Can We Talk Fear?

In a world where we can google anyone at any moment and find out almost anything about them, life can feel like standing in the streets naked, very vulnerable.

I have told you guys my mind gets dramatic. Have you ever really thought about the ability of others to find out personal things about you? We live in an incredible time. Technology has made our lives pretty cushy however, it can be frightening knowing that with the touch of a few buttons people can find out just about anything they want to know.

In this online social media age, sometimes I feel like I’m on a server’s platter at a fine dining establishment.

You know the ones I’m referring to right? The ones where the servers wear suits and ties, with a flawlessly folded napkin laid perfectly between elbow and wrist. When we visit these places I stuff myself. And inevitably the server will say “did you save room for dessert?” Uh, no mister server, I did not. But am I going to eat one anyway? Yes, I sure am.

And then the platter comes. You guys, those platters! With all the meticulously placed desserts presented to you in such a fashion that you can’t resist, “I’ll take the made-from-scratch cheesecake with the hand whipped cream and chocolate drizzle on top” comes flying out without intention.

So, yeah…those kinds of platters, it can feel like that! Like our lives are on that platter, and it is being hand-served out to the world to pick through and decide which is worth consuming and which needs to stay put and that seems very vulnerable.

Vulnerability is not for the faint of heart. It can be used to cause deep-felt hurt, but when used correctly it can create the most authentic relationships and bring healing! 

Let’s look at history, in a time when technology wasn’t at the level it is now, all of the American greats had to be vulnerable.

Think of people like Martin Luther King Jr who’s “I had a dream” speech changed the course of our nation. It helped America by not only showing black people they were worth the fight and standing up for yourself is crucial, but it also taught white people the prejudice black people faced on the daily.

It may have been a while since you read the details of his story. If you take a moment to go back and read what life was like back then you will realize the courage and vulnerability it took to stand among so many people and speak the truth. That kind of courage had to be from a divine source. That man single-handedly, with one speech, helped black Americans see themselves as their creator made them, for a moment he brought races together and helped weed out the ones who stood for evil.

I can think of many people in history who had to be vulnerable. Any of our 44 presidents, anybody in the military who has fought at war. Even celebrities and music artist that entertain us. I think of President Bush after 9-11. Required to address a nation of terrified and hurting people, he became vulnerable in his speech but courageous in his response to the bombers.

When I think of these courageous people, I’ll be honest with you, my efforts to help our world seem menial.

Nevertheless, I will use this mass source of technology for good I feel like I am supposed to do. Nevertheless, I will feel vulnerable while doing it. I sometimes get a sick feeling in my gut when I realize what I am doing. When I let myself dwell too long on the nakedness of stepping out to pursue the things God has laid on my heart. I start telling myself “who do you think you are, you think someone wants to hear from a random woman in Kentucky?” My inner critic can get loud! Somehow through all of that noise, I realize that is not the self-talk that makes people do great things.

Do you ever wonder if these brave people told themselves these things?

Of course, they did, because human doubt is real and merely that, human. I’m sure they all had thoughts in the back of their mind about what others would think or what the outcome could be. But rather than listen to the negativity and self-doubt, they chose to focus on the reason they were doing it in the first place.

The fact is, even if no one valued these greats in history, they chose to step up and do the hard stuff anyway. The words they spoke could have fallen on deaf ears, the things they did could have seemed unimportant and gone unseen. But all of them did it because they felt the nudge, a burden by God, in my opinion, to do something great. Each of them had their reasons, and you have yours too.

Imagine if Martin Luther King Jr didn’t give that speech, imagine if our military didn’t serve our country and decided they weren’t going to fight for us, imagine if Rosa Parks gave up her seat, imagine if Bush allowed fear to change his words of courage to our country on 9-11. But rather than give in to the alarm, they stepped up, became vulnerable and bravely did the thing they felt they were called to do. You see, a great thing happens when God’s divine nudge meets vulnerability and courage, history is made!

My friends, you can not do brave things without fear.

Facing fear is precisely what defines bravery. Doing it even when you are so scared your hands and voice are shaking, when you know people will say negative things. When they won’t recognize your effort or worse, they make what you are saying or doing something evil. You have to remember that you have a divine gift inside of you. You can not forget your reason why. I have told my children all of their lives, and had to repeat it many times in middle school and that is “people will say negative things about you for the rest of your life. You have to decide RIGHT NOW if you are going to let that change who you are and what you want to do.”

Everyone in this world is trying to figure out life one day at a time. Everyone out there, even the people who are so hard and judgemental are that way because of their own life’s circumstances.  At their core, they don’t want to be that way. They want to be brave too. So why let them affect you? Go ahead, right now and decide that you are not going to allow those types of people to hurt you. Go ahead and tell yourself you are going to do what you feel you need to do even when it is hard.

I want to share a strategy I use to keep myself focused and even brave at times.

It’s pretty straightforward: write down exactly what you want to do. Then take the time to write out all the reasons why you want to do the hard, brave thing. As you read your “why” list, assess if these are good reasons. Are the reasons heartful, true and pure? Are there any ugly yucky reasons why? If not, there is the first clue that you should do what is in your heart. 

Now that you have your reasons why and you have good intentions I want you to re-read them. Do it again. And now again. Did you get it in your head? Good! I want you to drive it home so hard in your mind that no matter what is said or how hard it is to reach that goal your knee-jerk reaction is “I have to do this.” Before the yucky gut-punch feelings come to your mind, know you are doing this for a good reason. Or you’re doing it for your family, or your creator, or your spouse…Whatever your “why” is, it has to be the primary thing in your memory as you do the hard stuff. Now you will do it afraid!

Sister, know who you are. Know your reasons why.

Write it down and set your goals! And when someone/something/some circumstance/the devil, tell you it won’t work, or you can’t make it happen, you pull that list of whys out and shove it the face of all the negative talk! Stand up tall, hold your head high, knowing that you are coming from a good place.

To sum it up, I leave you with Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”  God has great plans for you. Do you know what they are? If so, leave me a comment below and tell me about the dreams God gives you!