If I ever had to choose some chalk art for my home (like Melanie recently added to hers!), the above picture and verse is what I’d want right now!!
It is interesting what God sometimes brings out to you when you have read a Bible verse over and over and even heard it seemingly all your life. It can suddenly be all new and relevant to your situation!
Hebrews 4:16 is a verse like that! Today I was thinking about the word BOLDLY. You see, I’m really quite a sissy, scaredy cat!! Bold is NOT a word that describes me. I have definitely had to learn to overcome my timidity due to some jobs I have held and in advocating for my children, for example. I can do anything if I *have to* … but if I have my preferences, I prefer to just hold back, not make waves.
Classic examples of this in me is when I approach someone I need to talk to about something serious (not so much my family or friends, but a boss or authority figure). I spend hours, maybe days, thinking about the PERFECT time to approach them … and then when I finally do, it is with “are you busy … am I interrupting you … would you like me to come back another time??” If at all possible, I like to avoid confrontation all together. It is classic introvertism!
I even hate to ask sales associates for help, even though I know that is what they are there for!! And approaching strangers is something I rarely, if ever do!
Since we’ve lived in NW Arkansas, I’ve had the opportunity to approach several well-known people… and I didn’t do it!! Earlier last year, we saw 2 of the Duggar girls (I think it was Jinger and Jessa?). They were shopping at our local Goodwill one night while we were there (the Duggars live in Tonitown, Arkansas, which is just a few miles from where we live). Annie-Belle was SO frustrated with me that I wouldn’t go talk to them (she loves their show!) even though the store was really empty, and no one else was noticing them. Perhaps that is the very reason I didn’t want to “bother” them?!
Not very long ago, I saw Kelly Stamps, a faith/family blogger with over 10,000 followers at TJ Maxx (she lives in Bentonville, AR, also very close to us – but her daughter has speech therapy in our city). I had actually seen a picture of her daughter on Instagram just that morning, and I recognized not her but her daughter’s dress!! She was in an aisle, all alone with her daughter Hollis in her cart, and again, I didn’t dare approach her. I circled the aisles all around her – kind of like a stalker … but in the end, I walked out of the store without saying anything! Later, I commented on her IG account that I’d seen Hollis’ dress in person and liked it – and she said I should have said “hi”! Next time … maybe?!?!?
Being timid is really just exhibiting fear and being unwilling to reach out. The older I get, the less of a “people-person” I am. I will admit that my social anxiety has really kicked in to full gear since we moved here last summer. While I am THRILLED to have moved, I am not thrilled to have a develop a new set of friends and relationships. And therefore, for now, I am holding people – even those who have kindly reached out to me – at a distance. It is something I have always done somewhat (cautiously approach a new situation), but in my younger days as a military wife, moving 7 times in 12 years, I think I needed the support of friends so much that I dared to be more open. Now, I am settled in my old age and my old habits. I like my “old” friends … and I prefer the lack of drama in my stay-at-home life!! In many ways, I think that is ok because we, as a family, need to re-group right now … but there will come a time when I can no longer use the excuse that “we just moved here and are getting over some pretty emotional experiences”!
ANYWAY. Back to Hebrews 4:16, in thinking of God as our Father, I wonder if that has to do with my lack of boldness in approaching Him?! Not that I blame my own father figures … and I actually have 2 dads, a biological one and my step-dad who adopted me and is my “dad”!! Both are good men. However, I can’t say I was ever able to be a “daddy’s girl” so I can’t relate to the fuzzy, warm, comforting love of a father. Then I also think in relation to my own children: when they “approach me”, it is often at the most inconvenient times! I am usually always in the middle of something! Isn’t that how it goes?!
My husband’s mother is great at dropping everything she is doing to give you her full attention. I wish I was more like that; however, another introvert tendency is that we don’t like interruptions and prefer to work on something until it is DONE. This frustration was something I faced often as a church/school secretary which led my friend Amy (also a church secretary) to teach me something through a saying: Interruptions are my ministry.
In any case, GOD isn’t like any of our earthly parents anyway!! While He is our “Father”, He is also holy and perfect and completely APPROACHABLE at any time! He isn’t grouchy or doesn’t need to stop running the world to help us. He is available always! His grace is unlimited and easily accessible. It is His children who just need to ask!
Despite what I said about my children sometimes coming to me at an inconvenient time, I definitely always want them to know I am available to help them. Any time. Especially if they are in trouble or have questions and concerns. My 4 year old (and often my 13 year old!) has no problems approaching me boldly with a “MILK!!!!! PLEASE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”, disregarding anything I am doing at the time. Sometimes I might say, “Please be a patient for a little while” (and doesn’t God say that sometimes too!?) … but usually, I want to meet her need, if it something that is good for her.
God – and authority in general – have always been intimidating to me! I have always been scared or fearfully respectful (?!) of pastors, teachers, and authority figures like the police, politicians, etc. But as I am reading more about God’s GRACE these past few years and in the last few days in Romans 5-6, I am seeing God prefers to be full of grace, mercy, and long-suffering. He doesn’t necessarily want to be the executor of judgment and punishment, but when sinful people choose to ignore Him or even defy Him, His holiness demands justice. Truly, God loves us more than we can even grasp … sending His own Son so we can have eternal life with Him. I more I grasp this fact, that more I understand the concept Abba-Father – often interrupted as Daddy.
The below illustration really brought that home to me – in a Narnian way, reminding me of Aslan, the gentle Protector of His own, the fierce yet humble Victor. This seemingly unapproachable Being is just waiting for us to approach. Boldly.