• Barb Lownsbury

Stepping Out of the Boat

Have you ever had a time where you felt incredible joy from something good that happened to you, only to have that joy somehow morph into fear and doubt about your ability or worth to have or receive the blessing? I have. I think it’s the yin and yang of life, the give and take we all experience on some level. We get excited at first, but then we get distracted by all that’s around and in us.

Last month was a time of deep blessing for me. A publisher approached me with an offer to edit and guide me with my book pro bono because he felt God had called him to do so. Just a few days later, I met with another person who agreed to do all my media pro bono. That same evening, a fan of my blog recognized me and asked for my autograph. Talk about humbling and inspiring! Honestly, I think I received far greater blessing from her request than she got from my signature.

Not but a few days later, our photographer had to back out of doing publicity shots. The very first person I approached (and barely knew) not only agreed to help us out last minute, but she offered to do it–you guessed it–pro bono. Then, I was asked to share just a sliver of my story during the offering at Vineyard Cincinnati. You would think I would be buzzing with joy and awe at God’s providence, at how He is faithful in opening every door. And I was! At first.

Not but a week after the initial dust had settled, I found myself gripped with deep fear: fear I’m not enough, fear I can’t do all God has laid before me, fear I will fail, fear my faith and hope are groundless, and just plain, outright fear of who I am and what I’m doing with my life. The ugly, negative thoughts just kept rolling in.

It’s ironic to me because as a young woman I would’ve grabbed a hold of all of this blessing with gusto, running ahead confident in my own strength. Time has taught me my weaknesses, my flaws. Time likes to remind me of all the ways I’ve failed.

I feel like the apostle Peter. I take a step of faith out of the boat to walk on water toward Jesus. The momentary exhilaration is heady and amazing. I see Jesus do the impossible, even with someone as flawed as me. I feel faithful. I feel confident. I have absolute trust in His leading.

But just like Peter, it doesn’t take long before I notice the winds and the waves, the storm raging all around me. I can sink so quickly!

All I can say is thank you to God. When I take my eyes off of Him and start looking at me, thinking life relies on my strength and power, He’s right there to pull me back up out of the water and place my feet on firm ground again. He carries me on His shoulders so I can keep walking forward.

I want to encourage you today. God has placed within you every gifting, every talent and every skill you need to do whatever He has called you to, whether it is to be a better parent, a better spouse, a better employee, a better friend, or to build/start/lead/grow anything. He will equip you to move forward. When you see those waves, just whisper His name. It may take time, but He will lift you from the waves. Always.

For Further Thought: “Don’t be afraid, I’ve redeemed you. I’ve called your name. You’re mine. When you’re in over your head, I’ll be there with you. When you’re in rough waters, you will not go down. When you’re between a rock and a hard place, it won’t be a dead end–Because I am God, your personal God. the Holy of Israel, your Savior. I paid a huge price for you: all of Egypt, with rich Cush and Seba thrown in! That’s how much you mean to me! That’s how much I love you!” (Isaiah 43:1-4). I love this scripture. It always reminds me I’m not alone on my journey, and that it is never all up to me. When you find yourself looking at the waves in your life, read this scripture out loud and place your name in as many of the sentences as you can. It’s a powerful experience that will help your courage grow!

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