VBS for Grown-Ups: Even When You’re Afraid

Vacation Bible School.  That’s just for kids, right?  Silly songs.  Silly skits.  Silly costumes.  Kids stuff.  Sure.

But is there any message in Scripture that God delivers just for people 12 and under? We older and ‘wiser’ ones sometimes make faith so complicated when the simple beauty of truth is what we really need.

This week, I’ll be singing songs and doing those silly skits from Group Publishing’s Weird Animals VBS at my own church.

Here on the blog, I’ll be sharing with you those same stories, the same lessons, the same truth, but for grown-ups.


I wish I had my four-year-old’s bravery.

She’s this tiny powerhouse of courage, stepping onto roller coasters and water rides that drop you straight down and splash you in the face as you land.

She handles shots, injuries, and dental repairs without tears or drama.

But me?

I’m tossing and turning at night, not thrilled at the thought of food, outright terrified, edgy and far too prone to cry, and I’m wondering how I can bottle up this tiny daughter’s courage to fill up my own wimpy soul.matthew14, photo by Decha Thapanya;

Funny how trying to obey God, trying to step out and do what He’s called you to do can be exhilarating and frightening at the same time.

Sure is like a roller coaster, I guess.

But you know what?  I hate roller coasters.

Maybe that’s what makes this so difficult.

In one month almost exactly, I’ll be swimming in a huge ocean of other writers at my first ever writer’s conference.

It may be a month away, but the battle is here and now.

What if everyone is better than me?

What if every woman there looks more polished and more confident and has all the style and pizzazz that captures attention and I’m the easily overlooked tag-a-long that no one remembers?

What if I stumble over my words? 

What if everyone hates what I write or hates my ideas?

What if I’m just not good enough?

What if I make all the sacrifices to be there and walk out with nothing more than capital F Failure and capital R Rejection?

God calls us to daily obedience.  That’s hard enough some days.

Then sometimes He calls us to all-in, risk-everything, put-yourself-out-there, this-is-crazy kind of vulnerability and trust.

It takes courage.  That doesn’t mean you aren’t afraid.  Courage means you obey Him even when you’re terrified because you trust Him with the results.

The disciples had that courage.  They walked right away from their fishing nets and steady paychecks.

The prophets spoke up for right against all that was wrong despite raging kings and queens and the bounties on their head.

Esther stepped into a throne room not knowing if the king would kill her or lower that scepter and hear what she had to say.

Paul strode into city after city and taught in the synagogue every time, knowing he faced the possibility each time of stoning, imprisonment, beatings, death.

And here I am, doing what I’m supposed to do to get ready:

Write the proposal. Come up with a tagline. Pack a briefcase.  Print business cards.  Connect with other authors. Build a platform.  Choose a snazzy outfit.  Get your hair cut and colored or at least maybe some highlights (maybe that terrifies me more than anything).

Most importantly: Pray.  Pray some more.  Pray every single day.

Here’s what I need:  Holy Spirit courage to do what He’s called me to do and leave the rest up to Him.

Like it says:

But Jesus spoke to them at once. Don’t be afraid,” he said. Take courage. I am here!” (Matthew 14:27 NLT).

Take courage because He’s here, right here with you, present with you, not abandoning you, not sending you out all by your lonesome self.

Ananias needed courage like that, too.  The Lord called Him to seek out a man from Tarsus named Saul.

Not any Saul from Tarsus either:  THE Saul from Tarsus, the notorious Christian-persecutor and murderer.

He had to choose.

Risk it all, even death, and obey?  He knew the cost.  Ananias recited the risks for God, as if God clearly didn’t know the details before sending down the divine orders.

“Lord,” Ananias answered, “I have heard many reports about this man and all the harm he has done to your holy people in Jerusalem. And he has come here with authority from the chief priests to arrest all who call on your name.” (Acts 9:13-14 NIV).

“But the Lord said to Ananias, ‘Go….” (Acts 9:15 NIV).

Maybe God has called you out, asked you to do something that takes true courage and your heart just trembles at the thought of the call.

Yet, He says, “Go….”

Take courage, dear one.  He is with you.  Even when you’re afraid, Jesus loves you.

He knows the risks.  He knows what makes your heart quake.  He knows the results.

And He promises to be with you.

May I ask this of you?  Would you pray with me and for me this month as I prepare to go to She Speaks in July?  I am so blessed by your prayers for me!


Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  Her book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, is available now!  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2014 Heather King


Tucked Under the Pillow

When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul.
Psalm 94:19

I remember her telling me, “Don’t let fear steal your joy.”

And I do, too much of the time.

Like with my first pregnancy and all the exciting rush in the first few days of knowing we were going to have a baby.

It lasted a day or two before quickly being replaced by fear.  A million what-if’s and hypothetical situations, dangerous unknowns and general uncertainty left me tossing and turning at night.  It doesn’t help when you open up the pregnancy books and find the necessary-but-terrifying information about miscarriages, risks, statistics, tests and more.

I probably didn’t have so much a mother-to-be glow as a ghostly shade of I-can’t-sleep-at-night.

But my mother-in-law told me not to let fear steal my joy, and that is what I thought about in the weeks between a positive pregnancy test and the first time I actually felt the baby move or saw a healthy little life on an ultrasound screen or even held her in my arms in a hospital bed.

I bought two little newborn sleepers (neutral green, of course, not knowing yet whether we’d have a boy or girl) and I folded one up and slipped it under my pillow.  In the moments I was tempted to fear at night, I slipped my hand underneath the pillow case and felt the joy.

And even if I didn’t “feel” it, I knew the joy was there; it was the determined refusal to be afraid.

You really can’t enjoy the gifts God has given, you know, if you’re fearful at the same time.  They are mutually exclusive conditions.

As Kay Warren wrote in Choose Joy:

“Joy is not about happy feelings. It’s a settled assurance about God. A quiet confidence in God. And a determined choice to praise God in all things.”

That “settled assurance” and “quiet confidence” that God can take care of us no matter what and that no circumstance is outside of His control, negates all t484650_10200524323537513_1365502963_nhose fears that somehow the worst possible thing could happen.

Because even in the worst thing:

God is with you.

He will carry you.

He is still in control.

He remains mighty.

Yet, somehow we move so quickly from gratitude over a gift and that one brief moment of rejoicing into an anxiety ridden fear that “the other shoe will fall” or somehow it’s “too good to be true” or that there must be something terribly wrong hidden in the silver lining.

Or God comes through for us and relieves us of one fear, and we just so quickly replace it with another.

“Great!  Now I’m worried that…..” or “I’m glad that’s over.  Now I’m just afraid….”

Take the time to rejoice.

Truly pause the whirlwind of thoughts and give thanks, praise, breathe in and out the freedom of joy….and refuse to trade that in for the suffocation of fear.

When those twelve spies walked out of the wilderness between Egypt and Canaan and stepped foot on that Promised Land soil for the very first time, they had a choice to make.

Did they remember all of those miraculous victories, rescues and provisions on their journey and confidently trust that God would continue to care for them?

Or did they throw out a quick, “Thanks, God, that was all great.  But now I’m just too afraid that the giants here are undefeated and the obstacles insurmountable?”

Ten of those spies rushed past joy, practically leapt right over it, and scrambled quickly into fear.

And the fear was contagious:

Then the whole community broke into loud cries, and the people wept that night. All the Israelites complained about Moses and Aaron, and the whole community told them, “If only we had died in the land of Egypt, or if only we had died in this wilderness! Why is the Lord bringing us into this land to die by the sword? Our wives and little children will become plunder. Wouldn’t it be better for us to go back to Egypt?” So they said to one another, “Let’s appoint a leader and go back to Egypt.”

Joshua and Caleb tried to tell them truth:   The Lord is with us.  He can do this.  “Don’t be afraid” (Numbers 14:9).

But when your heart and mind is set on fear, it’s hard to hear the truth.  So, they didn’t listen, just closed their ears right up to the promises of God and spent an entire generation wandering in the desert and missing out on God’s very best as a result.

Fear is costly that way.  It always steals joy.

Here’s the promise for us, though.

When your heart and mind is set on truth, it’s hard to feel the fear.

Tuck that under your pillow tonight and remember the joy.

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  Her upcoming book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, will be released in November 2013!  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2013 Heather King