There Is NO VICTORY Without First Fighting a BATTLE!
We’ve all been there. Ready to throw in the towel and quit. After all, “defeat wouldn’t be so bad, there’s always tomorrow.” “It is what it is, and we can’t change it.” If there was ever a rallying cry for defeat, those words would be part of the anthem.
My life was full of roadblocks, heartaches, and setbacks. It would be great to tell you how my perseverance carried me through, and that there was never any fear or anxiety in my heart. Well, that wasn’t the case. Instead, fear and doubt consumed almost every part of my existence. Especially in those early years. In most cases, it was my ignorance that carried me through the adversity. Looking back, it was the comfort of not knowing what to do that led me to do things that no one had done before. Instead of giving into the desire to give up, you would often hear me say “why not?” Simply said, it was not knowing any better that made things seem possible.
During my school days, boys were taught to not show fear. Phrases like, “keep a stiff upper lip” and “big boys don’t cry,” were clichés handed down from my parents, teachers, and coaches. So, when fear would creep up, it always made me feel inadequate. There must be something wrong with me if my heart was full of fear.
Thankfully, God gave me two role models that would teach all that is needed to be known about fear: The Cowardly Lion and Elvis Presley.
Throughout my childhood, The Wizard of Oz was our family Christmas movie. It only got better when we finally got our first color TV. My favorite character in the classic movie was the cowardly lion. He was afraid of everything, including his own tail. Still, he persevered through his fear because of his love and devotion to Dorothy. It was the lion that first taught me that you can be afraid and brave and the same time.
During the late 60’s Elvis made a comeback in hopes of regaining some of his popularity back after we were invaded by Beatlemania. In one of his many interviews during the comeback, a reporter asked him if he still got butterflies in his stomach before going on stage. He answered as only Elvis could. “Darlin’, sure I still get butterflies. Only now, they fly in formation.”
Go figure, the king of the jungle and the King of Rock and Roll were both afraid! They pushed through their fear by focusing on the outcome, not their current circumstance.
It was their faith that carried them through.
Traversing the trials of my life, it was knowing that courage didn’t mean fearless, with an understanding that it was okay to be afraid, that brought me through tough times even when fear consumed me.
My resolve didn’t develop overnight. Instead, it was a process that was strengthened in the furnace of adversity over years. Much like steel is hardened in a furnace. The more times it is heated in the furnace, the stronger the steel becomes.
There was a day when Elvis was just a scared kid with a dream. Over time, facing his fear with resolve made him stronger each time he stepped on stage. Even when he became an international superstar and the butterflies would start to flutter in his stomach, he would walk out on stage, focusing his butterflies into formation, and knowing that nothing could come between him and his dream.
So, it is in Christ. When we wrap ourselves in His protection, He will carry us through. God never said there wouldn’t be fear. Instead we are told to fear not and only believe. For me, fear is usually present in those tough life decisions. All the “What if’s about this and that…” Instead of working to eliminate the fear, it is my belief in Christ, and His protection, that gives me power over any fear. Leaning on the power of Christ while telling my butterflies to get in line works for me!