Monday, February 3, 2014

A Fear-Based Life

I've been wondering lately how often people make decisions based out of fear.

There have been a few conversations here and there where, as I listen to people sort through their reasoning for deciding something, the only thing I can hear in the process is fear. Fear of the unknown. Fear of change.

There's this fear that plagues us sometimes...and it soon becomes the decision-maker in our life. If I can't know the end result, I'm more prone to avoid walking down that particular path. It makes sense, right? We want to know that we're going somewhere that is sure to be filled with success, joy, good stuff. If we can't guarantee that, why would we head that direction?

It makes sense, especially, in regard to relationships. Oftentimes we don't ever want to enter into a relationship unless we fully believe it's going to work out. We go into relationships with every hope and intention that it's going to be successful....and if it seems doomed from the beginning, we usually bow out (unless we're just in it for a temporary good time). Honestly, even in a "successful" relationship, there can be a lot of fears there and a lot of unknowns. Sometimes, because a successful relationship is so unknown to me, it feels easier to get out and move into something I'm much more comfortable with, something that's much more known. At this point in my life, it's more known to end a relationship than it is for me to stay in one forever.

It also applies to future life decisions--like jobs, schools, moving. We want variables that we can count on. We move back home because we know people there, we know the short-cuts, we know which grocery stores to shop at, which restaurants to go to. We move to areas where we know people because, even if everything else is new, there's a certain stability to having a small community of people who know us. We take jobs that are within our realm of expertise, or different jobs at places we have worked before. There's something familiar that draws us to places... and that isn't necessarily bad.

I just wonder how often we are willing to step into places where we know nothing. Where we don't allow the fear of the unknown to be a factor in our decisions...
I wonder how often we look at our motivations and are able to identify them as driven mostly by fear, and then what it might look like if we were willing to remove that as an obstacle in our lives?

Are you hesitant to date that person because he's a man of bad character and you're not attracted to him at all? Or is it because you're scared of letting someone in... you're scared of a relationship working out... you're scared that you don't know what'll happen in the end?

Are you hesitant to take that job because it might require something of you that you feel inadequate in? Are you hesitant because it's in a place where you know no one and nothing? Are you hesitant because it's different than anything you've ever done before?

There's a lot of things that we take into consideration when making decisions...especially big decisions... and I'm not saying we shouldn't factor all these things in. But, I am challenging all of us to look at our reasons for them. Are they fear-based? Are the fears rational? Or are they simply rooted in the unknown? Are they rooted in a fear of change?

I don't want us to be people who miss out on good...on places/things that the Lord is calling to because it's unknown, because it's different, because it's new.

So, when you make your pros/cons list as you process through your life-decisions, I'd urge you to dive deep into the reasons why your cons are your cons and your pros are your pros. I'd urge you to be willing to jump into the unknown, especially if it has the potential of being good down the road. I'd urge you to walk down a path because you're ultimately trusting that the Lord is going to be faithful to you when you're open to new adventures and seeking to live obediently.

There may not be a wrong choice.
But, I'd hate to see us live a life of regret because of how we let fear make our decisions for us.

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