Tag Archive | fear

Dream Big

I have a love/hate relationship with risk.  I used to be very cautious, responsible, and overthink everything.  Over the last few years, I’ve released a lot of my tight-fisted grasp and become much  more spontaneous.  These days I like to think that I’ve lightened up, grown up, and am not such a control freak!  I like to do adventurous things and face my fears.  Except when I don’t and the old me comes rushing back in!  Do you ever have Jekyll and Hyde moments/days/weeks?

I’ve…

  • learned to talk to people I don’t know on a regular basis
  • learned to love trying new things
  • decided to often say yes and then figure it out later
  • started 2 businesses and run them successfully
  • pierced my nose (not really that risky, but I do love it and it’s kind of different!)
  • become passionate about using my gift of evangelism to intentionally reach out to people who are seeking God

At the same time, when it comes to certain things, I want to shrink back and stick my head in the sand!  One of those things that creates that fear in me and brings the “hate” part into play with risk is dreaming big.  As soon as I start dreaming, it’s as if something comes over me that says, “no, we’re not going to get our hopes up here.  Don’t think too far ahead, just focus on today/this week/this month or you’ll get overwhelmed.” (yes, the voices in my head speak in plural!).   It’s even a physical reaction many times where my heart races and I feel anxious.  As I’m writing this, I’m experiencing those emotions!

In addition, I find myself thinking very narrowly when it comes to dreaming big.  I suppose that is somewhat of an oxymoron because I don’t think dreaming big and narrow thinking really go together!  Do you ever argue with yourself?  Here is an example:

–what if I could…?

–but you can’t!

–but God can!

–sure, He can, but what if He doesn’t?

…and on and on.  Does that happen to any of you?  Can I get a witness?  (where does that phrase come from?  I’m pretty sure I’m too white to use it, but it just felt like the right thing to insert there!)

I’m just about finished with a book called The Circle Maker by Mark Batterson.  The premise of the book (based on a Jewish legend) is that God wants us to pray circles around our dreams, fears, other people, His promises, etc.  He focuses on 3 aspects: dream big, pray hard, think long.  I would like to cover the other 2 in subsequent posts.

A few favorite quotes…

  • One litmus test of spiritual maturity is whether your dreams are getting bigger or smaller.  The older you get, the more faith you should have because you’ve experienced more of God’s faithfulness.
  • You cannot build God’s reputation if you’re not willing to risk yours.
  • If you put what little you have in your hand into the hand of God, it won’t just add up; God will make it multiply.
  • Too often we let how get in the way of what God wants us to do.  We can’t figure out how to do what God has called us to do, so we don’t do it at all.
  • We shouldn’t seek answers as much as we should seek God.
  • Prayer opens our spiritual eyes so we see sooner and further.
  • Our biggest problem is our small view of God
  • A big dream is simultaneously the best feeling and the worst feeling in the world.  It’s exhilarating because it’s beyond your ability; it’s frightening for the exact same reason.

What stands out to you?  Where is God calling you to dream big?  I’m planning a prayer/spiritual retreat for next month to allow God space and time to shape my dreams into something He is pleased with and to ask Him to stretch my faith and expand His purposes in my life.  Stay tuned!

 

Worst case

We’re just going to jump right in today!  Here is the happiness tidbit: apply the worst case scenario perspective to the fears you experience.  Yesterday we talked about making a list of your fears and using the no-regrets philosophy.  Today we’ll take it one step further and talk about worst-case-scenario.  It’s asking yourself, “what’s the absolute worst thing that could happen?” or “Will the world end if this doesn’t turn out the way I expect?”.

Chris Guillebeau is the author I’m summarizing here and he tells a story of a fairly major mistake he made.  He is what he calls a “travel hacker” and has a goal of visiting every country in the world by the time he’s 35 next year.  He has 40 countries left to visit!  Last year he was in Poland, on his way to Asia and called to confirm his flight home from Japan.  After a series of events, he discovered he had made a mistake and did not, in fact, have a ticket from Japan back home to Portland!  At first, he panicked.  Then he asked himself, “what’s the worst thing that could happen?”.  In this instance, he would be stuck in Japan and need to buy a one-way ticket home.  He says, ” It’s not fun to buy a one-way ticket from Japan on less than a week’s notice, but in the long arc of life, it’s probably not that big of a deal.  That’s pretty much what happened.  I felt dumb for making the big mistake, and I didn’t enjoy paying the credit card bill for the extra ticket– but the world didn’t end.”

So what about you?  Are you creating “the world will end!” drama from minor concerns?  It really does help to think through the actual worst thing that could happen and then deprive that fear of its hold on you.  The emotion may still be there, but it’s power will be lessened.  Try it– I think you’ll like it!

Fear and Insecurity

Now there’s a title for a happiness blog!  Are you excited?!  I’m reading a book by Chris Guillebeau called The Art of Non-Conformity.  He says, “The toughest obstacles most of us have to overcome are the direct result of our own fears and insecurities.”  So, how to turn this into a happiness tidbit?  Well, living with fear is a part of life.  But succumbing to it and letting it determine your choices lands squarely in the realm of personal choice.  So the happiness tidbit for today is: don’t do that!

Of course, this is easier said than done, but I find that the more time I spend exploring the issue and consciously addressing it in my own life, the less hold it has on me.  The other thing I’ve discovered about fear lately is how insidious it is.  It creeps up on me relentlessly.

So, what do we do?  To quote the author again, “Most remarkable people are not remarkable by nature.  Instead, they’ve made a few key choices along the way that helped them overcome their fears.”  I love this!

Step #1 is to make a list of all the things you’re afraid of at any given time.  Be as specific as possible.  This can be more challenging than you think.  I would start a list and then add to it when you come up to a challenging situation that sparks fear.

Step #2?  Apply the no-regrets mindset.  We tend to regret more the things we don’t do, than the things we do.  Often our decisions are determined in our mind by what others will think or our fear of letting them (or even ourselves) down.  What will you look back on and regret NOT going for?  NOT trying?  NOT pushing through the obstacles to attain?

Will you be the average person who looks back a year from now and doesn’t see much change?  Or will you be the remarkable person, making those key choices to overcome your fears and insecurities?  I think you’re remarkable, don’t you?