Do it Afraid

Do it Afraid

Sam DiStefano Advisors & Student Leaders, Leadership, Personal Development 0 Comments

One of my favorite things to do in the summer is to go on “adventures” with my friends. Adventures can be anything from deciding to get ice cream, to going kayaking, to finding a sunflower field. One day, I had the pleasure of adventuring in Ithaca and found myself at a swimming area that was surrounded by cliffs to jump off of.

I saw person after person jump into the water from all different heights and I wanted in on the action. I went to the biggest cliff first and peaked over the edge. My throat closed up and I felt my stomach drop. I was afraid, my mind started racing with all the ways this was a dumb idea and how badly I could get hurt if I did it wrong. There was a certain level of risk involved. Not only could I actually physically get hurt, but my pride would be bruised if I stepped up and didn’t end up jumping. No one wants to be that guy.

I went back and forth a million times, waiting for my turn, then getting out of line when I got close. Finally, I took a deep breath and decided I was going to do it afraid. The thoughts hadn’t stopped, the sinking feeling in my stomach hadn’t gone away, but something inside me knew that taking on this cliff was what I had to do.

In life, we are often confronted with these kind of moments. Maybe you aren’t jumping off a literal cliff, but it can certainly feel like it. We have all encountered decisions or opportunities that scare us. What if I make the wrong choice? What if I risk everything for this and I fail? What if I take a chance on this person and they end up hurting me?

There was a man who was very comfortable in the life he had built for himself. He had a wife, children and a peaceful job working for his father in law. But one day, God showed up in a burning bush, and spoke something that would change his life forever. “Come, I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring my people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt.”

Our man Moses was not about that plan, and for good reason. He had a nice, safe life. He had a past he would rather forget in Egypt. He did not see himself as qualified for the job. He was not eloquent and certainly not confident. He says in Exodus 3:11, “Who am I that you would send me?” That’s how he felt. Maybe that is how you feel too.

I think there is a tension that exists inside of all of us to live a life worth telling stories about and to feel established and safe and secure. Life with God often means being called outside your comfort zone. It means daring to dream that you were made for so much more than simply existing. Moses was given an opportunity to go on a God sized adventure, and he was very much afraid.

God’s response to Moses and to you is simple, “I will be with you.” It is ok if you are fearful. It’s ok if you don’t feel adequate, or prepared or qualified. It’s ok if the uncertainty of the future causes you to be afraid. Just don’t stay there.

Today I am here to tell you that God himself goes with you. He is already on the other side of your big decision, your crazy leap of faith, your stepping out into the unknown. He knows where you are going and leads you with wisdom and kindness. Don’t let fear paralyze you from making moves. Let the knowledge that God holds you bring your heart into perfect peace. He will make the way, He will give you what you need, and He will give you the courage.

Spoiler alert: Moses did leave everything to go to Egypt. His yes to God impacted an entire people. He was very much afraid, but he did it anyway. I jumped off a cliff. What are you going to do? Are you willing to hand your fear to God so that He can take you on the adventure of a lifetime? Sometimes you just got to do it, do it afraid.

 

About the Author

Sam DiStefano

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Sam DiStefano went to school at SUNY Geneseo and earned a degree in Childhood with Special Education. It was at college, through BASIC, that she learned what it meant to be a disciple of Jesus. In June 2014, she joined on staff with BASIC and planted a chapter at Le Moyne College in Syracuse, NY that fall. BASIC has deeply affected Sam’s life and she feels called to help other students experience freedom and hope in Christ.

Enjoy the Journey

Enjoying The Journey

Sam DiStefano Advisors & Student Leaders, Leadership, Personal Development, Planning 0 Comments

One of our desires at BASIC is to be relevant and connect you with content that is going to best help you as you serve your campus and ministry context! In an effort to bring in fresh perspective and new ideas, we have asked a few student leaders and advisors to share their voice! We’ll get to hear from one of them each month. This week, we have the honor of hearing from Phil Blair.

Phil BlairPhil Blair attended SUNY Cortland with the intent of studying and pursuing a career in Adolescent Education of Chemistry. It was there that he felt God’s gentle, yet persistent call into ministry. In the exciting journey God invited him on, he found himself as a student leader in his BASIC chapter for the following semesters filling multiple roles throughout. Today Phil finds himself on leave from classes while actively serving in Jesus’ local church. It is there where he finds the outlet to reach the Cortland community, the place that he now calls home. Meanwhile he still advises the new leaders on campus and lives each day falling more and more in love with God and His beautiful design. 

Have you ever been set out on a task and asked yourself, “Ok, so I know the desired outcome, but how in the world do I get there?” If you’re anything like me, you have likely spent countless hours agonizing over the best route or the best plan of action. You may have even been wise enough to call out to God and beg for instructions. But again, if you’re anything like me, verse 105 from Psalms 119, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path,” rings frustratingly true.

God simply calls us to be faithful and trust as He provides a lamp and not a giant flashing spotlight. Often God will only offer us a small snippet of a grander design. The good news is that we are certainly not alone in our frustrations. The better news is that I think I have personally found a means of coping with this struggle and wanted to share it with you.

God’s word makes it clear that He’s called us to a life of faith and trust, which requires us to keep our eyes constantly fixed on Him. We might find ourselves wanting to get our BASIC group to a new level of maturity or striving for a personal breakthrough of some sort.

We spend a ton of energy drawing the most logical and “straightest” line from point A to B. We make strategies and plans hoping that we will get where we want to be with as little challenge as possible. But I dare you to be bold and challenge the “logical.” Sometimes God calls us to do things differently.

Take Tarzan for example. When he finds himself wanting to get from one side of the jungle to the other he doesn’t spend his time and energy planning out a straight route, building bridges, or cutting down trees to make his logical path possible. He instead simply reaches out and grabs a vine and swings! He takes the next available option and trusts in his internal compass to make the best decisions to take him to his intended destination.

Now I know, the planner inside of all of us is freaking out! If you were to look at Tarzan’s path, it would most likely zig zag, loop around, and maybe even backtrack. In the end, there might have been a much simpler and easier way for him to arrive.

I have struggled with this and maybe you have too. The desire to know exactly what to do next sometimes cripples us from moving at all. In God’s beautiful sovereignty, He gave me an opportunity to take a step back and witness firsthand how much slowing down and enjoying the journey teaches you character.

In this season of my life, I have simply been obedient to follow where God is leading, no matter how illogical it seemed. Honestly, at the start, it was more out of exhaustion and confusion than any gallantry or wisdom. That is the beauty of it all, that is exactly the place where God becomes so very real to each one of us.

I felt like Tarzan, just reaching out for the next branch, not really sure what would come next. In this season of complete submission, I was given an opportunity to be part of a teeny tiny men’s morning Bible study at a local assisted living home. That’s where I met Fred and Harry. They taught me something important about life and journeys and Tarzan.

Fred can be best described as a silent man, somewhat somber, and all in all very dignified. Harry, his best pal is just the opposite. Harry is the ruffian, the class clown, the life of the party, and one of the best story tellers. Often, I would find myself sitting in wonderment listening to the two navy men swapping stories and reminiscing about everything from deployment shenanigans to heart wrenching stories of their last moments with their wives.

One sunny morning in mid March, I had the pleasure of hearing a particular story of a cross country trip Harry found himself on and a hitchhiker he met along the way. The story itself, although funny, was nothing groundbreaking. I don’t know what it was about that day or that story, but later I was impressed with the importance of the journey and the adventure. The importance of taking in experiences everywhere you go and learning as much as you can along the way. The importance of just living and not planning all the time. The importance of just going.

Hey, that sounds familiar doesn’t it? Kind of reminds me of God’s design for our lives and God’s call to Abraham in Chapter 12 of Genesis. He presents Abraham with the simple, yet terrifying, task to just go. Just go and don’t worry about what lies ahead, don’t worry about whether you feel this next step lines up with where you think you’re headed, just go and keep your eyes fixed on him for the next step. Just reach out and grab the next vine.

The reason I chose this topic to share isn’t because it’s the newest trend or the easiest thing to grasp. This was (and continues to be) one of the hardest leadership characteristics I strive to learn. I assure you it has also been the most fulfilling. So, I want to encourage you to join me. When you let go and let God, the most extraordinary things always tend to happen.

About the Author

Sam DiStefano

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Sam DiStefano went to school at SUNY Geneseo and earned a degree in Childhood with Special Education. It was at college, through BASIC, that she learned what it meant to be a disciple of Jesus. In June 2014, she joined on staff with BASIC and planted a chapter at Le Moyne College in Syracuse, NY that fall. BASIC has deeply affected Sam’s life and she feels called to help other students experience freedom and hope in Christ.

It’s Ok To Be Wrong

Sam DiStefano Advisors & Student Leaders, Leadership, Personal Development 0 Comments

One of our desires at BASIC is to be relevant and connect you with content that is going to best help you as you serve your campus and ministry context! In an effort to bring in fresh perspective and new ideas, we have asked a few student leaders and advisors to share their voice! We’ll get to hear from one of them each month. This week, we have the honor of hearing from Krissy Wright.

Krissy-WrightKrissy is a senior and serves as the current president for the Stony Brook University BASIC chapter. Her involvement with BASIC as a freshman was a turning point in her life that deepened her faith, and helped her realize who God had called her to be.  She aims to have a heart like Jesus, to love freely and willingly, and to follow His path for her life no matter what it takes. She loves people and finds joy in building close relationships with others. She isn’t afraid to make a fool of herself and often times you can find her trying to make someone laugh, or randomly singing a song or two as she walks around on campus. This is what she wanted to share.

I cannot begin to tell you how many times I’ve been wrong in my life. My last name (Wright) has always been used for satirical purposes, but it is in no way an indicator of the fact that I am right all the time- in fact, quite the opposite. My pride in the past, prevented me from truly living a life free from worrying about being right, but I’ve now come to understand that everyone has their moments and I don’t have to be afraid of being wrong.

The same thing exists in parallel with our walk in Christ. There have been numerous occasions where I have hesitated or plainly did not make a move because I was afraid that I was doing the wrong thing. I was afraid that if I stepped off the ledge at the wrong time, God would be disappointed in me, that I would somehow be letting Him down. And this weighed so heavily on me, that even though I knew that God had placed all these amazing dreams and gifts in my life and was ready for them to make room for me, I was afraid that I was somehow going to mess it up.

So, I shied further and further away from taking that leap of faith because of my own insecurities. I wanted God to show me the next step, to speak to me in signs and wonders, when what He really needed from me was just faith. Simple, wholehearted faith.

We oftentimes forget that the battles we fight are not against what we can see, but there is so much more out there looking to steal the promises that God has for us. If the enemy can stop you before you take the first step, then he’s already won.

Ephesians 6:12 says, “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.”

Imagine if God has called you to be a worship leader (if He has kudos to you, man!). You have known this your whole life, but you’re afraid to sing in church because you don’t want to hit the wrong note. If you allow this to stop you, then you’re hindering what God wants to do through you. If we never take the first step, God cannot increase our territory. He can’t add if there’s nothing to add to!

God has so many things planned for us, but when we get caught up in our own minds and we sit down and ruminate about all that we could do differently, we miss out on what God is doing or has already done- even in the situations that don’t go the way we plan.

Don’t be afraid of taking the first step. God doesn’t expect us to get everything right. We are human after all, and perfection is unattainable. If you feel led to go in a certain direction, do it. If it’s for you the walk will be blessed, if it’s not, God will close the door and set you on a different path.

If He has called you out upon the water to the great unknown where feet may fail (#OceansReference), trust in Him and walk in that confidence. What lies within us is greater than the world, our fears and even our mistakes. 1 John 4:4 reminds us of that, “Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.”

Your Father is big enough to face anything. Don’t let your fears get in the way of His plans for you. In everything have confidence and trust in Him and He will lead you wherever  you need to go.

I’ll end with something we can remember from Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.”

About the Author

Sam DiStefano

Twitter

Sam DiStefano went to school at SUNY Geneseo and earned a degree in Childhood with Special Education. It was at college, through BASIC, that she learned what it meant to be a disciple of Jesus. In June 2014, she joined on staff with BASIC and planted a chapter at Le Moyne College in Syracuse, NY that fall. BASIC has deeply affected Sam’s life and she feels called to help other students experience freedom and hope in Christ.