By Kathleen Billings
“Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself,
take up his cross, and follow me.” ~ Mark 8:27-35
While engaging in our new family endeavor, raising chickens on our little farm, I recently uncovered a personal meaning behind the famous phrase, “Don’t be a chicken!” Our coop began with nine hens and one rooster. One month into our adventure, we introduced ten more hens to the coop.
The rooster immediately asserted himself by loudly crowing and pecking at each of the new chickens to let them know he was the boss— establishing a pecking order. One poor little chicken was so scared of the rooster; it hid in the corner of the barn. The rooster pecked from behind, and the chicken burrowed its face deeper—too afraid to face this fear. Even when the rooster stopped bother it, the hiding and avoiding went on for weeks.
How often in life do we let the intimidation of another hold us back? How often do we bury ourselves in busyness or seclude ourselves because we are too afraid to face our fears? How often do we live our lives in bondage instead of true freedom? To ascend to new heights and discover authentic joy, we must each be willing to confront our fears and trust that God has our back and wants what’s best for us.
Last summer, my husband and I both took a giant leap of faith to follow a calling God placed deep in both of our hearts. After fifteen years in the Chicagoland area, living in the same home and doing life with many of the same people, we uprooted our family of seven and moved to South Carolina. Several months before we decided to move, we began the process of discernment. In prayer, Troy and I told God we would walk through doors as He opened them, and if we were not doing what He willed, please make it clear and shut doors. As we walked through each open door and each obstacle was removed—God’s will for us unfolded.
It was evident that He was asking us to leave everything familiar and comfortable and move to a place where we knew no one to enter into a new season in His plan for our family life. Once God paved the path and removed all obstacles, all that was left was our wholehearted yes to bring His plan to fruition. We let go of fear, placed our complete trust in God, and leaped.
Little did we know at the time the immeasurable blessings that would pour out upon our marriage and family as a result of our yes to God’s invitation. Troy and I thank God daily for His grace to overcome our fears and jump into the new adventure.
Following God’s plan often takes us out of our comfort zone and requires bravery, but we will always find peace in doing so. God created us to do hard things, be stretched, grow, face our fears, discover our strengths, and let go of all that weighs us down to soar to new heights and freely walk in God’s will one day at a time. Since we have the gift of free will, our surrender and cooperation hands over the reins to Him—the One who guides our lives and empowers us to do great things.
Lord, help me to be bold and courageous in facing all you allow into my life. I promise to continually seek your Will in everything I do.
Call to Action
Ponder a current fear or concern in your life. Are you willing to hand the reins of this situation or circumstance over to God? Consider offering the Surrender Novena for this intention.
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