On Being Not Afraid

{By Lori Harris} (We’re honored to have Lori here today, sharing some of her story about being part of a church plant, how she is struggling in this season of it, and how she is finding her way through it. Her words make you feel like a friend sitting across the table, sharing burdens together. She is authentic, endearing, and has a gift for writing. If you haven’t met her yet, you are in for a treat! And there is even more to discover on her blog where she’s learning many good but hard things about community and her need for a firm Foundation.)

 

 

It’s late on a Saturday when I find myself alone with my thoughts and my jumbled feelings and if I’d let it, the sense of failure breathing on the side of my face would settle into my bones and never leave.

 

Em in mirror

Failure speaks like the Serpent, cunning and slick. It is death by a flick of the tongue and believing it in your spirit and I turn my head to the fire ablaze in front of me to give it no space to breathe.

 

And for a moment it retreats, the flames slightly fiercer than Failure’s pursuit.

 

But the coolness of its presence sits with me and I cannot shake the sadness that is taking root.

 

I’ve wrestled with the words to share here for weeks and if you know me at all, you know I write as life unfolds, sharing both the good and the bad. I share from the place of church planter’s wife, mama to six, hood dwelling woman, trying to figure out poverty and how to lead women, place. It’s messy and glorious, this writing from the trenches, but it is my voice and I’m learning how to use it to God’s glory, my good, and for the good of others.

 

But right now, as the cicadas begin their evening song and the fire smolders before me, I’m wrestling in a season of life that I am having a hard time writing through. My voice seems to be retreating to the hills, my heart hiding out in the chambers of my chest, and my eyes downcast, afraid to look up.

 

It’s not that the Enemy has convinced me that I cannot write or that my voice is not needed in this great big world.

 

He has simply convinced me that the story I am called to write is one that is damaging the church that my husband is planting.

 

He’s conned me into believing that every word I write is a subject to ridicule, subject to misinterpretation, and subject to harming the reputation of my husband. He’s tied my tongue, convincing me that every time I sit to write, I am serving myself, making much of my name, and building my kingdom here on earth. He’s twisted my words and my motives and caused me to stumble into a desolate place where I’m laid bare, open to whatever preys.

 

The wind picks up around me as I watch the moon round into its own fullness and I use its light to find my way to the wood pile. I choose three seasoned logs from an old oak and I toss them into the smoldering fire. They quickly catch a flame and the blaze grows hotter than an hour ago. I shudder in the coolness of the air and in the warmth of the flames and my face burns.

 

In my mind, I sift the entirety of three years through the sovereign hand of Jesus and I pick out the grains of truth amid the lies.

 

There is one lie to every truth and tonight, I am left holding one lie in the palm of my hand.

 

It’s the one breathing on the side of my face and the one taking up root in the pit of my belly.

 

It’s the one snatching my words and breaking my heart and stealing my joy.

 

You need to stop writing your story. Your church cannot thrive if you choose to write.

 

Because I’ve believed the lie, I’ve quietly curled up and gone quiet, waiting for other words to come.

 

And in the quiet, I’ve been sensing a spirit of disobedience within my own soul, a pressing of the Holy Spirit into my own skin and a remembrance that Jesus has called me to be not afraid.

 

Do not fear, for I am with you;

Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. Isaiah 41: 10a

 

And I speak this truth aloud in the cover of darkness as the flames catch a fresh breath of air and light casts its mighty arm over the shadows, pushing back the dark again.

 

Be not afraid. This is not your story.

 

It is Mine.

 

 

(photo credit: Shae Foy Photography)
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lori harrisLori Harris is a Southern born, Texas-missing girl, who is rearing her six kids in a neighborhood some would call the ‘hood. She and her bi-vocational husband have planted Fellowship Bible Church Rocky Mount on the wrong side of the railroad tracks where poverty runs deep and racism even deeper. She coordinates a city-wide MOPS group, passes out PBJs to the neighborhood kids, and brews coffee just to make the house smell like Jesus. She writes at loriharris.me.

 

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10 Comments on “On Being Not Afraid

  1. Lori, I’ve been inspired to look up my own scriptures on “do not be afraid” and found it’s close companion was, in some instances, “do not be discouraged.” Yep. Now that is good stuff.

  2. Lori~ “Be Not Afraid” is a bumper sticker I have wanted for quite some time. I’m so glad you are remembering to fight lies with truth. I battle this, too…and HE reminds me that he equips those who are called. Thanks for sharing your words and heart here with us.

  3. I’m grateful for your words tonight Lori. In the telling you’ve exposed our enemy and truth…His truth prevails. Use your voice – In this one thing… be brave.

  4. Hey. I love you, Lori Harris. You are brave and fierce and imperfect, but pure-hearted. You are after Him, and He is trustworthy with the recesses of your heart. Every motive and every thought and every word that comes out through your mouth and your fingers. Keep up with that brave. Live fully alive. He’s got you guys. (Also – this post is incredibly well-written and rich and I dig it. Just sayin’.)

  5. Lori, you ARE brave. Love, love, love your sharing of the hard things. Often we write only of the good things. There is a song, which of course the title has flown off somewhere, that says that the blessings come in the hard things, in the rain, etc. (And that is so far from the lyrics NO one will recognize it.) Pray hard. Wait, Pray more. Then post. I KNOW He will guide you to the appropriate words. And no judgment here. Just love.

  6. Continue being brave, my friend. The enemy only wants to silence you, so your testimony does not go forth. Oh the lives you will touch, and have already. Write girl, write fearfully and brave, knowing that He has given you the blank pages with which to spill forth His glory!

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