Scared or Sacred

As I was cleaning out a bookshelf a couple weeks ago, I came across a notebook that I have used in the past for sermon notes and random thoughts I have. At the bottom of one of the pages I read the words “I am scared!”. Upon a second glance I realized I had read it wrong and it actually said, “I am sacred!”. When I realized my error I kind of huffed to myself and thought, “Isn’t that just like satan?! I hate that guy!” I’ve continued to think about those words ever since and process how we can thwart the enemy’s plan of keeping us scared and move into the sacred way of thinking. Those words are just a flip of two letters but their meanings are endlessly opposite!

Recently, a naturist friend confided in me that she is feeling very fearful about this lifestyle. She’s recently moved into a new area and is growing with her church family, but is scared to get too close to anyone because she assumes it would be bad if they found out about naturism and her involvement. She’s been hurt before and doesn’t want that to happen again. She might not be wrong in how that would be looked upon, but right now, because of her fear, she is limiting her interaction with those in the church and somewhat with those in naturism because she is scared. I’ve done the same at times. I totally understand those feelings and I don’t fault her for them. They are very real and not necessarily unfounded. We’ve known several Christian naturists who have been shunned by their local church and lost friends they were very close to when they were found out or revealed the naturist part of their lives. It’s unfortunate that the people of God react this way when it was God who made the body. 

God did not give us a spirit of fear, but is that the same as being scared? Can we as Christians be scared and still “do it scared”? I think so. It’s easy to be scared in this life and the enemy wants to keep us there because we usually run away from whatever scares us if we can. We rarely push through to do what’s hard. That’s why the saying, “do it scared” is a thing. We can discipline ourselves to react differently though. Like soldiers, police officers and firefighters, we can train ourselves to face the fears head on! God’s word gives us this in 2 Timothy 1:6-7: This is why I remind you to fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you when I laid my hands on you.  For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.” 

 I don’t think it’s a sin to be scared or even have some fear. But I think it’s what we do in the times when we are fearful that matters. Do we let fear keep us from doing what the Lord has called us to? I hope not! When fear becomes the driving force behind what you do or don’t do, then you are living with a spirit of fear and that is sin. When you say, “Yes, I’m scared” but then do what the Lord has called you to no matter the consequences, then you are living in obedience and what a wonderful place to be!

Deuteronomy 28:9-10 “If you obey the commands of the Lord your God and walk in his ways, the Lord will establish you as his holy people as he swore he would do. Then all the nations of the world will see that you are a people claimed by the Lord, and they will stand in awe of you.” Those words weren’t written to us, but it doesn’t mean they aren’t for us. We know the Lord blesses those who are obedient to him. 

Does the Lord really ask people to be naturists? I wholeheartedly believe the answer is yes! When Phil told me he was a naturist, I wanted no part in it as you probably know. I was dead set that it was sin and not for me. The more I studied Scripture and listened for the Holy Spirit to guide me, the more I felt like this was something the Lord wanted for my life. That he wanted to use this as a jumping off point to show me so many more aspects of who He is and who He wants to be in my life. Am I scared sometimes of what might happen if we are ever found out? Yes, of course! I am human and fear is a human emotion. There are a couple people that we are very close to that don’t know we are naturists because not everyone needs to know. There is a difference between caution and fear. I haven’t felt the Holy Spirit nudge yet to tell those people. When I do, I will, but until then they don’t need to know. I don’t know that the calling is to make other Christian naturists as much as it is to show naturists Jesus. (Phil would disagree in the fact that he thinks everyone should be naturists.)

When we do it scared we move ourselves from a space of fear to a space of obedience and that’s what sets us apart. Sacred means set apart. Acts 20:32, “And now I entrust you to God and the message of his grace that is able to build you up and give you an inheritance with all those he has set apart for himself.” Brittanica defines sacred this way: the power, being, or realm understood by religious persons to be at the core of existence and to have a transformative effect on their lives and destinies. Um, yes please! 

Acts 26:15-18, “‘Who are you, lord?’ I asked. “And the Lord replied, ‘I am Jesus, the one you are persecuting. Now get to your feet! For I have appeared to you to appoint you as my servant and witness. Tell people that you have seen me, and tell them what I will show you in the future. And I will rescue you from both your own people and the Gentiles. Yes, I am sending you to the Gentiles to open their eyes, so they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God. Then they will receive forgiveness for their sins and be given a place among God’s people, who are set apart by faith in me.’”

Yes and Amen! Lord, use me! I know being a Christian naturist isn’t normal. I get it! I don’t want to be normal though. The world is full of normal people. I want to be different! As my oldest son recently said, “I want to be radical because Jesus was radical!”

I am going to go so far as to say this. If Christian Naturism is on your radar, you are probably set apart for a very specific purpose to a very specific group of people. You think your local naturist club isn’t a mission field? There are many who will deny that the Lord wants to use naturism for His glory. They are wrong. The Lord can use whoever he wants to do whatever he wants. 

Maybe we don’t have to choose one or the other. Maybe we can be scared and still do the things that set us apart in obedience to the Father.

Fear Not

Fear has been something I’ve always struggled with. I almost always go to the worst case scenario. As a mom that only increased. From the moment I found out I was pregnant with my firstborn, fear was part of my parenting style. This season in the world has been full of fear. It’s one of Satan’s most effective weapons. Believers and unbelievers alike fall prey to it. At the beginning of the chaos, I lived full of fear! I was downright crazy! I’m not proud of it. I liked the saying, “prepare for the worst, hope for the best.” I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad philosophy, but I was using it try and justify my fear. It’s smart and even Biblical to prepare for hard times, both physically and spiritually. Proverbs 6:6-8 says, “Take a lesson from the ants, you lazybones. Learn from their ways and become wise! Though they have no prince or governor or ruler to make them work, they labor hard all summer, gathering food for the winter.” (NLT) We see in Scripture times where the Lord warned of coming famine. What did the people do then? They prepared and stored up for the times when food would be scarce. There is wisdom in preparation.

Matthew 25:1-12 gives us this parable on being prepared, “Then the kingdom of heaven will be comparable to ten virgins, who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were prudent. For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them, but the prudent took oil in flasks along with their lamps. Now while the bridegroom was delaying, they all got drowsy and began to sleep. But at midnight there was a shout, ‘Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’ Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps. The foolish said to the prudent, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the prudent answered, ‘No, there will not be enough for us and you too; go instead to the dealers and buy some for yourselves.’ And while they were going away to make the purchase, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding feast; and the door was shut. Later the other virgins also came, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open up for us.’ But he answered, ‘Truly I say to you, I do not know you.’” (NASB)

When fear sets, there are 3 ways we can react. I’m sure you’ve heard it before. You can freeze, flee or fight. I honestly think there is a time for each of these. I don’t think freezing in some scenarios makes you weak. Sometimes in dangerous moments, not moving can save your life. I don’t think fleeing some scenarios makes you a coward. Sometimes the best thing you can do is to walk (or run) away. In some scenarios, freezing or fleeing are wise decisions. I’ve had several conversations that could have developed into tell-all conversations, but in those moments I evaluated who I was talking to and either out of fear, or with wisdom, made the decision to freeze or flee and redirect the path the conversation was on. 

As for fighting, there are definitely scenarios where fighting is the wisest thing to do to push back the fear. This blog was started because Phil and I wanted to keep a record of our experiences. Fairly quickly we decided we also wanted to be able to share it to help people understand our reasoning and to share our research. Initially it may have been out of fear, but it turned into something we were preparing for. We are so grateful that we have this blog for that purpose, but we are also blown away and humbled that the Lord has used it to help others as well. It’s an honor to be used in this way!

At the beginning of this journey there was a lot of fear. Fear of being nude in front of others, fear of others finding out, fear of how this was really going to affect our family, and so much more. Over time though, that fear has turned into peace that what we are doing is not condemned by God, and our confidence in His goodness and blessings has grown immensely. This summer I was again struggling with the fear of being found out. At the Christian Naturist gathering I was speaking to one of the men about my fears and he showed me the “Nail to the Cross Prayer”. He walked me through it and it was one of the most spiritual moments of my life. If you are not familiar with it, here are the steps.

  1. Father, I bless my spirit to be prominent over my body and soul. 
  2. Father, I nail (thought, feeling, spirit, etc) to the Cross.
  3. Father, I break all agreements, known and unknown, that I have made with (thought, feeling, spirit, etc.) and I repent of joining with (thought, feeling, spirit, etc.).
  4. Father, I ask that you send (thought, feeling, spirit, etc.) away from me. 
  5. Father, what do you have to give me in place of (thought, feeling, spirit, etc.)?
  6. Listen to the Father to see what He has to give you to replace the thought, feeling, spirit, etc. 
  7. I seal (what the Father told me) in my spirit.

When I did this prayer I nailed fear to the cross and replaced it with joy. 

Here are some Scriptures that have helped me deal with fear. 

Psalm 34:4-5, “I prayed to the Lord, and he answered me. He freed me from all my fears. Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy; no shadow of shame will darken their faces. In my desperation I prayed, and the Lord listened; he saved me from all my troubles. For the angel of the Lord is a guard; he surrounds and defends all who fear him.” (NLT)

Psalm 46:1-3, “God is our refuge and strength, A very ready help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth shakes and the mountains slip into the heart of the sea; Though its waters roar and foam, Though the mountains quake at its swelling pride.” (NASB)

John 14:26-27, “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and remind you of all that I said to you. Peace I leave you, My peace I give you; not as the world gives, do I give to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled, nor fearful.” (NASB)

Isaiah 41:10, “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

I have discovered that fear no longer has the hold on me that it did before. I always want what is best for my kids, but I’ve come to realize that I only have so much control over what happens to them. I can’t be with them 24/7, and honestly, even if I was, I’m still not going to be able to stop every bad or hard thing from happening to them. I always want to be able to control the narrative surrounding our journey in naturism, but I know that that too is out of our hands. The Lord is in charge of our lives and ultimately it is His will that will be done. I know that God wants good things for my kids, even when they have to go through hard things.

I know that God may use some hard things in our lives to bring about His plan. We’ve known several families who were confronted about naturism and went through very rough times in their lives because of it, but through their stories, I know that God used those times to bring blessing. We can worry and be afraid, or we can prepare and be ready for the roads the Lord will lead us down. When we are prepared for where the Lord wants to lead us and prepared for the attacks of Satan, we don’t have to fear them. In fact, it’s in some of those times that we get to experience an intimacy with the Lord that only comes through hard times and eventually the joy of the Lord. James 1:2-4 “Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.” (The Message)

1 Peter 3:15 says, “Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your hope as a believer, always be ready to explain it.” (NLT)

The hope I have is found in Christ. It’s found in the love and sacrifice of giving His life for mine (and yours). It’s found in the miracle and majesty of an empty tomb. It’s found in the daily patience and forgiveness of a gracious Savior. It’s found in the hope and assurance of everlasting life when my time on earth is over. It’s found in the knowledge of Psalm 91:2-4, “Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty. This I declare about the Lord: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I trust him. For he will rescue you from every trap and protect you from deadly disease. He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection.” (NLT)