Tuesday, January 31, 2017

What Happens When You Stop Being Afraid

There are things in life we should fear. I'm afraid of heights. At 6'4", it took me three years to get used to being this tall. But a more justifiable fear is my fear of a phone call from one of my four kids in their twenties at 1:30 AM. Just typing that out made me shudder.

The truth is, there are fears many of us carry that debilitate us in the most important areas of life. Rather than expose the dangers here, I want to attack this by highlighting 3 fears that keep us from acting in ways that could end up giving us the life we always dreamed of, as well as the good that can come from leaving these fears behind.

Not afraid to fail.
There is a saying that contends the most destructive thing you can do is to do nothing because you are afraid you can only do a little. It is equally destructive to do nothing because you are not certain of your ability to succeed. But in the same way you never learn something unless you ask a question you don’t already know the answer to, you never grow in any area of life unless you attempt something you are not sure you can pull off. For this to happen, failure is an absolute requirement.


Some say that no one likes to fail. That’s not true. There are those wise ones who upon failure, take a little joy in knowing they have learned something new that makes success a little more within reach. These people are not only not afraid to fail, they expect it. They welcome it. They celebrate, learn from and quickly move beyond it, smiling all the way.

Not afraid to be judged.

These are people who stay focused, transparent and honest about their weaknesses as well as their strengths. People like this freely admit their limits of knowledge and ability, and seek the help of those around them. In fact, they view judgment, just like failure as an opportunity for learning.


When criticism does come, they dive into ruthlessly honest self-evaluation, sometimes even seeking feedback from their critics. They accept what rings true, dismiss what is obviously not true, and seek out the feedback of trusted friends to pull back the curtain on any blind spots.

Judgement does not scare them because they can learn and grow from it, and at the end of the day live more fully and faithfully into the kind of person they want to become.

Not afraid to be exposed.

Give me a person with character and integrity over a person with talent any day. Skill and ability can be taught. But if a person is lacking in character, no amount of talent will be able to compensate for the disaster that will inevitably come.


One of the practical benefits of character is that you never have to be afraid of being exposed. Even if you make a mistake or commit a relational faux pas, character will prompt you to quickly and humbly admit your failure, apologize, make amends, and move forward even stronger for having fought through a crisis. Others may try to hold it against you, but when the principals involved have moved on in healthy relationship, the critics end up looking foolish, petty and self-serving.

Those who scrutinize you in the clear light of day with honestly and sincerity will find a real human being possessing the qualities of honor, commitment, humility, grace and perseverance. There is nothing to be afraid of in that.

Conclusion

So if you are a person not afraid of failure, judgment or exposure, what can your enemies do to you? Nothing! You cannot harm a person with no fear. It is not failure, judgment or exposure that harms us. It is our fear of them and the dysfunctional ways that fear forces us to behave. Without fear, we can only grow and succeed, even if that growth and success is not exactly what we anticipated in the beginning.


So if you are a person not afraid of failure, judgment or exposure, your enemies can do nothing to you, but what can you do to them? Win them over! Strength, humility, integrity, grace and an unshakable confidence are very attractive qualities. May they be yours in abundance.

Be encouraged!

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