Sometimes it sneaks up behind me; taps me on the shoulder when I least expect it. Sometimes I go toe-to-toe, stare it down, and double-dog dare it to try to take me down. Sometimes I wrestle it through the night until dawn….and walk away with a limp like Jacob’s.
But all the time I know this one thing to be true: somehow, someway, someday, it comes for every single one of us.
I’ve been battling it for months now. And apparently I’m not the only one. Back in July, I asked some friends to tell me about the fears they fight and their responses were numerous and utterly heartbreaking:
Fear of being different.
Fear of being accepted.
Fear of branching out into uncharted territory.
Fear of rejection.
Fear of falling short.
Fear of not being good enough.
Fear of failing people we love.
Fear of failing ourselves.
Just as I was starting to allow hopelessness to creep in, my incredibly wise friend, Liz, sent me a message and in it she said something that tipped the scales. With one sentence she unknowingly swooped in, scooped me up, turned me around, and set me on a completely new path. She said,
“I think it might be possible that our greatest fears
are the opposite of our true calling.”
None of us is here by accident. Every single human being that has ever walked the face of this Earth was created intentionally by their Creator with a purpose and a plan. A future and a hope have been wrapped up and deposited into our souls, but few of us muster up enough courage to open this precious package. And so here we sit–incredibly gifted, talented humans with the potential to do unique, wonderful, exciting things just oozing from our ears–completely paralyzed by fear.
But, what if? What if we were all took this idea that our greatest fears might just be the exact opposite of our true calling and we actually did something about it? What if that knowledge empowered us to explore our fears and we decided to dig deep through the brick walls we built around the dreams we didn’t dare allow ourselves to dream? What if we kept digging until we found the thing that made the hair on our necks stand up…the thing that gives us goosebumps and makes our pulses race….the thing we are really, truly passionate about? Suppose we dared to press into those nagging passions and dreams deferred…imagine we named them, defined them, and found a way to make them happen in spite of our anxieties? Consider what might happen if we invaded the shorelines of fear like soldiers on a mission and refused to give up or give in until we seized the territory that is rightfully ours and became a people who could turn that Divine plan into our reality?
After all, what good are all the gifts and talents and potential that He deposited in our souls if we refuse to use them?
Speaking of those, here’s another little nugget of truth that might just blow your mind: Those gifts and talents and abilities??? They weren’t just given to us to better our own individual lives. I believe with all my heart that they are part of a bigger plan, a bigger purpose, and they have the ability to change someone else’s life, too. Our gifts, talents, and callings are meant to have an eternal impact on people around us–and too often we go about our lives, cradling fear, and refuse to do anything useful with them. What a tragedy to be tasked and equipped with the power to make someone’s world better and to let doubt and fear render us powerless to do so!
Can you even for one moment imagine how much better off the people around us might be if we stopped allowing our fear to be the boss of our skin and we started stepping courageously toward our callings?
A few short months ago, I was paralyzed by fear. Afraid people would call me a hypocrite. Afraid they’d judge me, mock me, and laugh behind my back. Afraid I was wasting my time and my family’s resources if I pursued something that others might think was frivolous or self-indulgent. I was afraid that if I took a chance on myself and failed, that I would forever feel like a failure.
And then I realized that the very worst kind of failure
is simply the refusal to even try.
And so I took a deep breath and I jumped. I jumped out of the safe-and-sure thing that I could easily do, and into something new–something ‘dangerous’ by comparison, but something I believe with all my heart God has not just called me, but created me, to do. I’m about 5 weeks in and, truth be told, I’m still slightly terrified. I’m not sure what this will look like or how it will play out. I’m not sure exactly how I’ll make this work, but with each passing week, I simply know that it will so I just keep putting one foot in front of the other. In spite of all my questions and fears and anxieties I’m putting all my eggs in this one basket of truth: I was made for this and “this” is not just about what He can do for me, it’s about what He can do through me for others.. And when the fear is real and strong and threatening to overwhelm me, I look dead-on into my calling. I stand toe-to-toe, stare down the fear, and I walk right past it. Because I refuse to be deterred.
So, what about you, friends? What’s your dream deferred? Are your fears keeping you from your calling? Are you ready to see your wings….and finally use them to fly?