The Step

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. 
 I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:40

I'm standing in the middle of a lake, my feet struggling to grip the small, mossy stone beneath me. The watery surface around me is entirely shrouded in white fog, and I can't see what lies beneath, or what lies ahead.

I hover my foot in front of me, weighing up the risks, hoping if I place my foot down into the mist, my weight will fall on the next hidden stepping stone and not plunge beneath dark waters taking the rest of me with it.

You can do this. Just put your foot down.

Why aren't you moving?

Just step out.

But here I still stand, stilted, hesitant and resistant.

I've been fighting myself over the past few months trying to stir up the will to move forwards into the unseen, but I have struggled to face this choice and until now have felt unprepared to write about it and hold myself accountable in such a public way.

You see, everywhere I have been turning, God has been whispering the same revelation into my heart:

Do not fear.

And, up until this moment, I have responded by repeatedly reefing His kind words from my chest and pretending they were never there at all.

For my entire life I have been plagued by fear, and I have spent years praying for courage, for release from the suffocating tendrils of this faceless anxiety, but have never been willing to actually make any changes in order to make that happen. Because, if I'm being really honest with myself, as much as I hate being afraid, I am very comfortable here on this jagged and slippery stone.

The truth is, here I have excuses not to leave the boundaries of my comfort zone, here is safe and familiar. Here I have limitations on myself, so I never have to be embarrassed or disappointed or face failure. Here I can stand in my half life forever; complacent, still and unseen by the world, my potential remaining a secret to everyone, even to me. I have reduced all of my dreams and capabilities to a little, lonely bird fluttering inside my hollow ribcage. A prisoner, as I am, to myself.

The truth is, I have been afraid of being fearless. I don't know how to live, how to function, without it.

Thankfully, God, in His endless grace, has persisted with me and now I cannot unsee what He has set before me.

In passing moments, encouraging words, sermons and circumstances, I have heard His voice.

Do not fear.

At first it sounded like a whisper, a comfort.

Do not fear.

Then a command.

Do not fear.

And now it is truth, a promise, permeating through my skin into my bones. I can't deny or hide from this revelation anymore. I know it too deeply.

God has not called us to skirt the edges of life or hide around corners watching joy and fulfilment from a distance like a jealous child. He wants the best for us, and from us, and He wants to seated in His rightful place, as the reigning King of our lives.

He will not allow you, or I, to be still and complacent. He is the God of growth and restoration. Our God has bought our freedom and declares it over our lives. Our God propels us into battle with swords drawn and teeth bared, and as He rides besides us His war cry echoes above the fray: Do not fear!

Our God calls our hearts towards transformation, but I have learned that hearts can be stubborn things. There should be nothing that causes us to hesitate following Him, but we hesitate still.

Change can happen in a moment, a light switch can be thrown in your mind which alters your way of living irrevocably. It can also happen over time like a slow burn, gradually chipping away at the person you used to be until you eventually find you have matured into someone entirely different.

Or, change is a choice you make before you actually experience any of the feelings or realisations associated with it.

To identify an area in your life that needs to be amended, choosing to fight against it despite your struggles, and stepping out blindly before you see what is set before you.

To truly live by faith as we are called to, is to daily die to our limitations, to our shortcomings, to our expectations and to ourselves, a thousand times in a thousand ways. To surrender all, and step forward into the mist, trusting the next foothold will be present and safe, and closer to God.

I am declaring that fear has no place in my life and considerations anymore. My journey is not complete, the path ahead is still long and winding, and I will need to navigate and will my way over many hidden steps yet. But here in this moment, fear is dead to me and I to it. I will not fear.

Can we hold hands and make this change together?

Is Jesus reigning over every corner of your heart and every secret shadowy pocket of your mind? Is He present in your home, in your work place, in your relationships, in your ambitions and choices?

Fear has ruled my life, what is ruling yours? Is it ego? Pride? Shame? Money?

Freedom, and the truth you were called to live in, is yours to claim. Change is a choice you can declare before it's even present in your life.

God is in control, do not fear.

Take the step.

by Mia Isaac

Daniel FergusonComment