welcome to week one of #fearlessfriday!
Amanda McKim is kicking things off and her words absolutely ignite my soul. She has such a special place in my heart because the foundation of my faith is wrapped in her love. I am more than happy to welcome her into this little space for grace we share. Let's link arms and pursue this fearless thing together.
I was sitting on my couch, enjoying my “end of the day exhale” when my phone buzzed beside me. Several weeks before, I had agreed to write a piece for Baylee’s blog; all that was left was for her to pray on a topic and let me know what direction God was leading. As I read her message I felt a smile stretch across my face and heard a chuckle escape from my mouth. You see, God had led Baylee to the single most difficult topic for me to write about – fear. Because, as He often does, God was bringing me face to face with some truths I needed to hear in a way I never expected.
We all know women love to talk. But my 12 years in ministry has led me to realize that often women only like to talk about things that are on the surface. Whether you’re 16 or 56, communicating honestly about real, life-affecting struggles and fears is incredibly uncomfortable for women. So, if you’re like me, living life in the bondage of fear feels incredibly lonely. But as I began to speak with many of the wonderful, God-fearing women in my life, I discovered something incredibly comforting – I’m not alone. And neither are you.
Fear is undoubtedly the single greatest struggle in my life. It permeates every aspect – my marriage, my parenting, my relationships. Some days the burden is light, and the fears fade gently to the back of my mind. Some days I wear it like a heavy coat. But in nearly every day of my life I do battle with one of two fears: fear of failure and fear of rejection.
In speaking to the women around me, I’ve seen that fear of failure is a persistent issue in many of their lives. I think we would struggle to find a woman who could honestly say she doesn’t fear she is falling short in some area. We snap at our children out of frustration and suddenly we’ve fallen short as mothers. We only sleepily half-listen to our husband as he recounts his day and suddenly we’ve fallen short as a wife. We spend an entire day taking care of a home that still looks like a disaster – and we’ve failed as the manager of our home. We spend weeks on a work presentation that falls flat with management, and we’ve fallen short as an employee. Day after day, and incident after incident leaves us wondering if we’ll ever be enough.
There’s a movie I love that gives us a poignant glimpse into this truth. Toward the end of the movie “Mom’s Night Out,” the main character, Allyson is speaking to a friend about this very issue. She shares that she feels like she’s just not enough, and her friend answers with a simple question – “Enough for who?” It’s the perfect answer, because when it comes right down to it God thinks you are enough. He thought you were worth the price of His one and only Son. In fact, if you were the only person in the past 2,000 years who would be saved by the sacrifice of Christ on the cross, God still would have thought it was worth the cost. And even in the midst of messy homes and unmet expectations, that is enough.
Although failure is a pressing fear in my life, the fear of rejection takes the cake. Unfortunately rejection and hurt are realities of living in a broken world. Some women are able to let rejections roll off their backs. But for many women, myself included, experiencing painful rejection can have long-term and multifaceted effects. In my life, living in fear of rejection has resulted in difficulty forming meaningful relationships. You put up barriers and keep people at arm’s length, all to prevent people from catching a glimpse of who you really are. Because being rejected after making yourself vulnerable – that hurt is hard to get over. Instead you resign yourself to a life devoid of authenticity, and living life “unknown,” is a terribly lonely way to live.
But what if we didn’t have to be lonely? What if we cast off our fears and vowed to live a life of authenticity? What if we trusted our loved ones enough to show them our insecurities and fears? What if we were….honest? The other day I was speaking with a precious friend and spiritual mentor of mine. I was talking through some areas of rejection in my life, trying to get a handle on my feelings about writing this piece. This dear friend of 18 years said “I wish you would’ve told me how badly you were struggling with rejection. I couldn’t have loved you more, but I could have loved you better.”
It’s played in my mind dozens of times since then and its left me wondering – if we were honest with those around us, how many “I wish you would’ve told me” moments would there be? It’s amazing, isn’t it? All this time I wanted nothing more than to be seen, but I also feared nothing more than being seen. I pushed people away because the lie of fear had me convinced that if they really saw me, they wouldn’t like what they found. But real connection, really being known, happens only when we choose to take off the mask and let people see who we truly are.
My favorite passage in the Bible comes from the book of Isaiah. Isaiah 43:1b says “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.” Talk about a promise that pours out hope on a rejected heart! We are redeemed. We are spoken for. We are His. Although we may experience rejection from those around us, we will never experience rejection at the hands of our Savior. In fact one of the most beautiful things about walking with Jesus is that He heals the wounds of rejection we think will haunt us forever. And you know what? Jesus knew what it meant to be rejected. He was abused and despised by the very creation He came to save. Even on my hardest days, that’s a rejection I can’t begin to fathom.
Several months ago I had the distinct pleasure of writing a book with my husband Ben. It’s called The Sinner’s Savior and it grew from a conversation we had in which we were contemplating what it might be like if the Biblical figures who encountered Jesus could tell you their story in their own words. One of my favorite stories included in the book is the story of the woman at the well. This woman knew what it was like to live a life of isolation stemming from painful rejection. The book of John tells us that this woman had been rejected by five husbands. Five. The depth of hurt is unimaginable and the sting of rejection must have followed this woman through every step of every day. This woman reacted like many of us do today – she put up barriers and made choices to protect herself from rejection. She came to the well in the heat of the day, at a time where she could be sure not to encounter anyone. She was isolated – emotionally shut down and living in bondage to her fear of rejection. It seemed that this was her lot in life, and she had no hope of finding freedom from her fear. The one thing she didn’t count on was the Messiah Himself meeting her in her place of loneliness, breathing hope into her world and leaving the chains of her fear lying shattered on the ground.
You see, encountering and accepting the love of Jesus changes things. In the book of 1 John we find this promise – “there is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.” If we have a relationship with Christ, we don’t get to have love and fear. There’s not room for both. God’s love, if accepted fully and sincerely, actually casts the fear from our lives. So on those days when the enemy whispers lies of failure and rejection into our hearts, we are left with a choice – will we surrender to fear, or will we surrender to the perfect love of God?
Side Note: Dear friend, if you are dealing with the fear and pain of rejection, PLEASE do yourself a favor and grab Lysa TerKeurst’s book “Uninvited.” You won’t regret it!
Amanda McKim can usually be found chasing two blonde-headed little girls around their country home in rural Iowa. She serves as the worship leader at Calvary Baptist Church, where her husband is the Pastor. When she’s not playing guitar or doing “mommy things,” Amanda can be found behind her camera, working on running her small business, Amanda McKim Photography.
Amanda loves ice cold coke, sports, living room karaoke-dance parties, and relaxing days spent with her husband, sweet babies, and her wonderfully huge extended family!
I want to put Amanda's book, The Sinner's Savior, in your hands and Rustic Cuff on your wrists. Leave a comment right here on the blog by clicking the 'leave a comment' button. We would love to hear how you are pursuing #fearlessfriday!