I have a lot on my mind - things which may seem disconnected, but I am fairly certain are not. I need to be upfront and honest here; I am controlled by fear. It not only grips me but takes away any semblance of self-confidence I have. I read a short article the other day on Forbes.com (one of my absolute favorite on-line magazines, by the way) about traits of unsuccessful people. Why I felt compelled, I do not know. Yes, actually I do - mostly because I see myself as an unsuccessful person. Anyhow, to my point. It said, and I paraphrase, "unsuccessful people use misplaced aggressiveness to mask a confidence that is wrapped in insecurity." The WHAT you say?!?! I know. As if that wasn't profound enough to get the brain spinning, just last night the Mr. and I were watching an absolutely adorable British movie (another thing about me - I love British TV and movies, perhaps it is their unrequited desire to push all social envelopes and still meet the needs of all demographics? Who knows but I am getting off task.) about family and bonds and time travel and, well, you get the picture. In this movie, the Patriarch said to his son, and again I paraphrase, "a man who is so easily led will never have men to lead." People!
Then today as I was doing my devotions, I read this:
"Not only does the chatterbox spin endless tales about the awful things that might happen to us. It also creates infinite illusions about the terrible way God will respond to us if we fail." (By the way, my biggest fear is the fear of failure.) ... "Now, instead of turning fear out of doors, we have let fear shut us out of opportunities to use the resources and gifts we've been given to honor the God who gave them." (My spiritual gifts are teaching and knowledge.) ... "In order to walk past your what-ifs and into God's plan for your life, you can't just count what it might cost you if you do attempt to obey God and fail. You must consider the cost of playing it safe in an attempt to avoid what God is calling you to do - and succeeding." (I have been asked to lead the Hospitality Team at church. But I am wrought with the fear of failing, of not doing it right, of people not coming anymore because of me, of not being accepted or even liked and...do you see what I deal with in this head of mine?!)
Now, while I may not be "doing" my dream job on a professional level - yet, I am still super scared to try. What if I fail? And this team at church? What if I fail at that too? I have asked God for years to show me a ministry that I can get into, that I can help with. (I always wanted to do Women's Ministry, and co-teach with my spouse a couples class...you know all things teaching.) Instead, this is the opportunity that has presented itself and I think I know why. (Here is where God is probably smirking because I'm trying to define a known...His known!) I'm not good at all with hospitality. Don't get me wrong, I want people to come over and I will do everything in my power to make the house look good, buy the snacks, food, beverages, decorations, etc in an effort to keep them from having to worry or spend a dime...BUT...I constantly fear they do not really want to be here or even come for that matter, which causes me to fixate on the "doing" all that much more. So much so, to the point, I do not enjoy being hospitable.
The root cause? FEAR! It is just like the parable of the talents. You know, where the servants were given money (talents) to work with while the master was away and 2 of the 3 did, but the last dude, in his fear, buried the money and didn't expand upon it for his master. The master gave props to the first two, "Well done my good and faithful servant"; while the fearful one was turned out and chastised for his inaction. You see, I resonate with him. He was scared. Like I am. He did what he thought was right, which was to do nothing at all. This stopped him from receiving a blessing and growing personally. I am constantly doing what I think is right, out of fear. I don't do bold things. I don't try to do what is in my heart, that which I have the passion for doing, (help at church, teaching, etc) because I'm so incredibly scared that I will fail at it. So I just keep on, keeping on. And in that keeping on, where I am, I substitute the confidence of my actions with aggressiveness because I want to be strong, I want to show I can lead, that I know what to do - because I want to be successful at it. In the end, I am really just being led by my fears.
It is going to take much effort to work through the *gasp* nearly 40 years of learnt behavior that formed the person I am, but I know with the strength of the Lord and His ever so patient (and understanding) nature, He will guide me (even when I stop letting Him at times) towards the place He wants me to be. Until then, I will work my talents, not for me, but because they are the ones He gave me and they should not be buried. Beware, people, this will be messy, it will be broken, and it will most definitely not look like progress while it is happening. Not to say God can't make beautiful happen from broken, but that broken is a natural progression and progression of this nature is messy. That is a long way of saying - we're going to be revisiting this lesson a few times before we succeed! :)
I encourage you to work yours....