They say courage isn’t the absence of fear, but feeling the fear and stepping forward anyway.
When I prayed “Lord, let me come deeper into you,” I expected it would be warm and wonderful. I thought there would be an intensity to my worship, that there would be a deep joy and an awareness of His love.
What’s happened instead is there’s been a digging deeper inside of me, bringing to the surface my past anxieties, hurts and brokenness.
It was so much easier when the past stayed buried, the memories didn’t bother me and I didn’t bother them.
I know in my mind that it’s different now, but my physical emotions are not yet convinced.
The past lies still mock me. You’re not good enough for this. You don’t really belong here.
My stomach knots, my chest tightens. Emotion wells up in my throat.
You are here because I have led you here. Don’t be afraid, I am with you.
I couldn’t cry back then. I dared not, it wasn’t safe. I’m not afraid to cry now. A caring hand on my shoulder, and the wave breaks over me.
“You must be getting tired of praying for me week after week,” I say, “I don’t like being needy.”
If I am to worship with all of my heart and mind and soul and strength, then that includes these messy, hurting and broken parts of me.
Instead of being afraid of these emotions, I will make them my offering at the altar, the gift of my worship. I welcome and accept them, then give them to Him, just as they are. This is my entire heart, the all of me.
“Lord, let me have courage.”
I feel the fear, but I’m not afraid of it. I will step into and through it: one step, then another and another.
Send out your light and your truth;
let them guide me;
let them bring me to your holy mountain,
to the place where you dwell.
Then I will go to the altar of God,
to God, my joy and my delight.
I will praise you with the harp,
O God, my God.
Why are you downcast, O my soul?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise him,
my saviour and my God.
(Psalm 43:3-5, NIV 1985)