The Center for Leadership Excellence and the Commission on the Status and Role of Women in the NC Conference have teamed up to send monthly emails of encouragement to women in ministry. Here is the email sent in September. If you would like to be added to the list to receive these emails, sign up below.
In Tara Mohr’s book, Playing Big: Practical Wisdom for Women Who Want to Speak Up, Create, and Lead, she quotes Rabbi Alan Lew’s understanding of fear.
In the Hebrew, two different words used for fear include pachad and yirah. Pachad is the “overreactive, irrational fear that stems from worries about what could happen, about the worst-case scenarios we imagine” (p. 65). Yirah has three different, but related meanings: to be overcome in a larger space than we are used to, to come into a sensation where we have more energy than normal, and to feel the presence of the divine (p. 66).
When we give in to pachad fear, we are held back from being the fullest witness of ourselves in Christ. Yet the yirah kind of fear and awe emboldens us to hear Christ speak to this wondrous and limitless understanding of how God might use us.
Read Isaiah 55:8-9
For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways, says the LORD.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.
Reflect: We long for our ways to be focused on God’s ways. We long for our lives to show the power of what it’s like to live as disciples amazed and in awe of God. At times, our thoughts have the power to hold back who we truly are out of fearfulness. Yet holy fear can lead us to be surprised and delighted by the power of the Holy Spirit.
We long for our ways to be focused on God’s ways. We long for our lives to show the power of what it’s like to live as disciples amazed and in awe of God. At times, our thoughts have the power to hold back who we truly are out of fearfulness. Yet holy fear can lead us to be surprised and delighted by the power of the Holy Spirit.
How can we shift from the pachad kind of fear to living into the beauty and power of the yirah fear? How can we quiet the fear of pachad that misleads us and take risks with the yirah fear to guide us?
What would it look to give your fears a holy revival to see what God might do through your willingness to trust in an even greater way, even if you don’t have all the answers?
Take Action: Name those areas in ministry and life where you long to live into a bolder witness for Christ. Spend time in prayer naming your fears and try to reframe those fears to glorify God by a yirah kind of fear instead.
Center for Leadership Excellence and the Commission on the Status and Role of Women
We are grateful to the Rev. Laura Dunlap, Burlington Circuit, for writing this month’s issue of Encouragements. If you are interested in contributing to a future issue of Encouragements, please email email@example.com.
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