Four Ways That Fear Creates What it Fears

“Never do anything out of a motivation of fear.”
Some of the best advice I have ever received!
Why? Because fear creates what it fears.

  1. Fear of rejection: If you are afraid of being rejected by colleagues or acquaintances, you become clingy and petty – possibly creepy – causing otherwise friendly people to want to steer clear of you, i.e., to reject you.
  2. Fear of losing a lover: If you are afraid of losing a lover to another, you become irrational and  jealous, controlling – potentially driving the person straight into your rival’s arms.
  3. Fear of discovery: If you have a guilty conscience, you become accusatory and defensive, arouse suspicion, and provoke others to dig into your life until you are exposed.
  4. Fear of betrayal: If you fear betrayal, you will consistently  misinterpret actions, become petty and treat others as unworthy of trust – a pattern of behavior that becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy culminating in (you guessed it) “betrayal.”

It’s just how it works. I’m not sure why. But fear does create what it fears.
So now – before I take action or respond in a situation, before I pick up the phone or send the text or say yes or no to a request for help, before I censor myself on Twitter or Facebook – I try to remember to ask myself “why?” Why am I doing or not doing this? Am I acting out of fear?

Just might be the most important question we can ask ourselves today.

Your Voice

[The theme of Voice has been dancing about in my head for several weeks. I ran into this post, written by me three years ago. It is so timely for today! I’d love to hear your thoughts – do you feel you have found your voice, or (like many of us) are you “in process”?]

This post is about your voice. And your seasons.

I am going through a season change… are you? Time to get more involved in some things, and less in others. Can you relate? Thinking through priorities and proportions. This is especially challenging because I am, at heart, both an activist and an artist.

Just what is voice?  It can be a somewhat intangible concept, but by voice I mean the free expression of that unique set of attributes that makes you, you! There is your voice, my voice, God’s voice…

We each have a purpose.  God gives us our voice so we can fulfill that purpose.

I enjoy the gradual unveiling of my children’s voices. And every day I pray that they will learn to hear God’s voice… to love and trust it, to navigate through life guided by it, much as the sailors of old relied on the stars in the heavens.

But the aspect of navigating that has taken me years to learn involves my own voice, and a question (you may find yourself asking the same question): Is my voice effective?

We need to look at all our areas of involvement – at relationships and organizations in our spheres of influence – and ask a fundamental question: Does my voice make a difference? Does anybody hear me? Do they want to hear me?

If I am committed, doing my part, and carefully listening to the voices of others, but having no impact and finding no reciprocity, then that is not a fruitful involvement. It may be time for change. There are likely needs or opportunities elsewhere, just waiting!

Or, it may be time to speak more loudly. But no one likes a shouting match. If you’re in a relationship and have had “the talk” multiple times, to be comforted by a “you’re right” and no change, reconsider that relationship. If you have a friendship with someone who has taken advantage of you repeatedly, and you’ve confronted and received an “I’m sorry” only to be misused again, evaluate if it is truly a friendship. If you’re on a board or team and have expressed the same serious concerns multiple times, to be greeted by “great input” and no action, then reality check. Why force others to listen to you, when somewhere else there is a person praying precisely to hear a voice such as yours? Keep the peace, spread the love… and move on!

Of course, I am not talking about giving up when things get tough… Healthy relationships and organizations will always involve dynamic tension. Love and loyalty are key to managing that tension. But even if you are fighting a fierce battle for social justice, or to grow a business or fulfill a dream, you still have to ask yourself the questions above. Time is short. Before you know it, five years will have passed… and your dreams for tomorrow may have become distant bittersweet memories.

Bottom line today – your voice is invaluable, and there is a predetermined place where it is needed and where there is grace abounding for it to be heard. Relax in that knowledge. Listen, think, pray, speak, be thoughtful about your season change. Then watch that last leaf fall and welcome the new season. And as your senses soak in the change, listen for God’s voice and remember – He is listening for yours!

The Gift Within You


I love campfires. We were gearing up for the day. I was making coffee on the Coleman.

The night before we’d had a roaring campfire in the fire ring, and had watched it burn out. Now the kids were poking around in the remains with some sticks. To their astonishment, the ashes started smoking.

Peter went over, and showed them how to blow into the embers that were deep inside the ashes – quickly flames erupted. With just a bit more kindling, once again we had a roaring fire.

I told the kids how cool it is that God helps us do the same. We all have gifts within us, and we are supposed to “fan the flame of the gift of God that is within you…” (that is in the Bible, in 2 Timothy 1:6).

You have some very unique abilities and perspectives. You might be feeling insecure, or be afraid that it is too late for you…

It’s not!

Make a plan, share your dream, take a class, break out the study books, do whatever it takes, but blow on what looks like ashes! It’s up to you, and no one else. Put some kindling in there, and just watch – the embers are still hot, they are just hidden!

You can do it. The gift is within you. The world needs to see your fire.

imagine the possibilities

Sometimes I have a hard time believing that God made us in His image… When I look around at all the small-mindedness and suffering humans  swim around in, I wonder – are we just a bad copy of a copy of a copy, a Multiplicity gone wrong to the tenth degree?

Then my imagination pulls the emergency brake on that train of thought…

Because I imagine people being so much better than they currently are. I  imagine change and growth, and stingy hearts growing three sizes bigger… I imagine injustices being set right, and funds released to help the poverty-stricken. I imagine forgiveness flowing in impossible situations.

I imagine all those things because I have smelled them and felt them and watched them happen.  I know they will happen again.

And when I imagine change, and see change, and help make change happen – I know I am not the only one doing it…

Which tells me YES – we are made in God’s image.

Let’s live like it.

 

 

 

The List – Vote Now!

Here is what we have all been waiting for!

The List
  1. Book reviews (The Shack is the latest)
  2. Family misadventures
  3. Family life, child rearing, etc.
  4. Marriage (next month it’ll be 23 fresh adventurous years!)
  5. Thoughts on class distinctions/inequities
  6. Remembering Simplicity – what really matters?
  7. Hearing the voice of God
  8. Gems and devotionals from Scripture
  9. Our story – a love story started in Chile, carried on to Brazil, nurtured on a ship…
  10. My story. “I was born during the ash rain…”
  11. God’s faithfulness
  12. Ministry challenges – as a couple, as a family, as an individual
  13. Leadership development
  14. Opportunities to help around the world
  15. Race relations
  16. Social justice issues
  17. Women’s issues
  18. Heroes and people making an impact today
  19. Random pictures with simple lessons learned!

These are topics from my Journals. With so many, they might seem scattered – but there is always a common thread. In everything I write, I ask God to help me communicate my Personal Passion Statement (a work in progress). May my writing always encourage others to know and believe:

  • That every human life on this planet, no matter race or creed, is cherished by God.
  • That a life passionately committed to God has explosive potential.
  • That God expects us to use every gift He has given us, by living out these two truths, so we can help fix a broken world.

It’s up to you! Which top three topics from this List are you interested in? (Okay, more than three if you like… and you can add your own!).

Training on Lake Nottely

God is wonderful in how he balances our training! Books and seminars are great…
Real flesh and blood humans that have survived overwhelming odds as leaders are even better!

We were not able to attend the second day of the Leadership Summit, as we had long ago scheduled a visit to friends in Georgia. A Ukrainian pastor and his family were also visiting… we spent rich time with them as our children splashed and explored on the lake.

Nic was a pastor of the underground church in the former Soviet Union. He has since founded several churches, including some in the States. He is replete with the Holy Spirit and immense joy. He has known immense suffering. He unfolded more of God’s character for us as he told us about his experiences walking with Jesus.

Stories of persecution under the KGB were not new to us – Peter in fact spent some time at a mission station in Finland, where our teams helped prepare packages of Bibles to smuggle into the Soviet Union.

Yet how intensely in the “now” we sensed the presence of the Lord as we soaked in His ways… sitting on a boat in a lake in Georgia (the very day another Georgia – across the globe – is engulfed in conflict), our children fellowshipping over muddy, glittery rocks!

He told us of miracle after miracle of healing and deliverance. Of having to ask God specifically at what hour to meet and where, so as to avoid arrest. Experiences of believers at diverse starting points, walking miles in the woods and asking God where to go, unexpectedly meeting up with other groups in the same remote area of the forest – miraculously brought together by the guidance of the Holy Spirit. And more.

Stories new generations of believers need to know about. God has not changed.
Nic and Svetlana are simple humans, as are we all. And as humans, they reminded me that being massively overwhelmingly in love with God, and diving headfirst into His work, regardless of opposition, are the truly indispensable qualities of great leaders.