How a simple phrase from a friendly Costa-Rican completely changed my perspective on life.
When the ball drops and the clock strikes 12:00 a.m., there are many ideas running through people’s minds. You see engagements, kisses, and babies being born all over television. When you head to bed after all the festivities, the next thing on everyone’s mind is one thing. You guessed it, resolutions! “I am going to read this many books. I am going to save this much money. I am going to finally lose those 10 pounds.” You have such enthusiasm for what you want to do. It is statistically proven that gym memberships dramatically increase in January, but then people do not follow through and end up wasting hundreds of dollars on good intentions with little consistency. Why does this happen? Why don’t people keep their commitments? In three to four months, those who got a gym membership could dramatically have changed their health, but instead, they gave up.
There are many reasons that come to mind as to why we all can’t seem to keep all the resolutions we make, but one stands out to me the most. People fear change. Complacency is the easy way out of changing your life for the good, because you never risk the bad coming along. We let the fear of failure overtake the desire for what we truly want.
I admit that a lot of times, that situation I just wrote about is me. I get scared. I hate change. I like things to be constant and predictable because then I think I have complete control over every situation in my life. But that’s far from reality. I fear the unknown. It is one of my biggest fears in life, but God tells me that this is not the mindset I should have. Deuteronomy 31:6 says that we need to “be strong and courageous” and to “not fear or dread in them” because God “will never leave us or forsake us”.
God had me face this fear head on while I was on a mission trip to Costa Rica. It was amazing to see how God was working where there was a severe lack of resources. It was our last night in Costa Rica and we were having a joint prayer service. My experience in prayer services made me expect a dark quiet room where all I had to do was talk silently to myself. Instead over 30 Costa Ricans began shouting their prayers to God and it was completely overwhelming. It broke me down. God was moving and working in that room and I could feel the presence of the Holy Spirit over us. Every member of that church went around and said a prayer over all of us that had been there to help them. As the prayer time was ending, I noticed a man across the circle and we made eye contact but I thought nothing of it. Soon, he walked over to me, hugged me, and said: “Do not be afraid”. I had no idea who this man was. I didn’t know his name and he didn’t know mine, but God laid it on his heart to share those three words with me. God used that man to completely change my perspective of God and the life He was calling me to.
Throughout the Bible, God gives us instances where we should not be afraid. The words “Do not be afraid” are stated 365 times! Hebrews 13:8 tells us that Christ is the “same yesterday and today and forever.” He is constant and true. This has filled me with a peace I have never known before. It allows me to not fear what is ahead because God is with me. Before going down to Cost Rica, I was scared.
1.) I had no idea who these people were.
2.) I had no way of just turning around to go back home when I was uncomfortable and
3.) I did not trust in God completely. I still wanted to have control
I knew I was going down there for a purpose, but I feared what that purpose was. I feared the change in my heart and my life I knew I needed but was resisting and not wanting to let go of the comforts of this earth. Psalm 56:11 says “in God I trust, I shall not be afraid. What can man do to me?” I did not believe this to be true when I arrived in Costa Rica, but God changed my heart with three words. “Don’t be afraid.”