Tag Archives: growth

Traveling Through Fear

What’s it like three month after your first great dream officially ends and you’re wondering what comes next?

There’s a lot. Much of it very good, some of it very difficult. (And I want to share the difficult parts with you as well. Why? Click here.)

I’ll tell you about one challenge I’m struggling with right now.

Fear.

It’s probably the reason why my twitter feed has dried up, my newsletter keeps getting pushed to the back burner, and why I haven’t posted very much here recently.

It’s the fear that comes from the stress of the several major transitions and the million little ones that I’m in the midst of right now.

It’s the fear that comes from having sent out several inquiries out into the wind, ones that could make a big difference for my life, and not having any control over what happens next.

It’s the fear that comes from knowing the career that I had assiduously built for the last fifteen years (that’s half my life!) is gone and that a good part of my next one will likely involve stocking grocery shelves. (I find myself saying, “Grocery stores! I’m 31! I have a Masters Degree! I’ve planted a church! I don’t stock grocery shelves! Yes, I clearly have some major issues to work through with this.)

It’s the fear of that I will not discover what I want to do next, followed by the much more intense fear that I will discover what I want to do next, but no one will care when I try.

It’s not all the time. There are days when I’m hopeful and excited for the future. However, there are also other days when so much as opening my laptop seems too much to handle.

Here’s the hard truth:

There’s no magical spiritual jujitsu, where, through the perfect combination of positive thoughts (I can do it!), the right opportunities (and then, just as I realized I could do it, that amazing job opportunity came through!), and the right affirmations, (and then, that person who always thought I was a miserable failure called me up to say how they were wrong, I am amazing, and how I had a great future in store for me!), I can wrestle my fear to the ground and beat the living crap out of it.

Maybe there are people who have such incredibly relentless resilience that, after getting knocked to the ground, they can spring back up, cheerfully dust themselves off, and leap into the next thing.

However, for mere mortals, like me, there are no easy answers.

All I’ve learned so far is this: the only way to get to the other side of my fear is to go through it, and trust there’s something good on the other side.

And that process sucks.

That’s the best I think any of us can do: travel through our fear day by day, grabbing onto every inch of progress, and trusting (or at least acting as if we trust) that something better lies at the other end.

I know that it will get easier. Decisions will get made. Doors will open (or close.) Life will get easier.

Until then, keeping going is the best that I (or any of us) can do.

 

Wisdom Wednesdays

“Above all, trust in the slow work of God. We are quite naturally impatient in everything to reach the end without delay. We would like to skip the intermediate stages. We are impatient of being on the way to something unknown, something new. And yet, it is the law of all progress that it is made by passing through some stages of instability — ​and that it may take a very long time.”

– Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (hat tip: Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals)

Wisdom Wednesdays

“Years ago, someone told me that humility is central to the spiritual life. That made sense to me: I was proud to think of myself as humble! But this person did not tell me that the path to humility, for some of us at least, goes through humiliation, where we are brought low, rendered powerless, stripped of pretenses and defenses, and left feeling fraudulent, empty, and useless- a humiliation that allows us to regrow our loves from the ground up, from the humus of common ground.” – Parker Palmer, Let Your Life Speak