Did you ever stop doing something for a while and then, when you wanted to start again, you felt silly or afraid of what people would think?
For example, let’s say that you were in the choir. You really liked it and you went to all the practices and even sang the occasional solo. But then something happened. You got a cold. So you couldn’t sing. So you missed practice. Then your kid got a cold and you had to nurse them. So you missed practice. Then you had to go out of town for something. So you missed practice. Then you had a really rough week and your nap turned into you sleeping right through the Sunday night service. So you missed practice. Then, you had a family thing. So you missed practice.
You saw them up there and longed to be a part of the group but things just weren’t working out. It wasn’t that you didn’t desire to go to practice, other things just got in the way. Then you started feeling afraid of what they’d say when you came back.
“Where has she been?”
“Why hasn’t she been at practice?”
Then you start to tell yourself that maybe they don’t want you back. Someone else is in your seat, so maybe they don’t need you. You want to be there, but your fear of what others are thinking is influencing your negative feelings and behaviors.
You are being ruled by fear.
And, most likely, unfounded fear.
What they are really thinking:
“Of course we want you back, you are a part of the choir.”
“I (we) understand that sometimes life just gets in our way. We have all experienced times when things didn’t go according to plan.”
“The important thing is that you came back. You didn’t give up. You love to sing, God has gifted you to sing, and you didn’t let Satan keep you away.”
This is exactly how Jesus responds when we turn back to Him.
He came from heaven to live among us so that he could understand our trials and temptations. He understands that sometimes life just gets in our way. He has experienced trials and temptations himself so he owe that sometimes things don’t go according to plans. The important thing is that you came back. You didn’t give up. You didn’t let Satan keep you away.
I’d like to say thank you to all the people over the years who have spoken words of encouragement when you could have spoken words of reprimand. Proverbs 18:21 says:
“The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.”(New International Version)
“What you say can preserve life or destroy it; so you must accept the consequences of your words.” (Good News Translation)
So get back out there. Start over doing what God has called you to do. Start over living in obedience to God. Don’t let fear rule your life. Live in the freedom of God.
“Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord,” Acts 3:19 NIV
“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” 1 John 4:18 NIV
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7 NKJV