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Fear this... Not that

I think you are fearing the wrong things.

What is it that you are worrying about right now? 
Is it a big problem in your life? 
Can you do anything about it?

I remember living on the farm as a child. Our home was a 10th of a mile from the main road. During the day, looking out the front bay window, the lane way gave me a clear picture of what was ahead. But when it got dark or worst, when there was a threat of a snow storm, I can still picture in my mind, my dad with his hands cupped to the side of his face, worried if he would get snowed in and its work.

Or how early he or I would have to get up to get the John Deer tractor out to plow the driveway so he could go to work. There was nothing my dad could do but pace back and forth peering out the window guessing and cussing. Worry did not change the situation one eye outta. 

Worrying is like sitting in a rocking chair. 
It gives you something to do but you don’t go anywhere. 

What is that one thing you fear or worry about? 
There is just one question I want to ask you. 

Do you have any control over it? 

Most of us spend inordinate amounts of time fearing stuff that experts say will never happen. 

Fear lived in the house with me while growing up. 
Fear camped in every bedroom. 
Fear was present in nearly every conversation. 
Fear counselled decisions and controlled relationships.

If you want to tackle the problem of fear in your life, I would suggest you have to change your perspective about fear. Look at fear in a different light. 

The Secret about Fear

Here is a little secret. Fear will always be present in your life. You cannot eradicate it. You may mute it for a time, but it will be just below the surface. It is part of how you have been wired. Your 5 senses are programmed to protect you and keep you from harm.  So the challenge becomes managing your fear or more importantly, what you fear. 

Rather than fear what could happen to you (which many times you have no control over), why not fear what could happen to you if you didn’t act (what you can control)?

Fear this - failing to act, to become, to expand.
Not that - feeling discomfort. 

Fear being alone, more than fearing rejection. 
Fear not becoming the person you are meant to be. 
Fear not overcoming your loss. 
Fear not embracing change. 
Fear not making a difference in this world. 

You should fear your life will result in being ineffective and pointless. Futile. Average.

Fear Missing out, not Messing up.

Fear missing the adventure, not avoiding the unknown. 

Part of my journey of walking with fear was choosing to experience a bucket list goal of going to Israel. I had avoided this for years but when one of my friends came home from visiting Israel and drove straight to my office and said, “Bob, you have to go to Israel!” For the next 30 minutes he discussed all the insights and sights he and his wife experienced. The words that truly changed my mind were, “You don’t want to miss out on a experience of a lifetime. You will never be the same again!” 

I made the decision right there that I wanted to go. Within seconds of these words rolling off my tongue, fear suddenly woke up and started its assault in my mind. 

Fear is looming to keep you safe, leveraging every argument to keep you from experiencing a blessed life. 

Fear made a list:

    •    You can’t afford this!
    •    You don’t have the time to travel!
    •    You won’t experience it like they did!
    •    You won’t be safe!
    •    You don’t know who else is going!
    •    You aren’t in shape to walk 15 kms a day!
    •    You will never last on a plane that long!
    •    What if it rains everyday?

My rebuttal to this list was trumped by the fear of missing all that this experience would be. 

The choice was mine.
The choice is yours. 

Fear Being Apathetic not Adventurous. 

People who allow fear to reign in their life die a slow death of not caring about so many aspects of life. 

I grew up in Eastern Ontario, in Prince Edward County. The beaches are amazing and during the summertime people from the big city of Toronto would come and turn this sleepy, sacred land into a party location. In order to get from the mainland to the Country you had to either cross a bridge or take a ferry. 

For me growing up, I loved the County but the whole world was over the bridges and across the ferry to the rest of Canada and even the world. Several years ago I met a high school friend while visiting my mom. To my amazement, the furthest he and his family had traveled was just over the bridge to a city and then back home. I had talked about traveling overseas and my love to experience new cultures and discovering new countries.

When I pressed in asking why he had not traveled beyond the city it became apparent the reason was fear. He was content to never wonder beyond his comfort zone. 

Are you like that?

Maybe you have no fear about traveling more than 100 kilometers, but you have just grown indifferent to experiencing more in your life.  I remember after my conversation with this couple feeling so sad because there is so much more life to enjoy. 

Fear cripples living abundantly. Fear protects what small bit of life you do have for fear if you ventured out you will lose what you have. Fearful people have a scarcity mindset. There are only so many pieces of pie available. 

My family consisted of 2 parents, 3 kids. Mom loved making pies. She would cut 6 pieces. There was always 1 left to fight over.  I’m sure we all got a turn getting a second piece. Here is the point. Scarcity minds protect the last piece because then it is gone - forever. Abundant minds know they have the resources to make and bake another one. There is plenty of pie available. 

Fear not Learning, not Looking Ridiculous. 

The last thing you want to do is embarrass yourself in front of others. Fear of their criticism and more importantly, their judgment. Listen to the words of Teddy Roosevelt, penned in 1907.

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who comes again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, of he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.” 

Picture your life filled with memories of adventure… of achievement… and filled with admiration of seizing the fear of missing out rather than succumbing to the fear of the unknown.

Now you have to get a picture of what your purpose is.

Hang on… the adventure is about to begin.


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