The Lord has been speaking something to my heart for quite some time now. He has been both convicting and inspiring me to “think bigger.”
I don’t know about you, but I tend to spend the better part of my life living in a pretty narrow space. When I’m honest, I find myself spending the majority of the day thinking about my own family, my own to-do list, my own needs - myself. Now, most of the time it’s not intentional. The narrowness of self-focus is almost habitual isn’t it?
When I paused to become more deliberate about noticing this pattern of thought, I was shocked at how often I truly considered myself. I was surrounded by lightning fast thoughts that went something like this –
“I feel uncomfortable in my body today.”
“I wish I looked like (fill in the blank).”
“I know God loves me, but today I feel a bit unlovable.”
“I really need to accomplish this list of tasks today.”
“I need to do better tomorrow.”
Frankly, I was shaken by the sheer volume of “I” thoughts. My “I” awareness left me unsettled and in a place where the Lord could really reach my heart. He began a work. He began to give me a new vision for my life, and yours! He whispered to my heart, “Think bigger if you want to live better.” I began to really consider how much time most of us spend thinking about “we” and not about “He.”
Soon after, I began to notice a pattern. I spoke with other woman who seemed to live in the same narrow space I’d recognized in my own life; self-awareness was the common thread among all of us. I also noticed a pattern in women who did not live small. These women were living better. What was the common thread among them? They lived self-UNaware. They invested the majority of their thoughts on others. They lived in way that was so focused on others, and, namely on the Lord, that they literally became unaware of themselves. What surprised me though was the discovery that they seemed to naturally care better for themselves because they were stewarding their bodies well for service. They weren’t distracted by thoughts of caring for their bodies; they just did it naturally as a byproduct of focusing on God’s greater plans and purposes for their lives.
This revelation has been swirling around in my spirit. It’s been growing in both intensity and clarity. As I pressed into the idea of thinking bigger in order to live better, I began to understand something. I could sense the Lord moving me toward understanding that what I was actually experiencing was the fear of God. We read about the fear of the Lord. We talk about the fear of the Lord. What I desired though was to truly know and experience what it meant to walk in the fear of the Lord. I desired and needed more understanding. You are here reading this today as the result of that pilgrimage with the Lord.
When I first sensed the Lord prompting me to write a study on this rather tough topic, my initial response went a little something like this - “Yikes!” Deep right? I was up for the task though. That is, until I began to really dig in and study. Whoa! I was overcome by a drowning sense of inadequacy and inability! I mean understanding - really understanding - the meaning behind the fear of God is no joke, and no easy task!
Fear is complex. Fear defined can mean everything from terror, panic, impending danger, and alarm all the way across the spectrum to reverential awe and wonder. Even a surface study of the fear of God reveals that it can mean that in scripture too. Understanding the fear of God well enough to comprehend, much less write and lead a study about it began to feel daunting to me. One day while preparing this study I was simply overwhelmed. I closed my bible and said, “God, I’m sorry I just can’t do this, I’m not qualified to lead and teach about this topic. It’s too much.” It was early morning and I immediately felt the need to go for a long walk to pray, and frankly, to purge my feelings. Leave it to God to knock my socks of in the process.
I spent the first half of my walk whining and listing off all the reasons why it was ridiculous for God to ask me to write a scripture study on something scholars have spent entire careers combing through. At just the perfect moment though, I rounded a corner and came face to face with the most glorious sunrise. I wish I had words to adequately describe it to you. However you imagine it, it was even more amazing!
It took my breath away. I literally gasped, and stopped dead in my tracks. To be honest, it took all the strength I could muster just to stand, my legs felt weak and I began to cry – I mean really weep. It was simply too glorious to take in. I could hardly look at it, the confines my humanity kept me from processing so much beauty – it didn’t know what to do with it all. I desperately wanted to take it in, but where to begin? I wanted to see it as a whole, but knew I could only take it piece by piece. It was expansive and intricate. It was enormous enough to make me feel small and vulnerable. My humanity suddenly felt undeniably exposed. It was truly, deeply awe inspiring. The glory caused praise and worship to rise up within me without thought or effort, it was simply an automatic response to something so glorious. What I witnessed was an undeniable indication that there is something so much bigger than me, and it deserves my devotion.
When I look to a Creator so magnificent, I can’t help but forget myself because I’m completely mesmerized and overcome by His greatness. It was divine. In that moment I knew. I understood. I felt the Lord speak to my heart, “This child, this is the fear of God. What you’re experiencing now, this is it.”
Friends, I don’t claim to be any kind of biblical scholar. I don’t have any special knowledge of God’s word. Truth be told, I’m the one who needs to do more learning. Any number of you could teach me volumes. Why then would God ask me to lead you in a study on the fear of the Lord? I don’t quite understand it myself. This I do know though. He showed me something that morning and I believe with all my heart it’s what He wants me to share with you. I believe the Lord wants us to understand what living a life directed by and motivated by the fear of God really looks like. My prayer is that over the next four weeks, as we study one verse a day, that God will move on our hearts and in our lives to show us just how much love, peace, freedom, and impact is to be found in understanding the fear of God. I pray that He will inspire us to walk intimately with Him. Finally, I pray that He empowers us to think bigger to live better. Are you ready?! Let’s get started!
Each day provides a scripture reading, reflection questions/thoughts, and a space to write out your own prayer. In addition, I would encourage you to join the Facebook group. It’s a place to share and discuss how God is moving in, and though you throughout the course of this study. I’ll also be sharing thoughts and posting little “extras” there over the next 30 days.
Enjoy this next 30 days of discovering God in new ways! I’ll be praying for each of you as you do!