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.

When the Emotional Tsunami Hits

The Japanese man clings to the rooftop of his home, adrift ten miles out to sea. The tsunami has swept his house and his wife away, and that bit of roof is what is keeping him alive. Miraculously, after two days tossed about by waves, he is rescued.

I have never had to overcome anything physically and materially as challenging as Hiromitsu Shinkawa faced. But I have had some very heavy blows in life. We’ve been talking about “how to deal” when life blindsides you and you are nearly destroyed by an emotional disaster. After the first key – Don’t Panic – the second key is this: Find the Rock.

God as a concept can seem overwhelming. It is difficult to think of Him in “manageable” terms – in a way our brains and hearts can understand. When someone tells you to “trust God” or “turn to God” in hard times – how do you know what he (God) is thinking? Do you cry out to him in desperation (as we have all done) saying, “Please God, please God, help me?”

And then what? Do you hear a reply? When your emotions are in turmoil, does he seem inaccessible? God’s Word, though, is always beautifully and easily accessible.

When life blindsides me, I cling as tenaciously to the words God speaks to us as Hiromitsu clung to that rooftop. Those words are my Rock, my stability. I read them, pray them, repeat them… and feel my spirit regain its strength.

Index cards have been a great tool for me. I carry them with me for easy access. When anxiety or fear starts to creep back in, I can pull out the verses, read them, resist the negative emotion and move on with my day.

Below are some samples… I highly recommend you make your own set of cards. Hold tight to the truths found in the Bible. They will keep you from drowning.

Not The Apprentice

What a blessed day I had yesterday! Staff Day.

It started at 12:01 am. We had a bootcamp in the parking lot, under the stars, until 3 a.m. Slept about 2 hours, then met my team back to prep and join the other teams for breakfast, with activities to follow non-stop until the evening.

The details and lessons learned will surely make it into future blog posts. Suffice it to say that it felt like a mini-Apprentice reality show – with a glaring difference: the teams were all “for” each other!

Don’t misunderstand. The competition was fierce. It was fun to see these pastors/leaders with that fire of rivalry in their eyes, determined to out-do the other teams, and tapping the creativity of team members to try to prevail. They do not like to lose! Victory was sweet for the winning team.

But the Big Picture, thanks to inspired leadership, is that, ultimately, we are all working together toward the same goal! We want all of us to succeed, collectively. Not one winner and several losers, like the Apprentice. All winners, all facing the next year of challenges together.

This world is a rough place. We only have Us. Let’s be “for” one another!

“Success means we go to sleep at night knowing that our talents and abilities were used in a way that served others.” M. Williamson

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.”

RESTOFTHESTORY: IFORGOTTODOIT


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,

JUST DO IT. DO IT NOW.
Timing is everything.
What prompting have you been ignoring lately?