The fear of taking financial risks dominated me for most of my life, I believe instilled in me during my youth, having grown up poor. Unwittingly, I made it into a monster and it knew all of the right buttons to push. It didn’t take much for it to send me cowering into the corner, squashing every dream I entertained before they had a chance to grow. But now I quickly slap it down. Fear likes to undermine God’s promises and I came to realize that is unacceptable. The monster would like to hold me hostage, keeping me from pursuing the adventure God made me for and preventing me from reaching my full potential for God. It dominated me for a while…. but I came to a point when I decided that I did not want to live in the shadow of fear anymore. I changed what I focused on and I was set free; the monster now powerless.
What fear is keeping you from pursuing the adventure of your life?
You don’t know how wimpy your fear is until you face off with it. When confronting it head on, our biggest fears melt. I read an article recently that said when we confront our fears head on, our stress actually reduces. Our focus is drawn to what is in front of us, our adrenaline rises and everything else fades away. It went on to say that we derive a powerful long-term benefit – increased confidence. We realize “the Emperor has no clothes!”
But, the thought of going go head to head with our biggest fears frankly scares us to death, so we avoid it. We may know confronting it would be good for us, but still delay taking action. We talk about it, giving it credibility and our thoughts dwell on it…. over time, in a twisted way, we can even “make friends” with it, becoming comfortable with its presence, perhaps using it as a scapegoat. I’ve come upon this often as a financial advisor…people having become comfortable with their debt even though it is steadily eating their life away. Crazy!
What you focus on increases.
Our fear feeds off of our attention and it grows…. It’s so easy for our fear to become our focus, and when we do, it grows bigger, and BIGGER and BIGGER! How could we ever face off with it then? It is enormous – a Big Hairy Monster!!
Here’s where it gets interesting. There is magic in the principle “What you focus on increases” – it can work either against you or for you.
If what you focus on increases, what would happen if we focused on something else?
But we have to be careful. Think about the dieter, trying to avoid eating certain foods. She says “I can’t eat desserts.” So she tries with all of her might to not eat desserts. And she can do it for a while…..but the more she thinks about what she can’t do, the more she thinks about what she is missing and the more she begins to crave it. She caves in. In an attempt to shift her focus, she really just made a negative focus on the same thing; her focus didn’t really change, and perhaps increased. To top it off, she tried to overcome using her willpower and discipline. Admit it now, willpower and discipline are no match going head to head against your fear monster. Let the power of God do this work.
So, what do you focus on then? Here’s the secret….
Focus your thoughts on God’s Promises and your Life Mission.
When I confronted my fear of financial failure, this scripture became a focus: “You both precede and follow me and place your hand of blessing on my head. This is too glorious, too wonderful to believe!” Psalm 139:5-6 (NLT) Ponder this for a while…I recall saying to myself “You mean you are going ahead of me to arrange things? And you follow behind me and clean up the mess I made?…..this really is too good for me to know!” And of course, Matthew 6:25-34 is full of promises that God will provide what we need. He says loud and clear, “Do not worry”. Comforting….but, the sceptic in me held the thought that maybe these were just words. I have come to know these promises are solid as rock, but at the time, I needed more. Seriously. I was considering leaving a well-paying job, with wife, young kids, retirement and college savings to consider… Dropping my income by at least 75%. Some thought I was nuts! So, God, in his clever way, gave me something more to focus on.
A clear focus on where I was headed and why brought victory over my fear. My steadfast focus: “Helping to free people financially so they could live the life they were meant to live.” When you are on a Life Mission, inspired by the God of the Universe, this thought rises up to the surface: “What else would I do?” Also, “Do I want to hear “Well done good and faithful servant” when that time comes”? He loves when we strive to reach our full potential for his kingdom.
I realized that life is too vital to sit in a self-inflicted prison, held hostage by some fear monster.
There were things that needed to be done. In particular, God had work to do in me. He wanted me to learn to trust him…then he could use me for greater things. These thoughts were overpowering. My fear monster (financial ruin) was no match for this one-two punch and it went down. And God succeeded in getting me to trust him. He provided beyond my wildest imagination. I am now ready for greater things. There are other monsters to slay. When you are on an adventure with God life is seldom dull. That’s just not who our God is. Stay tuned….
Your life is vital. The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. There are monsters to slay… Your adventure awaits.
Let me guide you to find your adventure. Check out my book, Unlock Your Life, 5 Steps and a Jump to Living the Adventure God Made You For