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Escape Plan: Running from Fear

I walk into every room and do one thing—look for the exit signs. I’m an outgoing-introvert but in a crowded room filled with strangers, I am plotting my escape route.

Recently, when my co-hosts and I asked a question on our More Than Small Talk podcast, “Do you feel strong?,” my initial response was to say it totally depends on the moment and talk about the things that make me feel like I’m awkwardly dancing on the opposite side of strength.

After I finished confessing, my friend passionately pleaded the case against the timid girl I was talking about. And, I believed her. Each word was an affirmation to see strength over weakness and to lean into it. Suzie didn’t view me as fearful or one to shy away from a crowd because she had witnessed me standing as tall as my five-foot-four-inch frame allows in ministry.

True strength is the gutsiness to do whatever God asks you to… even if it scares you.

When you stand in God’s strength and shine His light, you don’t have to plot your escape route. You get to stand in a strength that God fashioned just for you.

Friends call out the beautiful things within us and speak to the strength within. As Suzie said during our honest conversation, “Sometimes we don’t see our own strengths.”

This is why we need each other so much. We are so good at pinpointing our weaknesses that we sabotage our greatest strengths and we downplay them to a fault.

Why do we constantly tear ourselves down while our strength waits on the sidelines of where our confidence in Christ could run all the best plays?

Friend, I don’t know you but I think we need to shut that down and listen when our people speak truth into our lives. Your critics don’t get a say in who you really are; listen to the truth-speakers and hand-holders. Those are the people who will cheer for the fearful underdog and cheer the loudest when they realize they were never meant for the sidelines.

Everyone has moments of fear and weakness and that’s okay. Those moments where we fall short is where the real inspiration is found and it reminds us that we are not alone in this. In the past, I was faking my strength and hiding behind the wall we often up as women that we have it all together.

But when I took the wall down, it opened far more opportunities than faking it ever did. I learned that fear and bravery have worked in my favor by creating a dependency on God. It's not always faith over fear, sometimes it's both. But we can put on strength and speak to our deepest fears, “You are no match for who God has created me to be.

“The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and He helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise Him.”

(Psalm 28: 7)

Escape Plan: Running From Fear is ENTRY TWO in Sanctuary's blog series, Sabotage of Fear, featuring the work of ministry wife, author, and guest blogger Jennifer Watson. What have you experienced over the past few months in regards to fear? What's your personal battle plan? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Jennifer Watson and her husband Jonathan have been married and in ministry for 21 years, serving as Lead Pastors in NW Arkansas. She's the mother of two teenage girls, which she says makes life "very full and fun with their different approaches to life".

Something that has shaped Jennifer's ministry philosophy is that "there is nothing below me when it comes to servanthood and nothing too out-of-reach for me when it comes to pursuing the calling on my life. I spent my early years in ministry feeling very under-qualified for my calling without realizing that the things that I thought would only trip me up were actually tied to my most important work in life." Jennifer acknowledges, "My only strategy in ministry is obedience and loving the people around me."

In her free time, Jennifer enjoys napping and binge-watching cheesy Hallmark movies with her daughters, as well as hiking and exploring when the weather permits. "During the wintertime, my favorite thing to do is stay home and look ugly- yoga pants sans the yoga."

Jennifer recently published her first book with Bethany House Publishers. Here's a sneak peak from Freedom!: The Gutsy Pursuit of Breakthrough and the Life Beyond It.

Brokenness has become a buzzword. We wear it like a badge, proudly showing off the shattered pieces of our lives–while still fighting the same desperate battles. But brokenness was never meant to be the destination. Or your identity.

It was meant to be the catalyst for breakthrough.

Inspiring, vulnerable, and powerful, this new book from Jennifer Watson helps you take your eyes off the idol of brokenness and experience the God of breakthrough. She shows how breakthrough is really hope moving forward, even when life hurts. And she gives you practical, uncomplicated ways to:

· stop feeling shame and emptiness · leave the victim mentality behind · experience lasting restoration in your story and your soul · and more

It’s okay to not be okay for a little while. But Jesus has a plan to see your scars become success stories that reflect his glory to the people around you.

To learn more about this amazing new book, visit Jennifer's site or order via your favorite online retailer.

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