when it comes to thinking about your life and the future… career, relationships, moves, life decisions, etc… i have come to realize there are two types of fear that are often encountered.
they are both rooted in “what if”, but they are very different.
the first is “what if it doesn’t…”, which can tend to have a paralyzing effect, keeping you tethered to the familiar. the thoughts of it all falling apart keep a lot of people nestled in a comfort zone where, although not ideal, is consistent, predictable and safe.
the second and, in my experience, more powerful is “what if it does…” this type can have an equally paralyzing effect, also hindering many people from cutting the proverbial umbilical cord, stepping into the unfamiliar and embracing the uncertain. but here is where the road divides and the two are different. rather than thoughts of it all falling apart, this type of fear brings with it thoughts of “what if it works and changes everything.”
i think it is the second type of fear that tends to be a catalyst to faith… when you no longer view your options as options at all, because quite often, options can be the enemy of faith. when you realize that everything in your life could completely change and even though you have no idea what that might look like you are ready to embrace what’s next… that’s when things begin to happen.
some people have lived in a certain way or pattern for so long and have become accustomed to their particular situation. they believe they have options and might do something different “someday”. they believe that it is what it is, and fear of the waves keeps them on the shore.
then there are the kind of people who choose to shed the notion of options and embrace the challenge that comes with encountering the second type of fear, where the fear of the shore keeps them riding the waves.
i believe this was the kind of man Jesus encountered in luke 18. how long he had been blind was immaterial. when he heard Jesus was passing by, he knew his only other option was to continue to sit and beg… blind, and that really wasn’t an option at all. surely he had built a lifestyle around his situation, one that catered to his particular disability, but he was tired of that. staying the same was no longer optional, so he took a risk. he called out to Jesus.
the bible says God has “planted eternity in the hearts of men,” and there is something about encountering that pivotal moment that connects with the eternal seed planted in each of us which challenges our limitations and dares us to do something we thought we could not do before. something like… telling a blind man to see.
i love this piece by marianne williamson. it speaks of the second type of fear… the fear that dares you to move, take a leap of faith and reach to embrace what has always been just beyond your grasp. so, what if it does work and everything changes? i dare you to find out.
our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. it is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. we ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? actually, who are you not to be? you are a child of God. your playing small does not serve the world. there is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. we are all meant to shine, as children do. we were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. it’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. and as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. as we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.
- marianne williamson