Take courage

Activated - - FRONT PAGE - By Bethany Kelly

START­ING A NEW YEAR is a bit like start­ing a new project. For some time now, I have been work­ing steadily to­ward a dream of mine: cre­at­ing a busi­ness that gives me the op­por­tu­nity to earn an in­come do­ing some­thing I love, while making a dif­fer­ence in the world. It’s been a step-by-step process that has in­cluded a lot of learn­ing and sev­eral things that felt like step­ping off the deep end—like in­vest­ing in some train­ing, making a big move with my daugh­ter, start­ing my own busi­ness, and so on.

There are days when I’m ex­cited and con­fi­dently look­ing for­ward to the fu­ture and other days when the re­al­ity of all there is to do hits me, and I won­der what in the world I was think­ing when I started. The process of step­ping out and learn­ing and do­ing some­thing new has pushed and stretched me in ways I didn’t know were pos­si­ble and is pre­sent­ing me with far more op­por­tu­ni­ties for per­sonal growth than I ex­pected.

The other day, I was read­ing a book that talked about the chil­dren of Is­rael and the stages they went through, first as slaves in Egypt, then as they wan­dered through the wilder­ness, and fi­nally making it into the Promised Land. The par­al­lels to the jour­ney that I am on to­day struck me.

When the chil­dren of Is­rael were slaves in Egypt, Moses came on the scene with the mes­sage that God wanted to de­liver them and take them to a land flow­ing with milk and honey. God then pro­ceeded to do mir­a­cles to get them out of Egypt and on their way, in­clud­ing part­ing the Red Sea for them.

On their jour­ney, God gave them food by raining down manna from heaven. He pro­tected them from

1 the heat with a cloud by day and gave them a pil­lar of fire for light and warmth at night.

2 When they reached the Promised Land, they sent in scouts who re­ported back that the land was beau­ti­ful, pros­per­ous, and flow­ing with milk and honey. It was their land. God had promised it to them. They were poised and ready to walk in. What stopped them? The

scouts also re­ported that the land was in­hab­ited by gi­ants!

3 The chil­dren of Is­rael were afraid. Who wouldn’t be when faced with gi­ants, right? But in­stead of tak­ing ac­tion in spite of their fear, they let their fears over­whelm them and de­stroy their faith in God’s prom­ises. So in­stead of get­ting through the wilder­ness quickly as God had in­tended, they had to wan­der there for an­other 40 years. Sure, God con­tin­ued to care for them and sup­ply their needs through­out that time, He didn’t for­sake or aban­don them, but un­til the en­tire gen­er­a­tion that had doubted died out, they were stuck in the wilder­ness. How does this ap­ply to me? Well, I’ve left Egypt—my pre­vi­ous sit­u­a­tion where I was com­fort­able but un­ful­filled—and I’ve been in the wilder­ness for a while now—making plans, clar­i­fy­ing my vi­sion, get­ting pre­pared, and learn­ing a lot. God has been tak­ing care of me, but I don’t want to stay here for long.

Right now, I feel like I’m on the border of the Promised Land. I can see it, and I’m ready to go in. And you know what’s hap­pen­ing? I’m freak­ing out about the gi­ants! Waltz­ing into the Promised Land—nope, not gonna hap­pen like that! There are a heck of a lot of gi­ants in there that will need fight­ing—the mind­sets I have about my­self that are keep­ing me small, the steps I need to take that scare me, the per­sonal growth that is re­quired in or­der for my vi­sion to blos­som.

Read­ing about how the chil­dren of Is­rael wan­dered in the desert for decades be­cause they didn’t have faith to face those gi­ants is a sober­ing re­minder for me. Do I want to wait, po­ten­tially for a long time, or do I have the faith in God to march in and take pos­ses­sion of my own promised land?

Moses’ fi­nal ad­vice to the chil­dren of Is­rael is some­thing I can ap­ply to my sit­u­a­tion as well: “Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor for­sake you.” How won­der­ful to know

4 that I’m not alone in my jour­ney.

Let’s slay those gi­ants!

Take courage. We walk in the wilder­ness to­day and in the Promised Land tomorrow.— Dwight L. Moody (1837–1899) Com­mit your­self to a dream. No­body who tries to do some­thing great but fails is a to­tal fail­ure. Why? Be­cause he can al­ways rest as­sured that he suc­ceeded in life’s most im­por­tant bat­tle—he de­feated the fear of try­ing.— Robert H. Schuller (1926–2015)

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