The Courage Key

couragekey

“MOMMMMMM!!! WE NEED YOUR COURAGE KEYYYYY!!!”

“WHAT???!!!!” I yelled from the kitchen.

“YOUR MOPS Courage Key!” The girls came bouncing into the room. “The  downstairs bedroom door got locked. We need to get in and the MOPS key is the only one that works.”

“Ummm…girls, my courage key is not a real key. It is just pretty necklace and charm. It it cannot open the door.”  I tried to say this as gently as I could so not to deflate their enthusiasm.

“Yes, it can! We have used it before and we need it again!” My girls were confident and not the least bit concerned with my disbelief. They knew how to solve the problem and I was the only one getting in the way of their solution.

“Okay,” I said. “Let’s go try.”

It turns out that my girls were right. My MOPS Courage Key and a lot of other real keys can open the locked bedroom door. This new bit of knowledge will save me the time and hassle of searching the house for a bobby pin or a screwdriver that it small enough to fit in the door’s tiny, awkward slot and release the lock.

I have wasted so much time looking for things that would unlock “doors.” “Doors” that I have shut and locked with anxiety, my insecurities and fear. Doors that have been held shut by the “what ifs?” and “I can’ts” or the “Is it worth the risks?” Past disappointments and present confusion add to the tangled mess of locked emotions. I have tried releasing the locks with keys that I have forged out of my own power, strength and control. Those keys have not worked. They have only left me more anxious, frustrated and tired.

There is one key that never fails. God.

Faith is the key that unlocks the door and courage is the key that helps you walk through it. Courage that is manifested through faith. Hope that is discovered through courage.

Sometimes I find myself asking God, “But it doesn’t look like the key?” or ” How is this going to work?” “Is this key the right one?”  And  I hear God whisper patiently to me, “Trust me. Have you tried it yet?”

Faith and courage doesn’t mean that you will not experience failure or pain. It is not a promise that things will be easy and every “door” you walk through will open into a  “room” that will be comfortable and warm. Courage takes strength to venture and persevere. 1  Courage in faith can help you go from confusion to clarity.  From captive to free. From stuck to unstoppable.

I am willing to guess that I am not the only one who has locked doors. Or the only one standing in the way of a solution.  Let’s stop wasting time and start unlocking doors with faith, starting with the door to our heart. Let’s allow God and the Holy Spirit to work in our lives to help us depend on His strength (not our own) and start living the bravest versions of ourselves.  Grab your keys and walk through those doors!

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

Joshua 1:9 (ESV)

 

faithisthekey


Fear and Joy

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There is a difficult situation that I have been dealing with. It has caused many unsettling feelings and unwanted fear. No matter how much I have prayed about it, talked about it, thought through it, tried to release it, the fear has remained. Like a thick, heavy chain, fear has held me back and kept me where I do not want to be.  It has stolen my time and littered my mood. When I have tried to break free and I can’t, guilt brings another chain. Guilt over the fact that I shouldn’t be fearful, only joyful in all my circumstances. An either/or response. What a tangled, emotional mess!

Can joy and fear reside in the same situation?

In my devotions this morning, I read a passage that I have read many times before but today it spoke to what my heart has been needing to hear.

1 Now after the Sabbath, toward the dawn of the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. 2 And behold, there was a great earthquake, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. 3 His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. 4 And for fear of him the guards trembled and became like dead men. 5 But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. 6 He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. 7 Then go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and behold, he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him. See, I have told you.” 8 So they departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. 9 And behold, Jesus met them and said, Greetings! And they came up and took hold of his feet and worshiped him. 10 Then Jesus said to them, Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see me.”  Matthew 28:1-15

The guards and the Marys were both afraid by the events they were witnessing. Can you blame them? A great earthquake, an angel that looked like lightening sitting in front of them on an empty tomb. Their responses to the fear is what sets them apart.  The guards “trembled and became like dead men.” Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were afraid yet filled with joy .(verse 8) Their fear did not hold them back or chained them to the ground, they were able to move forward in joy to the mission they were tasked to do.

I realize that I have been acting more like the guards. Stumbling, falling to the ground, acting like dead man woman. Fear and guilt have been lying to me. Telling me that I cannot move forward.  This passage shows me that it is not an either/or response. Being fearful does not disqualify you from doing God’s work but it can paralyzed and rob you from the freedom and complete joy that the Lord so freely wants to give.

“Our fear lives side by side with our joy” – SHE READS TRUTH

Our joy comes from the Lord.

Move forward and break the chains of fear with joy and the strength from the Lord.