Tuesday, May 15, 2012

From Fear to Personal Power

My friend’s former roommate, Kerin, has some real problems. She’s unemployed, 2 months behind in the rent and constantly in fear of running into the landlord. The man she is dating has recently begun making excuses for why he can’t get together, and whenever Kerin talks to her mother on the phone, they argue. It seems as if nothing is going right for her, and she often laments how she hates her life.

Those of us who have to listen to Kerin’s tales of woe want to feel sorry for her, but she makes it difficult. The main reason is because Kerin isn’t doing anything to change her situation. She’s just crying about it.

One day, I sat down with Kerin and asked her what the problem was? Why was she going out late all the time and waking up late every day instead of looking for a job? Why was she not talking to both her boyfriend and mother anymore instead of trying to work things out? We sat there for a moment, silent tears streaming down Kerin’s face, and then she finally said, “I’m just so scared.”

Kerin had gotten to the point where she was afraid to deal with life. Too many things made her anxious, and she felt powerless to change her circumstances. It was as though the sky were falling. She didn’t have the confidence to do anything, and even if she did, she didn’t know who she was or what she wanted to do.

Many people seek to move from a place of fear to empowerment so I have outlined three steps to take you from fear to personal power:

1. Confront the fear. You have to look into the face of your fear and see it clearly for what it is. Just an obstacle in your path that you can handle. You don’t need to hide or feel ashamed or doubt yourself. You can approach any situation. Handle it the best you can, and that will be enough. Most situations are manageable. We just get afraid when we’ve never confronted them before, and we are not sure how to handle our experience. But, you can handle it. You will not die. You will simply learn, and more painfully, you will grow. If you want something, you go after it. No excuses. That’s no fear.

2. Decide what to do. You need a course of action, and it’s up to you to decide what that plan is going to look like. You should figure out the end results that you want, and then, when you have made your decision about what your future will look like, you start planning from the beginning. You see your destination and you learn to walk there. It’s kind of like being on a golf course and walking towards that 18th pin. When you tee off, you hit a nice, long straight drive down the fairway. Then, you walk to your ball. Now, you can see the pin. You hit another shot, walk to your ball and take aim again. When you reach the green, it’s time to go in for the kill. You putt the ball. It falls into the cup! It’s as though you knew what to do at every juncture, your steps took you in the right direction, and you were spot on with your instinct, your intuition.

3. Implement the plan. Now, it’s time to execute, to take action. You know what you want, and you aren’t afraid to go get it. It’s time to put the plan in motion. The first thing you do is take a step. One step leads to another and before you know it, something really exciting has happened. You don’t know where it will lead, but you have a good feeling that it will definitely lead somewhere that you would want to be. Now, you are one step closer to having the reality you envision in your mind and the feeling you crave in your heart. Take another step. And another. Repeat. That’s all wise action is is walking forwards with purpose and insight.

There will be hurdles though. There will be times when the road seems impassable. There will be times when the water is too high. There will be times when your spirit wants to quit. Or when it wants to fight. Through it all, embrace. Take it in and don’t let it hurt you. Nothing can hurt you if you don’t let it. Jump each hurdle as it comes in your path, and even if one knocks you down, get up and finish the race. One hurdle is not enough to keep you down. Keep running while breathing deep. Relax into the flow of movement. That is taking action. Relax and keep moving forward.

After the disciples healed in Jesus’ name, they were arrested and put in jail. When they were released, the disciples did not become afraid and go into recluse. Instead, the disciples became bold. They let their light shine. Bold means being courageous. It means being willing to give all of yourself without hesitation or self-doubt. It’s the action, the walking forward, the running, the flying that we are capable of when set in motion. To be bold is to live fully. The disciples were living fully when the Holy Spirit descended on them, and they became bold.

I pray that Kerin can learn to be bold. I pray that she stops feeling afraid and that she realizes she’s just as good of a person as everybody else. She has just as much to offer. Inside, she already knows what she has to do. Go back to school, but she’s hesitant to make the investment. Instead, she’s investing in nothing and squandering her life. These are precious years for us to be building. We can build up. We can build expansive. But growing is not optional; it is what we are here to do.

Let’s grow healthy. Let’s grow strong. Let’s move away from fear to people who own their power, and therefore, own their life.

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