The Little Lady’s hand used to terrify me.
When I was a boy, one of the older neighborhood kids liked to scare me with a broken-off Barbie doll arm. He would stretch the tiny, plastic arm toward me, promise me the “Little Lady’s hand was going to get me”, and chase me up the block. Though I really feared his size and strength instead of the doll’s arm, the thought of enduring another round of running from the “Little Lady’s hand” would often keep me from going outside to play.
Today, I don’t feel the need to sprint from the room when my 15-month old daughter Clara comes toward me with her plastic baby doll. But, the sight of any toy plastic arm still reminds me how fear got in the way of experiencing what I enjoyed most.
I admire how Clara toddles toward danger. Locks on cabinets, plugs on sockets and quick hands to steer and guide her are part of our protection plan to prevent her from getting hurt, but she continues to explore the world around her like she can’t lose. I think that’s the best attitude to have when God leads me to do the things I may fear to do.
Do you ever fear doing something God has called you to do? Maybe your stomach pits at the thought of speaking in front of the church. Maybe an overseas mission trip makes you imagine worst-case scenarios. Or, perhaps asking your neighbor if they know about Jesus Christ causes you to envision them shutting their door on you permanently.
I have dealt with all three. I’m thankful for God’s word that gets me over my fear and on to His work.
2 Timothy 1:7 says, “For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.”
Through a relationship with God achieved by the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, we have access to a spirit of power, love and self-control and can move forward with God’s plans in confidence.
We are free to enjoy the tasks God has for us knowing he allows us to accomplish them through his power. My little Clara knows that in my hands, I can make her fly in the air, ride the dog like a horse, and even walk on swimming pool water. Think of what we can accomplish in the hands of our heavenly father?
God’s spirit of love reminds us the task He wants us to accomplish is for His glory. When we look to preserve our own interests by remaining stagnant in fear, what do we tell God about where His glory fits into our life?
Finally, the self-control we gain from God’s spirit helps us to remain firm in His tasks by letting our minds saturate in truth despite the constant opportunity to fear. Temptations to fear and doubt may come, but a mind continually set on God will see through those obstacles and back on to his purpose.
I know as Clara grows, she’ll begin to fear things that Jessica and I don’t. A night-light in her bedroom will probably replace the plug protector at some point, but we will still need to steer and guide her in truth so she’ll know why she doesn’t have to be afraid.
These days, when she stretches her little hand toward me, I smile knowing I have the chance to model to her fearlessness founded in faith.
I might even buy her a Barbie doll someday.