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.

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.

A (Bridged) Chasm – guest author

This post is for leaders! Our guest author is a young leader, a grad student near to my heart, who likes to wrestle with issues.

Turns out my brain was not quiet enough to let me sleep. In fact, what must amount to a discordant symphony of thoughts have been rolling around in my head for the past three hours. And so, in the interest of sanity, I am attempting to drown out the noise through the quiet clatter of my keyboard.

I have been thinking about my faith and my religion, and the enormous chasm that sometimes seems to separate the two. I think it has become a bit of a theme in these “notes” of mine, but I haven’t written about it in awhile, so why not at 4 am on a Tuesday? As good a time as any…

Not quite sure what has triggered this round; perhaps it is the fact that Ted Haggard is surfacing in the news again, amid new allegations and an HBO special. All other issues notwithstanding, an HBO special? Did he honestly think HBO would paint him in a positive light? The stupidity astounds me.

I’ve tried to figure out what kind of Christian I am, which denomination I fit into. The first part of that question is easy for me: Protestant or Catholic? Protestant. And then it gets complicated. I don’t understand theology much; I have spent many mornings with my parents at the breakfast table discussing how things came to be and which groups believe what. The truth is, after awhile, theology confounds me. While I know it’s important, I reach a point of sheer frustration, because, in the end, WHO CARES? In a world where millions of children are dying (more from relatively easy-to-fix, lackluster issues like diarrheal diseases than from the sexier issues like HIV/AIDS), who cares about the difference between a Methodist and a Lutheran? Jesus basically said, “Get off your lazy tush and DO SOMETHING!!!” So, in my view, if you claim to be a Christian and are doing nothing, I really don’t want to waste my time with you, regardless of the technicalities of your beliefs. (Is there a such thing as the DO SOMETHING!!! denomination? If there’s not, there should be…)

Which brings me to the chasm. How dare you seek respect and legitimacy for your cause, to claim to fight for the purification of an institution, when you were the one that initiated the deterioration? How dare you seek forgiveness, and then seek profit? How dare you allow petty disagreements to cloud your vision, flaring tempers to disable you from fulfilling your destiny? It is not that you have shaken the foundations of my faith and broken my heart, along with the ones I care most deeply about. It is that you have lost sight of the purpose. Where is the fruit? Do you not realize that every second you waste, someone suffers; every minute you let escape, another person dies. Not because of an incurable disease; BECAUSE THEY DO NOT HAVE CLEAN WATER TO DRINK!

Which brings me to the bridge. Leaders with vision! Individuals living their lives with purpose, determined to make a difference. DO SOMETHING!!! Christians. I appreciate you more than I can express. And here’s the most important part: the world will feel your impact.

Follow the Nudge

So Saturday morning I’m staring aimlessly (I find aimless staring to be therapeutic) at my backyard. Suddenly I focus on one of the two papaya trees. It has the most beautiful, plentiful fruit. It is leaning, looking like this tree on the left.

I get this nudge, this feeling (okay, maybe it was glaringly obvious) – “mental note: prop it up, TODAY.

“Yes,” I reply to myself. “I’ll do it now.”


Now I have this in my kitchen –
more than 130 green or semi-ripe papayas!

Friends, one of the several lessons to glean from my self-inflicted dilemma:

When something is producing a lot of fruit, it needs a lot of support.
If you want the fruit, give the support.

And when you feel a nudge, an obvious prompt,

Timing is everything.
What prompting have you been ignoring lately?