When Fear Puts Out Your Fire

The email sat in my inbox for over a week, each scan of the words accompanied by a quickening of my heart. A sinking sensation gripped the pit of my stomach. Every approach to “reply” had me volleying between cold sweats and bouts of nausea.

“Share your gifting and how you feel called to serve,” glared back at me.

Laying down 700 words in a blog post was like a lazy, summer afternoon compared to the 3 sentences my reply required. For the life of me I could not craft a response that didn’t feel laced with awkward self-promotion and look-at-me spotlight shining.

There is a big part of me that has no desire to be seen.

It’s like a tight rope walk, a tug-of-war between humility and pride. Admitting that I’m gifted feels unbalanced, dishonorable, shameful even. But denying what God has written over my life is equally impossible to navigate. And the prospect of waving a flag or calling attention to my strengths, well…see paragraph 1.

But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed,
and I am convinced that He is able to guard until that day
what has been entrusted to me.
2 Timothy 1:12 ESV

Our skills and abilities that we feel so tempted to hide, aren’t ours to cover up. They are a gift—a deposit entrusted to us for a purpose that is equally not ours to define.

Being ashamed of our gifts, is being ashamed of the Giver.

That conviction has been my undoing. The God I know and love has seen fit to give generously and equip abundantly, and I’ve been about the business of pursuing my own comfort. I’ve been casting shadows and extinguishing flames.

 For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God…
for God gave us a spirit NOT of fear but of power and love and self-control.
2 Timothy 1:6-7 ESV

God ignites our heart, sets a flame within us to burn bright. And while He doesn’t need our assistance to make our gifts shine, we aren’t passive participants in this exchange. We are called to pursue, cultivate, to stir-up that inner fire.

When Fear Puts Out Your Fire {www.simplyforone.net} http://wp.me/p2v8DX-BU

Our job is to fan the flame, God’s is to keep it burning pure and bright. 

What God has given, He is careful to protect. Our fears over pride and self-promotion can be laid to rest when God’s safeguard is at our side. His Spirit empowers us to purpose our gifts for love and engage them with self-control. It’s a beautiful balance, a chain of command orchestrated by a God who never leads us where He hasn’t already made a way.

When our motive is love, our gifts become His glory.

That spirit of fear that whispers shame over us, that cowers us in corners, is not a voice of reason, but rather a father of lies. We have an enemy eager to snuff out all that glorifies God, our gifts included. But the Holy Spirit speaks truth and life, wisdom and purpose. We must choose whom we will obey.

God is the curator of our gifts. We can pursue them with boldness and bravery when our highest goal is His glory. It’s when our success is bathed in praise, not discontent or desire for more, that we can rest assured we’re on the right path.

I’m not eager for the spotlight, but I’m done putting God in the shadows. (Tweet that)

After a dozen re-writes and a few cleansing breaths, that email finally made it to its intended. I can’t say how it was received, but I can say there was freedom on its wings. I won’t apologize for what God has called me to pursue, and neither should you.

We are not purposed for fear or destined for shame. We are called to glory, to power, to everlasting love. Burn bright, friend—fan that flame and shine for God.


You can also find these words linked up at my favorite spots:  Holly Barrett (#testimonytuesday), Jennifer Dukes Lee (#tellhisstory)Holley Gerth (#coffeeforyourheart)Bonnie Gray (#onewordcoffee), and Kristin Hill Taylor (#threewordwednesday).

When Fear Puts Out Your Fire {www.simplyforone.net} http://wp.me/p2v8DX-BU

45 thoughts on “When Fear Puts Out Your Fire

  1. I’ve read this post twice now. It’s so wise and needed. I’ve also been thinking about how God gave the Great Commission to all of us – regardless of our personality or skills. How we share about God and his glory is going to look different in each one of us, but it’s important we share. Making disciples is going to be a different process for each of us, but we need each other regardless. Your words came alongside what God has been teaching me. Thanks for linking up at #ThreeWordWednesday faithfully. xoxo

    1. So glad that God confirmed what He’s been showing you. And you’re so right…we each have a unique call, but it’s the same God that commissions us to run our race for His glory. That’s a high calling and worthy of our wholehearted effort. Thanks for hosting us, friend…it’s a joy to share space with you. xo

  2. Embracing our callings and gifts leads us to such freedom. So glad you have decided not to hide your gifts! What a bummer it would be for the rest of us if you did.

  3. Love this, Tiffany: “We are called to glory, to power, to everlasting love. Burn bright, friend—fan that flame and shine for God.” That’s what I want to do. It’s encouraging to remember that God doesn’t lead us where He hasn’t made a way. Hard to believe sometimes, so I appreciate your encouragement here.

  4. Amazing! So encouraging! We should never be ashamed of the MASTERPIECE He created us to be. I’ll be sharing this around My Messy Desk on Facebook, soon! Many blessings friend, liz

  5. So lovely… I was reading this morning in Matthew 25 about the servant hiding his master’s talents… and though I know they were talking about money of the day, I can’t thinking of it in terms of our giftings and how we should be using them for the glory of our maker- not burying them. Such a fine line indeed between humble and prideful… Thanks for a fresh look at this feeling I think we all struggle with ♥

    1. It really is a fine line, Heather – and I think we’ve all seen those around us who seem to jump right over it. I’m finding that keeping short accounts with God, being sure that I’m constantly checking in, being obedient to His leading, and purposing that He increase, makes it much easier to tow that line. Thanks for being here today, friend. Much love.

  6. “That spirit of fear that whispers shame over us, that cowers us in corners, is not a voice of reason, but rather a father of lies. We have an enemy eager to snuff out all that glorifies God, our gifts included. But the Holy Spirit speaks truth and life, wisdom and purpose. We must choose whom we will obey.

    God is the curator of our gifts. We can pursue them with boldness and bravery when our highest goal is His glory. It’s when our success is bathed in praise, not discontent or desire for more, that we can rest assured we’re on the right path.

    I’m not eager for the spotlight, but I’m done putting God in the shadows.”

    I need to print this out. I’m highly uncomfortable talking about my writing. I shun compliments. I don’t want to say that I’m good at it or called to do it. I’ve never before considered that this is a form of disobedience, of robbing God of the glory due Him. Will be pondering this for awhile!

    1. I wish we could sit and chat – I’m right there with you, Marie. Compliments make me entirely uncomfortable and it’s taken me a really long time to say I’m a “writer” and even then, it only comes in safe circles.

      God rocked my world too when He wrote these lessons over my heart – mostly through a recent study in 1&2 Timothy. I realized it was if I was saying what He’s given isn’t enough – isn’t worthy of wholehearted pursuit – because it makes me feels uneasy. I’m still processing it, and spotlights aren’t any part of that – but yes, if God wants to shine through me – I’m inclined to let Him have His way! :)

      Thanks for sharing your heart with me today. xo

  7. Tiffany, this post resonates with me and many other women who struggle with this. Your words bring me comfort to a prayer I prayed this morning, thank you :)

    I once heard Lisa Bevere say, “Don’t be afraid of your strengths.” If God has given you a gift that happens to lend itself to a crowd of people then we should not be afraid to use it to glorify Him.

    May you use your writing to glorify Him in all you do.

    1. I love Lisa Bevere, Crystal. I’m looking forward to hearing her speak at a conference next month. I agree – many of us woman, especially those called into leadership, battle with this issue. While our hearts are in the right place, I think there is a lot of power held back for the kingdom because we’re afraid of our strengths. Thank you for adding to the conversation today. Blessings!

  8. Being ashamed of our gifts is being ashamed of the Giver. Whoa! Powerful sentence to contemplate! From one who likes to dwell in the shadows, this is a good word! Thanks!

  9. You ARE gifted, Tiffany, and I, for one, am grateful for the way you share that gift here. Pride is ugly, but confidence–both in one’s gifts and the One who gave them–is a beautiful thing. I’m so glad you sent that email, and hope the end result is exactly what it needs to be.

    1. Thank you for your kind words, Lois. And yes, having confidence in the Lord and believing that in Him we can do all things, is truly a beautiful thing. So glad you visited – and so glad that I get to enjoy YOUR gifts too!!

  10. Tiffany,
    I just love the image you created with the candle, by the way — so pretty! What a truth-filled, heartfelt post! Your words are striking a chord — “when our motive is love” — because I struggle with that — but how right you are. Tiffany, your gifts are beautiful and I am so grateful to be a reader of your words! xo

    1. Thank you, sweet Valerie…I’m blessed that you take the time to read and visit me so often. Compliments from you on beautiful images bless me as well, since you capture so many at your place with such flair. And yes – keeping those motives in check and being sure that we are after God’s increase, not our own, makes putting our gifts into play that much more beautiful. Hugs, friend.

  11. Hi Tiffany – I’ve seen you around on some other blogs I read and we connect on Instagram, so I just thought I’d stop over and say hello! This resonated with me SO much, especially as a writer/blogger who struggles with the idea of being in the spotlight and the tug-o-war between pride and humility. Thank you for this refreshing perspective.

    You are a beautiful writer and He shines right through your words!

    1. Hi Hannah! I’m so glad that you stopped by, and I’m blessed to know the words resonated with you. I think particularly as writers and bloggers, we want to increase our reach so that our words get out there – but that tug-o-war often comes into play, doesn’t it. Grateful that we have a God who guides our steps and directs our path – and delights in shining through us. Thank you for being here. I’ll be sure to come and visit you too.

  12. Tiffany, such a powerful post. And this? “Our skills and abilities that we feel so tempted to hide, aren’t ours to cover up. They are a gift—a deposit entrusted to us for a purpose that is equally not ours to define.”

    I never thought about “my” gifts in this way. There is no shame in using the gifts our Father has given us. There is no shame in acknowledging that He’s given them. Wow.

    God has given you a gift with words and sharing deep spiritual truth. And I,for one, am so glad you shine them here!

    1. It has really shifted my perspective to see my gifts through God’s lens. I’ve never been one to put myself out there, but I certainly don’t want to hinder His purposes. It’s convicting to think shame and fear would steal His thunder. So glad that the post spoke to you and so glad to be a recipient of the beautiful gift He has written over your life. xoxo

  13. I struggle with this, too. This is such an encouraging reminder, Tiffany. Thank you. I especially love this – “When our motive is love, our gifts become His glory.” Blessings and hugs to you!

    1. I’m coming to find it’s a pretty common struggle – especially for us gals. So grateful that the freedom we have to pursue our gifts – and what a blessing to glorify Him all the more. Hugs back, friend.

  14. Tiffany,
    This post is powerful. I’m thankful that I’m not the only leader who struggles between humility and pride. Half the time I just want to run and hide, yet His calling is strong and I feel so fulfilled when I obey and walk in it. Thank you for being genuine and open in your post. If you lived close I’d say, “Let’s meet and chat over coffee.” I can’t help but believe that there are many of us out there cheering each other on through these kinds of post. Praying that God continues to anoint all he has called you to do! Thanks for sharing your heart Tiffany!

    1. That’s so true, Joelle – there is great fulfillment in obedience to our calling. I think that’s a beautiful byproduct of pursuing our gifts with the right motive and heart. And coffee – that would be so much fun. I’ll cheer you on from this end of the blogosphere in the meantime. Many blessings and thank you for joining the conversation today.

  15. Great post! This is something God has been speaking to me about lately too. It can feel like we’re being proud to say that we’re gifted but if they’re gifts from God the credit is his and not ours, and as he has given them to us to bless others it’s actually selfish to hold them back. I think you’re right that the key thing is our motives and we should be using our gifts to glorify God and serve others.

    1. Good point, Carly – we can actually squelch the Spirit when we hoard our gifts. Its an incredible thing to think that not only are we impacted when that happens, but the people whom He purposes us to impact. Thanks for being here today and sharing your heart.

  16. Wow Tiffany! What a talented writer you are! I am thankful that God has prompted you to share your gift as you seek to glorify Him. I am inspired and encouraged reading this today. I want to join you in shining bright for Him and not letting FEAR put a damper on my flame! Thank you for sharing…I am always blessed by your posts. Have a wonderful week and blessings to you and yours!

    1. See…now your kind words are making me bashful. ;) Thank you, Horace for being here and for joining with me in shining bright. You are a star for the kingdom and I pray that your light reaches far and wide. Blessings right back at you and a big hug too.

    1. Fear has this incredible way of sneaking in and paralyzing us, friend. So glad you were able to move beyond and finally write that email you needed to write. So much THIS: “Our job is to fan the flame, God’s is to keep it burning pure and bright.” YES! May God keep our flames burning brightly!

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