So a few months ago I was asked whether I would like to give a short speech on Sunday at my church. Just a short kind of thing that lasted perhaps 2 minutes.
It was basically an opportunity to speak on what God has been doing within me. The truth is that God has been doing a lot inside me this last 12 months. Not all of it is groundbreaking. Not all of it is even that important to anyone outside of me. But it’s been undeniable that he’s been working on me, ”Project Pete” in this time.
Unfortunately on this chosen Sunday, I was not to be around. I was out of town. I was disappointed to not have a chance to talk about it because I believe the opportunity was a good one to be honest and real with a group of people.
That last line there is a strange one because anyone who knows me would know that I’m far from comfortable with the idea of speaking in front of an audience. Most of us have felt this way. I used to dread, fear, loathe and even hide from the idea of doing so in high school.
My mind goes to places where it thinks about what I could possibly say and how insignificant it would be. How something big for me is simply for me. That my highs aren’t shared in the same light for others.
Even today the idea of sharing or speaking still gets me slightly uneasy but I feel at piece with the idea of doing so now. You learn over time that the reality of anything is never half as bad as the fear of the unknown that you feel beforehand.
Fear is one of, if not THE greatest foe of man of all time. It plays on us like a kid with a nasty streak who just can’t stop. If allowed to continue it will persist.
Fear is something we all feel at different times. Sometimes it comes and goes. Sadly it can often hang around and dictate life if you let it. But what is fear? And why does it have such a powerful effect on us??
The truth may well be that fear is simply nothing more than an illusion but then why is it so hard to sweep it aside? What is it that lets fear dictate the way we feel?
Sure, there is the reality that we do worry about how others perceive us. So that quite often can be a reason not to do something. But the fear of the unknown is probably an even greater reason. If we knew the outcome of doing something then we would do it right away, especially if we knew it could be a good thing.
The fear of the unknown is a funny one. It has the ability to paralyze us because we simply cannot see what will happen next. But why do we automatically assume the outcome will be negative? It’s human nature i guess.
But what would it look like to assume that the outcome will in fact be a positive one? The right one! It comes back to a couple of things for me. First it requires you to believe in yourself and the person you are. You need that quiet confidence in yourself to believe that this next step is one you’re ready to make.
The other step required is to show some faith. Faith not only in yourself but that the direction you’re heading in is the right one. You need to trust that you’re in this position for a reason, that it’s no mistake that you’re in this moment.
I know it’s easier said then done. It’s a hell of a lot easier said actually!
You’ll probably only fight with yourself for longer than you need before convincing yourself you should do it. Why? Because that’s how fear works. Things are always harder than they should be when fear is in the way.
Faith is actually a key component in overcoming fear. Faith is believing in something even when you don’t see it yet. Fear will try block your faith and keep you right where you are. Overcoming those fears is a big part in how we grow as people.
What I’ve learned is there’s no easy way to overcome it. You have to look it in the eye and just do it. You have to be strong enough to look past the things you fear. You have to realise that in order to keep growing you need to be able to believe that you are bigger and greater than what your fear tells you.
Fear will tell you many things. All of them negative. Obstacles though are meant to be overcome. Fear is exactly that. An obstacle.
I saw a great exercise in overcoming your fears a few years ago. The non profit community ”To Write Love On Her Arms” (TWLOHA) launched a campaign back then where people were photographed holding a card which listed their ”Fears vs Dreams”.
On that card they listed a fear and then below it a dream. The idea being that it highlights its okay to have things we fear, we are all human. But that place of fear doesn’t define us. Our dreams are in part what defines us. The things we hope for mean something greater & deeper than any fear could ever be.
Fear is an obstacle. Our dreams are….our dreams, our hopes, our desires. Deep down they are things which mean something to us. They are significant to us. Below is a video which captures the idea of the concept TWLOHA were aiming for.
The idea of promoting people listing their fears and dreams is one that encourages people. It can also empower and show people that what they feel is something others feel too. That they are not alone in feeling this. We all need encouragement to press in to things from time to time because too often we feel as though we’re doing this on our own.
As for me?
Well, fear is always going to be there. But the key is to remember that I am greater and stronger than it. That I’ve already overcome it previously. It doesn’t define me, doesn’t control me and certainly it is not my companion. For the most part I do okay with this.
When I live in this mindset I not only believe that it’s true but I see the evidence of it too.
If fear is nothing more than an obstacle created by illusion, the challenge then must be to overcome it like you’re meant for this moment.