I have found it quite difficult to write any posts recently, for most of 2022 if I am being honest. I like to tell myself it is due to time pressure and not finding the right routine in my new surroundings, but it almost always boils down to one thing. Fear.
Feeling fear is what stops me doing so many, many things. Fear of what other people will think. Fear of doing damage. Fear of what I will look like. Fear of not doing it quite right. Fear of failure.
Over the years there have been so many things I have stopped myself from doing due to fear, and when I push through that fear and do the thing I usually discover it is nowhere near as bad as I thought it would be or as difficult.
Despite knowing this, the next time I face the fear blockage I don’t choose to remember the previous positive outcomes, but imagine instead the disastrous possibilities … and I have an outstanding imagination!
At the start of each year I choose a word that will be my focus word for that year. Last year my word was ‘Inspire’, the year before was ‘Wholehearted’. My word for 2020 was ‘Brave’ and I was really struggling to land on a focus word for 2023.
You see, when I choose a word, invariably my experiences during that year give me opportunity to live out my focus. When I started this exercise many years ago I chose the word ‘Grace’. I was kind of hoping that God would magically imbue me with this admirable characteristic but instead he sent me situations that required me to build that particular character muscle and demonstrate grace over and over again.
I had the feeling that God wanted me to focus on the word ‘Fearless’ this year, but knowing what I know I didn’t want to do it. I don’t want to be inundated with opportunities to show fearlessness. I am already having to face travelling to London on my own in March to attend a 6 week conference at The Salvation Army’s International College for Officers. That in itself is too scary!
As is always the case in my arguments with God, He won, and so my word for 2023 is ‘Fearless’, although I have been wondering if it is unrealistic? I can’t imagine what life would be like without any fear. It is a response that is given to us for our own safety and wellbeing.
I have been playing with the idea, however, of being ‘fear-less. Allowing fear to have less of a hold over me. I’m reminded of the quote “Feel the fear and do it anyway.” It’s the title of a book I have not read by American Psychologist Susan Jeffers, but I might track it down at my local library. It might serve me well as this year unfolds.
In searches to find images for and definitions of the word I came across the following: “Don’t be afraid to fail, be afraid not to try.” I am going to take this concept on board this year as I endeavour to live with less fear in my life.
A quick search tells me that there are 365 verses in the Bible based on the theme of ‘Do not fear’. That’s enough for one each day of the year, but one of my favourites would be Isaiah 41:10 – “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
As I launch into this new year of fearlessness I encourage you to give some consideration of a focus word also. Wish me well.