I Chose FEAR and SETTLED.

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The biggest F-word is FEAR. It is one of the most debilitating factors that triggers one of the biggest bad words: SETTLING.

One of my earliest memories is of 4/5 year old me wanting a baby. Instead of a baby, my mother gave me a Barbie doll. I burned it! About a year or so, I got my baby brother, the boy who to this day, everyone in my family affectionately refers to as my son. I consider that memory one of my early examples of me refusing to settle. I was bratty? Yes! But I was a girl who knew what I wanted and unwilling to settle even if it meant going out on a limb to get it.

Fast forward 13 years later. During a Youth Service at church, I was asked to give a word. My immediate internal reaction was one of fear and denial. Eventually I went up to the pulpit, legs and hands shaking, and opened my mouth. To my shock, non-stop words of power flowed out. Then a strange thing happened. I got into my own head: “Shit! Am I making sense?” as voice asked. Immediately as my nerves (fears) took over and my doubts crept in, my voice was stifled and I stopped and couldn’t continue. From that day on, I turned down almost every opportunity that I was given to bring the Word. I choose to settle in my roles of Sunday school teacher and praise and worship leader, shying from any opportunity to deliver the words that God often placed in my spirit.

Two versions of the same person but two different attitude to fear. Somewhere along the way, young Chañel morphed into a woman who settled because of fear. I allowed fear to become the pilot of my life, polluting it with doubts and second-guessing. Throughout my childhood, I was the one who let my younger sister take our childhood spotlight because of my fear of exposing and being rejected because of my inadequacies when compared to my sister. At 13, I was the teen who let her best friend have the guy she crushed on for three years, afraid to let her feelings known and face probable rejection. At 15, I was the person who saved for months to buy her dream phone and then settled for another when an unexpected price change deterred her, fearing that if she didn’t get it today, she never would. At 21, I was the Christian who turned down the request to speak during our Sunday School Convention, although I was given the Word two weeks in advance. After that, I would often wonder why God didn’t use me more. But who could blame Him? He couldn’t trust that I would deliver when:

  1. I was the person who allowed fear to become the pilot of my life.
  2. I allowed my circumstances to set my limits, the height at which I dared to fly.
  3. I let the expectations of others dictate the roads I took. I settled again and again.

Each time a new path/option arose, I often made a conscious decision to settle when I couldn’t be certain of the outcome. I placed my dreams on hold, afraid to take a leap, focusing on the voices that dictated my pending failure. I feared what others would say if I stood up and voiced my truth, shaking off the chains that shackled me. I doubted and I settled constantly. I settled for the mediocrity I hated. I settled for the friends and boyfriends who did not inspire me to be. I settled for the persons who silenced me while simultaneously trying to be my voice, speaking their inaccurate renditions of my truth. I bowed to the pressures of her job and life, settling for the immediate comfort and failing to pursue the things that made my soul sing. It was always tomorrow, never today.

In essence I became a person full of regrets about the roads consciously not trodden.

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I regret the times when I was asked to preach or be the lead singer but I turned down the opportunity, even though I had already been given the Word or knew the song. I sometimes wonder what would have been the results, if I hadn’t settled in the safety of being a Sunday school teacher or singing on the choir or leading the Praise and Worship team. I regret the times when I had the opportunity to voice ideas but stifled myself because I may look foolish. I settled and settled some more.

Somewhere along my walk on this earth I forgot 2 Timothy 1:7:

For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.

I have no control over yesterday but I do have a say in the outcomes of today and tomorrow. Today, I choose to trust God who sees beyond today and tomorrow. Today, I choose to live with the spirit of power, love and self-discipline that God has bestowed upon me. I choose to stop settling and to just begin. Will you join me?

A SPECIAL NOTE:

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I am choosing to face everything and rise. As a show of the commitment, I am undertaking a “30-Day Journey of YES!” in which I will both say yes to any opportunity that my spirit agrees with. I look forward to documenting the testimonies that I am certain God is already in the process of making.


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May the Peace of God go with you!

XOXO
Chañel

 

Bible in 365 Days – Day 17

Focus Chapters:

  • Genesis 45:16-28
  • Genesis 46
  • Genesis 47:1-27

 

Standout Verse(s):

THE ACTION

Genesis 46:1-4 NLT

So Jacob set out for Egypt with all his possessions. And when he came to Beersheba, he offered sacrifices to the God of his father, Isaac.

During the night God spoke to him in a vision. “Jacob! Jacob!” he called.

“Here I am,” Jacob replied.

“I am God, the God of your father,” the voice said. “Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for there I will make your family into a great nation. I will go with you down to Egypt, and I will bring you back again. You will die in Egypt, but Joseph will be with you to close your eyes.”

 

THE REACTION

Genesis 46:5-7 NLT

So Jacob left Beersheba, and his sons took him to Egypt. They carried him and their little ones and their wives in the wagons Pharaoh had provided for them. They also took all their livestock and all the personal belongings they had acquired in the land of Canaan. So Jacob and his entire family went to Egypt— sons and grandsons, daughters and granddaughters—all his descendants.

 

Observation (s):

  1. Jacob had a lot to fear in Egypt because he had a lot to lose. The Israelites were shepherds. In two instances in Genesis, the scripture mentions that the Egyptians disliked shepherds. We were also shown that the brothers were not allowed to sit with the Egyptians when they lunched with Joseph due to their profession. Leaving Canaan and going to Egypt required Jacob to risk his livelihood and ability to provide for his family. Additionally, Jacob also stood a risk of losing his sons to the son who he had not seen since he was a boy who was gravely wronged by his brothers. He had no idea of the type of man Joseph had turned out to be.
  2. During the big move, God, understanding Jacob’s fear, seeks him out and takes the time to reassure him. God is quite real with Jacob, ensuring He sets his expectations. God also promised to be there with Jacob in Egypt and ensure his family thrives.

    During the night God spoke to him in a vision. “Jacob! Jacob!” he called.

    “I am God, the God of your father,” the voice said. “Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for there I will make your family into a great nation. I will go with you down to Egypt, and I will bring you back again.

  3. Jacob placed his present and future in God’s hands when he made the move to Egypt. He took everything he owned along with his sons and his descendants.

    They also took all their livestock and all the personal belongings they had acquired in the land of Canaan. So Jacob and his entire family went to Egypt sons and grandsons, daughters and granddaughters—all his descendants.

     

Application:

I love the fact that God cared enough about Jacob to seek him out and reassure him that things will be okay. It is heartening to know that while I may be 1 among billions and insignificant to many, the God of all creation still sees me and knows my thoughts, fears and desires. He is there with me every step of the way to ensure that I receive a fruitful and blessed end and seeks to assure me, if I would just listen.

With such guidance and care from our Heavenly Father, we should have faith and be more inclined to place our present and futures into His hands. The move to Egypt is scary and full of risks but rest assured that God has you and your family covered. He promises that He will be there with you and that the move will be a blessing, not just to you but also to your family. Take that leap of faith! Make the move despite your fears! After all, God has everything under control!

 

XOXO,
Chañel

Bible in 365 Days – Day 5

Focus Chapters:

  • Genesis 15-17

 

Standout Verse(s):

THE ACTION

Genesis 15:2-4 and 16:2 NLT

But Abram replied, “O Sovereign Lord, what good are all your blessings when I don’t even have a son? Since you’ve given me no children, Eliezer of Damascus, a servant in my household, will inherit all my wealth. You have given me no descendants of my own, so one of my servants will be my heir.” Then the Lord said to him, “No, your servant will not be your heir, for you will have a son of your own who will be your heir.”

So Sarai said to Abram, “The Lord has prevented me from having children. Go and sleep with my servant. Perhaps I can have children through her.” And Abram agreed with Sarai’s proposal.

THE REACTION

Genesis 16:3-6 NLT

So Sarai, Abram’s wife, took Hagar the Egyptian servant and gave her to Abram as a wife. (This happened ten years after Abram had settled in the land of Canaan.) So Abram had sexual relations with Hagar, and she became pregnant. But when Hagar knew she was pregnant, she began to treat her mistress, Sarai, with contempt. Then Sarai said to Abram, “This is all your fault! I put my servant into your arms, but now that she’s pregnant she treats me with contempt. The Lord will show who’s wrong—you or me!” Abram replied, “Look, she is your servant, so deal with her as you see fit.” Then Sarai treated Hagar so harshly that she finally ran away.

 

Observation (s):

  1. God made the promise directly to Abram but Abram let Sarai’s fears cause his faith in God’s promise to diminish. This results in him acquiescing to his wife’s wishes.

    “No, your servant will not be your heir, for you will have a son of your own who will be your heir.”

    AND

    So Sarai said to Abram, “The Lord has prevented me from having children. Go and sleep with my servant. Perhaps I can have children through her.” And Abram agreed with Sarai’s proposal.

  2. Sarai didn’t believe in God’s promise and decided to give Him a helping hand. Going against God’s plan resulted in a situation that she had not anticipated or planned for.

    So Sarai, Abram’s wife, took Hagar the Egyptian servant and gave her to Abram as a wife. (This happened ten years after Abram had settled in the land of Canaan.) So Abram had sexual relations with Hagar, and she became pregnant. But when Hagar knew she was pregnant, she began to treat her mistress, Sarai, with contempt. Then Sarai said to Abram, “This is all your fault! I put my servant into your arms, but now that she’s pregnant she treats me with contempt. The Lord will show who’s wrong—you or me!” 

  3. This situation in which the wife convinces the husband to go against God’s direct wishes is a recurring theme. The theme began with Eve convincing Adam and now Sarai convincing Abram. In both cases, instructions or promises were made to the man.

 

Application:

Sometimes I like to ignore God’s timing and push my own methods into the plan that He has ordained for my life. This never works out and, like Sarai, I find myself in a bigger mess than I can control. When God makes us promises, we have to be confident that they are sure and await His timing. Despite my fears or doubts, the execution of any plan is better when God is at the forefront and in the midst of it.

The recurring theme of wives convincing husbands to overrule God’s instruction is a word of caution. Wives should be cognizant that they do have power and must use that power to work with their husbands to ensure God’s plans or instructions are fulfilled, even if God’s directives are given directly to the husband.

XOXO,
Chañel

God is interested

I always find it so amazing when God pays attention to the little things in my life. It makes me realize just how much He cares about His relationship with us! Can you just imagine it? Having someone who listens to all your thoughts and worries and acts on them? It is incredible!

A few mornings ago, I got in a taxi. I didn’t pay much attention to who was inside because the taxi-stand was packed and I was more focused on getting to work on time.

When the taxi pulled away it took me a while to take stock of who I was commuting with. When the thought surfaced, I realized I was in a taxi with four men! The driver and three other male passengers! To make matters worse, I happened to be in the middle of the backseat.

Now I’m not the panicky sort but the moment the realization hit me, I grew uncomfortable. The thought, hoping for another female passenger flit through my mind. About 10 seconds later, the taxi stopped. The male in the front passenger seat got off and a female passenger got on.

Amused, I found myself asking the Lord if He couldn’t have let me complete the thought. To this He replied, “Well you asked.”

Isn’t God incredible! It was so great to be reminded that He cares about the little nitty-gritties of my life.When I’m sad, He is there! When I’m anxious, He is a constant presence!

My Daddy is ALWAYS INTERESTED!

XOXO,
Chañel.

Maternal Instincts Re-Instated?

Today I had a moment. No, it was not just a moment, it was an epiphany of a moment. You know, like the epiphany of moments that probably resulted in J.K. Rowling visualizing the Harry Potter series while broke and on her way home on a train? Now I had a epiphany of a moment today which totally opened my eyes to exactly how I feel about kids.

My mom had my youngest brother when I was seven years old. To me, he was my first child. I fed him. I changed him. I gave him baths. I combed his hair. I punished him. I comforted him when he was hurt. I helped him with his homework. I chastised him out when he is rude. We have our movie nights. He is very protective of me. He is my baby! Sure I didn’t give birth to him but he is still mine.

I don’t know how or when it happened but somewhere along the way I grew scared of babies. I had mental panic attacks when I held them and so, couldn’t hold them for long. No matter how cute they were, I preferred them big. I hated the thought of giving birth and found myself vowing I would only have one unless I ended up with twins. I couldn’t imagine having anymore. If I was honest to myself, I would have realized in that moment that I was fine not giving birth to any. I only started making those vows because it was what persons expected me to say. They had no meaning behind them.

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Let your eagle SOAR!

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About a year ago someone hugged me tightly and said, “You know what you remind me of? An eagle! Girl, go forth and whatever you do, spread your wings and soar!” At the time I didn’t think much of it but as I sit back and do some introspection, I can truly say that God has been demonstrating to me how to unfurl and use my wings.

One thing I have learned is that God allows every incident in your life to happen to teach/prepare you. A few years ago I had a bad case of stage fright whenever I spoke in public. I also felt that my ability to write had been nullified. I was left empty. But this is something you need to know. Sometimes, when God intends to bless you, He slowly empties you. He begins to remove any impediments to your blessing. Only then will He begin to fill you up.

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Get Up Again

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So I’ve been playing Farm Heroes Saga (farm version of Candy Crush) for a few months now. A month ago I reached a level where I had to get three stars in order to get three new animals. The first couple of times I played the level I couldn’t even complete it! Frankly, I was annoyed because I had friends who had passed the level quite easily but I kept failing. Finally, after about 20 tries over a two week period I managed to finish the level with one star.

Many people would have given up. At one point I felt disgusted enough and decided to stop playing. A few days later, I resolved to not be a quitter and attempted the level again. On the fifth try, I completed it with two stars. At this point, I was practically jumping for joy.

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