is still convinced I am going to hell, but she doesn't say it as much anymore. As long as it is a "don't ask, don't tell, don't discuss" situation, we get along great. In fact, on Memorial Day, we will be going on a cruise together, just she and I for four days. It was a cruise she was supposed to go on with her sister, but when her sister died she decided she wanted me to go with her. Also, my sister is pregnant and can't go, and my daddy said he'd never go on another cruise. So it will just be us, a mother/son vacation.
So even if your mother drives you crazy, I hope that you still have a good relationship with her and tell her how much you love her today.
I love you, Mama.