Happy back to school!!! I know, I know; for my friends in the states this may seem a bit late to the party-BUT, for us here we are just getting warmed up for a fresh new year. Well, almost a fresh new year–as I write this I have a pretty pitiful sick little lady laying next to me. So, her official first day of first grade shall be a few days late and yes, I will simply pretend the mandatory first day of school pictures were on the actual first day of school.
The start of a new school year got me thinking about firsts and fears and how they often times go hand in hand. For me, the first time I do anything that is remotely new or unfamiliar there is an underlying emotion of fear–even if I’m looking forward to and/or am excited for the experience to come. I love this quote-you’ve likely seen it-it takes the word FEAR and makes it an acronym: “F.E.A.R. has two meanings-Forget Everything And Run OR Face Everything And Rise, The choice is yours.” I find this to be very fitting for the season I am in. You see with the child in full time school this provides me with a large window of time…a commodity that is very precious. While she is in school throughout the week, I have the ability to dedicate those uninterrupted hours to something new and possibly something that would be or could be a first for me. Want to know a secret? This both excites AND scares the ever loving (you know what) outta me. Like a cupcake of fear sprinkled with a bit of nervousness and indecision. You see, I don’t know about you but, when people asked me what I wanted to be when I “grow up” I never had a clear answer other than “I know I want to help people”–but that was as far as it got. Some folks know from a very early age exactly what they want to be and the exact path necessary to get them there–that was never me. I mean don’t get me wrong, I have ambition and have a slew of areas that interest me thus generating ideas and passions, but I guess never one so strong that it overshadowed all others. I am always so in awe of those men and women who have known exactly where they wanted to go in their careers and how they were going to get there. (PS: those of you who fall into this category–please feel free to share your wisdom and knowledge with the rest of the group.)
We tell our children they can be whatever they want to be as long as they work hard. We tell our children to “shoot for the stars” and to “dream big” when they’re thinking of what they want to be “when they grow up.” My question is when, as adults, did we become too fearful or too scared to “shoot for the stars” and to “dream big” when trying to determine what we want to be “when we grow up?” Why do we put a timeline on dream chasing? Why do we think you’ve got to have it all figured out by a certain age? Why do we stop shooting for the stars? Why do we hesitate to take risks or think the impossible is possible when marriage, kids, or fill in the blank has happened? Or maybe that’s only my perception….
For example, growing up I was involved in plays and musicals in school and in church. I always thought it was so much fun pretending to be someone or something that wasn’t fully ‘me’. To be safely encased in a character who could do or say or act in any way that wasn’t necessarily how I would behave was exciting–almost gave you the permission to go against the grain of what was considered “normal.” (Lemme tell ya, when you’re in the throws of those high school days when everyone is desperately trying to “fit in” having an outlet–whatever that may be/or was for you can be such a safe haven.) I have been told by folks I would be good at doing voice over work; but while I’ve briefly looked into it, I have for whatever reason convinced myself that I can’t or I shouldn’t–why?!?! Fear of what? Fear of failing?
I had a friend recently share with me a situation when trying to get her son to overcome his fear of a bike sans training wheels. In the midst of her explaining to her son that if he allowed fear to rule his life he would potentially miss out of experiences and blessings he wouldn’t otherwise have, the Holy Spirit did a doozey on her (in true Holy Spirit fashion). My friend shared with me that as the words left her, the Holy Spirit was speaking directly to her heart. She was encouraging her son not to allow fear, but his faith to guide him (along with present parents holding on to the bike seat until just the right moment) and to have his faith be bigger than his fear; yet, as she was speaking truth into her son, the Holy Spirit was speaking truth just as loudly to her heart.
Why do we allow our fear to be bigger than our faith? Why do we allow self doubt to creep in and in a quiet voice tell us we are incapable to achieving ‘x’, but will speak words of encouragement and be the biggest cheerleaders to our children or to others striving towards their goals? “The Lord is my light and my salvation–whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life-of whom shall I be afraid?” (Psalm 27:1) This; this right here says it all. We should hold firmly to our faith–even when we fail–that our God is bigger than our fear. We should not allow our fear to hold us back, but put our faith into our God that even if we stumble through events in life that may be new, He is right there all along the way. A dear friend gave me a bracelet which simply, yet oh so powerfully, states “what if you fly.” So, here is to all of us, putting aside our fears; clinging hard to our faith; and each of us with the potential to fly.
Until next time,