Do It Afraid

A little over a month ago, a dear friend of mine and former co-worker texted me to tell me about a vacant position posted on my (our) employer’s website. The position was the exact same position I had previously occupied before I lost my job this past Spring.

I went online and read the job posting. The position was located in a smaller division that seems to not struggle with turnover and strife like some other divisions do. Also it was in an ideal location with a reasonable commute. I met or exceeded all of the job’s minimum qualifications. I printed the job posting and shoved the paper into my carry-all bag and tried to go on about my work and my day.

From that point, a battle began in my mind. It was as if once I read the job posting and could find no fault with the opportunity, no reason (or excuse) to forgo applying for the job, a tidal wave of fear and anxiety washed over me and would not let me go.

I was literally sitting at my desk with a knot of dread in my abdomen and I was attempting to calm myself down by saying to myself, “You do not have to apply for this job if you don’t want to.” But each time I said that to myself, I heard another voice say, “Do it afraid.”

If you’ve ever heard Joyce Meyer speak or give her testimony, you might recognize that little expression Do It Afraid. What she means behind those three little words is: don’t let fear stop you. Whatever it is you know you must do or should do, no matter how strong the feelings of fear are, know that God is with you and thru Him you are empowered to do what you need to do (Philippians 4:13).

When I say that I heard another voice, it was not audible. It was not merely the memory or recollection of hearing a Joyce Meyer teaching. I believe the voice of my mind was trying to soothe my flesh by saying, “You do not have to apply for this job if you don’t want to” and immediately after, the voice of my spirit would speak up and say, “Do it afraid.”

In God’s Word we are taught that there are three distinct parts which comprise the whole of a person {I Thessalonians 5:23}. Your flesh, which can be appetite driven, your soul, which is comprised of your mind, will and emotions, and thirdly your spirit. When you become born-again, your spirit is re-born and made alive and the Holy Spirit comes to reside within you. Your soul and your flesh are still the same and, despite being born again, can get you or keep you in a lot of trouble and bondage if allowed to rule. This is why after an altar call preacher’s often talk about the importance of reading your Bible and attending church: you need discipleship and new disciplines (routines & habits) to form which will feed and strengthen your newly-born spirit so that your spirit will be the leader, not your soul or flesh.

So back to panic-stricken-Susie in her cubicle: my flesh was freaking out, my soul was trying to calm my flesh down and my spirit was encouraging me to take steps forward because of God’s promises to me and ignore my flesh and soul. This battle lasted for three days. I was going through the motions of my daily routine, but overwhelmingly the tug-of-war between my soul and spirit kept on.

At some point the Holy Spirit ministered to me: no more hiding. The Holy Spirit reminded me of a month or so before when I had to run two errands which placed me back in the building I used to work in and a second building that I used to frequent in my old position. I found myself in the bathroom with an upset stomach dreading returning to those two buildings for fear of who I might see. What if I run into someone I used to work with? How will they treat me? Will they ask me questions about how and why I lost my job? What if they ignore me? I did get thru those two errands and I did run into people that I used to work with or interact with and they were kind and I was kind and they didn’t ask any questions and I didn’t loiter but kept moving to get done what I needed to get done.

Well, I did apply for the job. I marched myself over to Human Resources and took a typing test and submitted my application. I honestly had to pray myself thru each baby step.

And I got called for an interview.

And I had many people praying for me that day.

And I knew that God was with me that day.

And I answered their ten questions and made eye contact and smiled.

And just as we were all about to stand up and shake hands, I asked the interview panel to allow me another minute or two to address my transfer / demotion which took place in May. And I told my story of a bad decision and the grace that followed and my gratitude for second chances. And my voice only cracked once and I saw compassion in the eyes of one panelist. And I was thanked for my forthrightness and assured that I would be told either way of the outcome.

It’s been two-and-a-half weeks since that interview. If they made a decision, I haven’t heard either way. Sure, it’s been a bit of a bummer because I would love to experience blessing and promotion and redemption in the job arena. But I’ve experienced an even greater victory. My spirit won. I did not succumb to fear or panic.

Through this experience, I also got to share my ‘story’ several times. This is significant because last month I could not recount what happened without breaking down and weeping. After I submitted the job application, because I knew I needed prayer support, I proceeded to share my story with my Calvary small-group and several friends at Victory Orlando. Each time I shared it got a little easier and I cried a little less. I believe the analogy The Lord gave me is one of a cut or wound on say your finger. You can put Neosporin and a Band-Aid on that cut but at some point you need to remove the Band-Aid and allow water and air in to promote healing. The ointment and Band-Aid are good initially, but eventually if the wound is denied fresh air and hand washing, the skin will stay unhealed. No scab will form.

By telling my story, I’ve let some water and air in.

Thank you, Jesus.

I prayed to the LORD, and he answered me. He freed me from all my fears. Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy; no shadow of shame will darken their faces. (‭Psalms‬ ‭34‬:‭4-5‬ NLT)