Perfect Love Casts Out Fear

#fear #faith #rejection

I’ve recently realized that a lot of my life has been dictated by my fears. Fear of rejection. Fear of failure. Fear of stepping out of my comfort zone to try something new and bold. It’s safer to be part of the crowd than to do something that’s not the norm. Until the crowd rejects you. Then you’re kind of on your own.

Part of my recent fear of rejection has been a normal response to being rejected. I’ve been rejected by one publisher after another, and I’ve even been rejected by people. This rejection causes me to withdraw into my own little world and refuse to allow anyone a glimpse into my heart and mind.

This rejection leads to the fear of failure. Rejection can almost be comforting because if you hide your light (your work, your voice, your story, your love, etc.) because you don’t want to be rejected, then your light can’t fail. There is safety in allowing the fear of rejection to dictate your actions.

When you’re afraid of rejection and afraid to fail, you’re afraid to step out of your comfort zone, to put yourself out there for others to hurt or critique you. There’s safety in this too.

But, oh, what a boring life!

We're on the plane!
We’re on the plane!

In the fall of 2013, I felt God calling me to go on my very first mission trip. The trip was to a little town in Jamaica where my daughter had already gone six times, and I had always secretly wanted to go with her. The finances never worked out though, and I used that as an excuse for never going.

But one Sunday after hearing about the upcoming trip, a guest pastor preached on Jonah. He talked about how God had called Jonah to go to Nineveh and that the call was for a purpose. It was to save Nineveh, but it was also to do a work in Jonah’s heart. I knew that Sunday that I was supposed to go. God wanted me to put aside my fear of flying, fear of foreign countries, fear of leaving my husband and son and pets behind, fear of finding the money to go, etc. No matter what, I had to go.

I was a blubbering fool by the time church was over that day, especially since we ended with Oceans by Hillsong United. The song says: Spirit, lead me where my trust is without borders. Let me walk upon the waters wherever you will call me…” Yeah, I had to go on this trip. (The video is below for you to watch!)

Landing in Jamaica!

It involved me getting a passport, coming up with the money for the trip and the travel expenses, taking time off work, and a whole lot of other things this chica wasn’t ready to do. I’m nearly fifty years old, and here I was going on my first mission trip! Once I surrendered, everything went smoothly from that point on. The battles I’d been facing about this trip all solved themselves, and before I knew it, in March 2014, I was at the airport.

When I stepped on to the plane and realized how narrow it was (it felt like a school bus), I did a little freaking out and was ready to go back home. But my normally well-mannered adult daughter pulled a diva on me and told me to get myself in my seat because she didn’t have time to deal with this. Wow! I kinda needed that verbal slap in the face. And everything turned out awesome. What a blessing it was just to get to spend the week with my daughter.

When I got home, I wondered what exactly had been the reason I went on the trip. I was blessed, and I hope the people I met were blessed, as well, but other than that, I couldn’t see why God was stretching me.

Jamaica 135Fast forward three months, and God called me to step out again to try something new and unfamiliar. He called me to get over my fear of rejection, my fear of failure, and my fear of being pushed too far out of my comfort zone. Even the sermons at church were confirming to me that it was time to step up and claim the treasures God had waiting for me and to stop blaming the rejection by others as the reason for my lack of success and prosperity.

What did this involve? Well, this time, it wasn’t another mission trip. It was forging a new path in my writing career by stepping into the Indie world. Although I have two traditionally published books, I have yet to acquire a new contract on my other books. While I am still hoping that will happen for some of my projects, God has clearly called me to self-publish my upcoming release, To Laugh Once More. ToLaughOnceMoreFinal

He has put in front of me other authors who have ventured down this path, who are encouraging and cheering me every step of the way. This requires a lot of learning about the publishing industry and requires me to let go of my “baby” and let the world read it. It’s not going to be perfect because no book ever is. But it’s as perfect as I can make it at this point in my life with the resources I have available to me.

So I am putting aside the fears of rejection, failure, and stepping out of my comfort zone to become an Indie author. I’m excited beyond words at what the Lord is going to do with this book. I’ve prayed the Prayer of Jabez practically every day for the last two years, asked God to bless me indeed and to enlarge my territory. I believe this is the first leg of this new journey, and I’m hoping God uses me to bless and encourage and even to inspire others through this!

Stay tuned!

Published by Sherri Wilson Johnson

I am a wife/mother/writer/speaker looking to be used by God!

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