by Tiffany Malone
Ever been asked this question? Maybe, by someone who caught you trying to go somewhere you probably weren’t supposed to be going? Or perhaps you were trying to go somewhere at the wrong time. For me, this question brings so many fond memories of my youth, my late grandmother, and the summers I spent at her house in Texas with my cousins. Just as we cousins would prepare to carry out the mayhem we liked to refer to as “fun,” my Granny would suddenly appear and say to us, “Going somewhere?”.
We could never figure out how she always knew what we were up to! And believe me, that one innocent question was anything but. It was loaded. It meant, ‘I know what you’re planning – and don’t you even think about it.’ And it struck terror into our hearts.
No reprimand needed.
No spanking needed.
And no “fun” needed. We were scared straight.
As the years have passed, it’s clear to see that somewhere along the way that spark of childhood fearlessness has begun to dim, and I’ll bet some of you can relate. That spark that makes us willing to move, dare, step out into the unknown, do what has never been done, or go into brave new worlds has faded.
And it’s no wonder. Life’s experiences, failures, and disappointments have “trained” many of us until we find ourselves in a very familiar routine that is comfortable for us.
And should we get the prompting and the courage to step out of the familiar, following the direction of the Spirit leading us out into the next level, and the next season of life, suddenly out of nowhere we hear the question:
But there is, in many of us, a stirring from God to step into purpose. A stirring to break the numbing inertia of the status quo that moves in opposition to God’s call. We are called to greater, and we know this. But we start to take the step, and we hear the question:
If many of us are honest, the question still strikes terror in our hearts. This one innocent question is anything but. It’s loaded. And it’s a major problem.
If this sounds like you, and this nagging thought is keeping you in an ungodly holding pattern, then you have a major issue. Let me be clear: if the move you need to make is God-directed, then there ought to be urgency. I encourage you to examine your actions and your thought life with these three questions while asking God for clarity and wisdom in both your current and future decisions.
Q1: Are you scared straight – or just scared?
Everyone has felt fear of some kind, but all fear is not the same. There is the fear of God referred to again and again in the scriptures (and despite what you’ve heard, it’s not only respect or reverence, it’s actually fear. See Exodus). That fear is known as the beginning of knowledge (Prov 1:7), the beginning of wisdom (Prov 9:10), and the motivation for persuading men to follow Christ (2 Cor 5:11). I call this “scared straight” -this is good and right fear: The fear of the Lord.
But there is also another fear. It is a fear of man, organizations, systems, worldly powers, or anything other than God. It’s this fear that Paul writes about in 2 Tim 1:7, stating, “God has not given us the spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline (NLT). This fear does not come from God, and it doesn’t get you moving; it just keeps you stuck! This ain’t scared straight, girl – this is just scared.
So, which is motivating you? One of them is, that’s for sure. The fear of the Lord is with those who obey Him. You will obey whatever you serve. So, which is it?
Q2: What’s it going to cost me?
Jesus taught that no wise person seeks to build a building without counting the cost (Luke 14:28). The wisdom in the parable is clear. Who wants to begin a construction project, and not have the funding to finish it? That blunder, and the resulting ridicule from all who see the unfinished structure is completely avoidable.
Yet, many of us are doing this very thing. If we are ‘just scared’ we have likely counted the cost of making our bold move. After all, it is called the “Great Unknown.” We’ve considered the possibility of failure, the isolation, the uncertainty, and other associated costs.
But sadly, many of us do not count the cost of remaining unchanged. There are costs when we do not obey God. We do not consider the work God desires to do in others through our obedience, the expansion of the kingdom, and the reverberating effects that our obedience may span for generations beyond this decision. Consider King Saul, who allowed fear to cause him to disobey God. The Word says, “I would have established your kingdom forever…” (I Sam 13:13NLT).
The real question is, what is NOT obeying God costing me?
Q3: Who’s asking, anyway?
No, it’s usually not an audible voice to which I’m referring. By now, we know that it’s the internal dialogue with which we are all so familiar. It’s the mental banter that plays out inside of us affecting the decisions we make. Typically, it’s the nagging voice of fear, self-doubt, rejection, familiarity, comfort – the enemy’s voice – lying to the renewed YOU. The YOU that hears the voice of the Spirit. The YOU that has finally gotten up the courage to step out into what He’s called you to.
So, give it some thought? Who’s asking?
Is it the Spirit of God, or another spirit? Know this and hold it close to your heart: If you have surrendered to Christ, Romans 8:12 says, “You have no obligation to do what your sinful nature urges you to do.”
Take that, devil!
We need to look the enemy in the eye and answer him, “Well, as a matter of fact, I AM going somewhere!”
I wish I could tell you that it’s easy, but it’s not. The truth is that the next level, the next season, the next dimension is unfamiliar. As soon as you are delivered from the bondage of the past, you immediately face the uncertainty of freedom. We desire freedom, but we often underestimate that moving to the next level is going to stretch us. And stretching hurts. Yes, there is the pain of the present, but the future brings its own sort of pain, simply because it’s new and different. Don’t underestimate this.
It’s so easy to stay put. We know all about staying put. We’ve done it for quite some time now. And after all, it didn’t kill us. We didn’t die.
But the question is not, “But, did you die?”
The question is, “But, did you LIVE?”
Choose life! Surrender, girl!