The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? When evildoers assail me to eat up my flesh, my adversaries and foes, it is they who stumble and fall. (ESV)
Last weekend I tested for my first-degree black belt. For almost four years at a mixed martial arts school at my church, I have trained in Tae Kwon Doe, Muay Thai, seventy-two self-defense techniques and countless hours of sparring and bag work. This all culminated for black belt testing where I spent eight exhausting hours proving what I had learned. I am not exaggerating when I say that this was the hardest day of my life.
Many times throughout the day, I wanted to quit. I cried. I was exhausted. My muscles hurt. My feet were blistered. Bruises decorated various body parts. My hair was a disaster. Even though I seriously wanted to, I didn’t quit. I’ve wanted this Black Belt since I started training. However, in the days and even hours leading up to testing , I contemplated not testing because of fear.
If things could go wrong in the months before testing, it did. I developed an ear infection in early March that kept me from beginning the PT portion of testing on schedule. Then, as I was finally getting back training for the big day, I developed the worst case of Bronchitis of my life. I was confined to my bed for over two weeks. This sickness and subsequent recovery time set me back.
I know at times I let fear dictate my life. This testing was no exception. I was afraid of failure. What if I PT and don’t pass and then cannot test? What if I go through testing and don’t break my boards? What if people know I tested and didn’t pass? What if someone sees me mess up? What if someone knows I don’t do great? I began to convince myself that it would be better to simply not test than to test and fail. I had resolved in the two weeks prior to testing that I wouldn’t do it.
Thankfully my instructors wouldn’t hear of it. They knew I had bronchitis and was still recovering, so they took that into account for my PT Test. Thank goodness because I didn’t pass the run or sit up requirements. Then my worst fear did materialize. I didn’t break my boards as required. However, they gave me a second chance a few days later. At that time I did break. I earned my black belt.
This whole experience had me thinking about Satan can use fear to control my life. Honestly, this is just another list of things I was afraid of. I’m fearful of my co-op failing. I’m fearful of not raising my children correctly. I’m fearful that I’m not homeschooling them the correct way. I’m fearful of rejection from friends.
The enemy would love nothing more than for me to live my life in fear. Not only would I not do some of these crazy things, like test for a black belt for eight hours, but I also would be ineffective for the kingdom if I live by fear.
I’m thankful I put my fears and inhibitions aside to test. I’m even more grateful that I can do ALL things through Christ who gives me strength. While I struggle with fear, I know the truth that God does not give me a spirit of fear (2 Timothy 1:7). As Psalm 56:3-4 says,
When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; uI shall not be afraid. What can flesh do to me?
What fear are you casting out today? Spend some time reflecting on God’s promises in his perfect Word about fear. He has given us much hope and much promise with regard to fear. Whom, or what, shall I fear? I’m working through it, but I’m so grateful for the promises He gives me.
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