In one word, a primary theme for me in 2011 was fear and overcoming mine. Perhaps there are some for whom fear is not much of an issue. I don’t seem to know too many of them. And I’m not one myself. Fear has always been a deep struggle for me. It’s probably good, as someone has counted, that the word to “fear not” occurs 365 times in the Bible. I need at least that many reminders.
As 2011 began, a counselor with whom I’ve been working towards greater emotional freedom and wholeness gave me an assignment: make ten cold calls related to my ministry. I was to call ten pastors, Christian leaders, whoever, and share with them what I do and, in a sense, offer my services. For many of my friends in business, especially sales, this is something they might well do daily. But it was a new and, honestly, terrifying idea.
This assignment exposed the roots of some of my deepest fears about being valued (or rejected). It exposed my anxieties about being an imposition or irritation to someone else who didn’t know me. I didn’t want to waste anybody’s time. It caused my self-doubts and low confidence to be exposed. I agreed to make these calls by the end of January. It took me all the way until the last few days of the month to make the last of the ten.
What did I learn? You probably won’t be surprised.
I need the Lord to keep reminding me to “fear not” because fear continues to be a very present challenge. I’d love to go around feeling courageous and carefree all the time. I don’t. But I keep discovering that moving through these fears is becoming a doorway into a deeper experience of the love and grace of God for me.
Join the Conversation
What fear do you find resurfacing in your life or ministry along the journey?
How is the Lord inviting you to join Him in pressing through it into some new experience of His love and grace?
Alan Fadling serves as Executive Director of The Leadership Institute in Orange, CA, training Christian leaders to integrate spiritual formation and leadership development. He serves as a frequent speaker and consultant and is the author of An Unhurried Life (IVP, 2013). He is a certified spiritual director living in Mission Viejo, California, with his wife Gem, and their three sons.