fear

14 12 2008

fear

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

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born

18 05 2008

over the rhine is one of my favorite groups. born is an incredible song from their 2005 album ‘drunkard’s prayer‘, which is easily one of my favorite albums ever. i’m deep in thought tonight and wanted to share this. I love this. i feel this… and it makes me dig deeper.

i was born to laugh
i learned to laugh through my tears
i was born to love
i’m gonna learn to love without fear





what are you afraid of?

4 05 2008

i traveled to jamaica this week with the group, and during our group devotions before we went on stage in montego bay we were talking about fear. 2 timothy 1:7 was referenced (“for God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind”). basically, if God has empowered us with this ‘power, love and a sound mind, why then do we still fear what it is that we fear?

after some discussion about the ‘fear factor’, the question was posed to everyone “what would you do differently if you didn’t have the fear barrier in your life?”

wow.

as we went around and shared about the fear in our lives, some spoke of public speaking and personal evangelism while others talked about things like family issues and bugs. =)

when i was asked the question, my answer was that i would act upon and make life decisions much quicker and easier, without fear of what the outcome or results may be. regardless of how it may appear, i am someone who tends carry things a little too heavy at times, and can tend to live in the ‘what if’ zone a little too much… ok, maybe a lot too much. i’m not there all the time, but sometimes it’s quite the struggle to stay out of that zone.

  • what if they disagree
  • what if it’s not popular
  • what if it doesn’t work
  • what if it ends up like last time
  • what if i fail
  • what if i am misunderstood
  • what if it looks bad
  • what if it’s not enough
  • what if i’m not ready
  • what if i am regarded with contempt
  • what if, what if, what if… all these what if’s!!!!

it is my experience that trying to move past these type of paralyzing thoughts without understanding where they are coming from is like spiritual shadowboxing, and we do a whole lot of ‘resisting the devil’ type stuff, but don’t focus a lot of attention on the fact that we have indeed been enabled and equipped with power, love and a sober, sound and vigilant mind… but we’ve got to use it. being able to move past this kind of fear involves a clear understanding of the authority and sovereignty of God in your life and being able to lean more on that than on the ‘what if’s’, and lean a little more every day…

i certainly don’t have it all figured out, but i am piecing it together every day… learning to stand more on the perfect love and security that Christ gives than on the false foundation of fear that is so easily focused on.

what is the fear factor in your life? what is it that you can see yourself doing if you didn’t have to contend with the fear barrier that you crash into with unsettling regularity? and what are you doing about it?