My two biggest fears are;
1.) Not having sufficient emotional abundance and availability to really be helpful on that level to those who are closest to me, primarily my wife and possible children in the future.
2.) Getting stuck at a level, personally, professionally, and spiritually that is well below my potential.
Why these thoughts occurred to me the other day, I do not recall. However, it is possible that the Holy Spirit is prompting me to work through these two areas of concern, so, bear with me.
Regarding the first concern, not having sufficient emotional abundance and availability to really be helpful on that level to those who are closest to me, primarily my wife and possible children in the future:
The principle at work here is that you can’t give what you don’t have. The solution: get it.
I have heard a saying that ‘hurt people, hurt people’. The important consideration here is that the closer someone is to you, the more they will experience what’s inside you. Once you get beyond a certain level of intimacy, there is no faking or hiding, and if there is an attempt at faking or hiding, that process itself becomes a hurtful dysfunction. I must be thorough in uncovering old and deep hurts, because after becoming aware of them is easier to overcome them.
Another key solution is to press in with God, and into fellowship with trustworthy members of His body. Actually, consistency in this arena has been the number one contributor to me overcoming many old hurts, habits, and insecurities. The direct guidance of the Holy Spirit to me personally, as well as the counsel of other trustworthy people, continually sheds light leading to greater awareness, which then leads to emotional fortitude and strengthening. About three years ago, God told me during prayer time at a local Bible study, “even the inaccessible things.” This was, and is, a promise about God breaking open deep frustrations that I could not see or verbalize, an unseen and elusive enemy that had certain parts of my soul in chains; a captivity of blindness and an inability to speak out. That’s what the word inaccessible meant: even those mysterious things that enslave you, the light of God will reach even those things, so that you will be able to see them, describe them, and overcome them.
Yet another key to having emotional abundance that is sufficient to reach those who are closest to you, is to develop focus in your life. I believe that the path toward focus is this: to structure your life such that with each passing week, or year, or month, you are doing more of the things that God designed you for, and less of the things that He didn’t, according to your current level of discernment about what your giftings are. That might sound really complicated, but it actually starts with small things like eliminating the clutter of seldom-used things from your home. Another building block is to intentionally plan blank times in your schedule to rest and think. If I can at all make it work, Saturday morning is a favorite of mine, which is all the more possible during these could winter months. I am a morning person, so basically what I am doing is giving the best of my day to this process of getting quiet and bringing some order, peace, focus, and purpose to my personal world. If evening is when you are the sharpest, do it then. Don’t fight your wiring, leverage it.
Regarding having focus in life, a counselor once shared John 15:2, which says, in part, “…He prunes every branch that produces fruit so that it will produce more fruit.” This is a scripture I claim for this part of my life. There are many things that could be done, they might even be good things, but they are not necessarily meant for you to be doing. Thus, the more you prune it down to the things that are most precisely meant for you, the more fruit your efforts will produce. The more focused you are, the less you will have to exhaust yourself pursuing a multitude of less suitable things, and the more you will have to give in other areas of your life, such as your close relationships.
Finding focus is also a key solution for my other biggest fear;
Getting stuck at a level, personally, professionally, and spiritually that is well below my potential.
This is an easy one to fret over. And I could fret endlessly because the target is nebulous. Half of the trouble here is not the object that I am concerned about (being satisfactorily fruitful with the gifts I have been given), but how the concern is constructed (trying define my level of success using parameters that are not well defined).
The logic of this fear aside, my best gains regarding the usual measurements of personal success, such as income level, occupation, material possessions, and so forth, have been made organically, via mostly the same solutions I that suggested for getting better emotionally, because the ability to do, comes from the ability to be. I have a lot more to say about fear number one because, as I look at it now, God has been building a strong foundation of being for me. Up to this point, His guidance has been more heavily weighted toward how I am, than what I do, because how I am is the foundation which determines not only what I do, but the value of what I do.
Other solutions for success:
- I believe that consistency and focus are the two main things to aim for regarding personal success: consistently making choices that line up with your convictions, and continually pruning your efforts down to the ones that are the most profitable for you, based on your God-given design.
- I mentioned in the first section about being emotionally healthy, the need for constructive fellowship, and that is just one way to be learning continually. Find ways to be put useful information into your head on a regular basis.
- Step outside of your comfort zone. This often has to do with relating to other people. Start a conversation you would normally start. The behavior will be beneficial as an exercise even if the conversation doesn’t seem to be very fruitful.
- If there isn’t some part of your life that feels uncomfortable or overwhelming right now, then you might not being growing very much or very fast, if at all. You need to be a rookie at something at all times. It feels really difficult, but it is a necessity of progress.
What if you had to name one to three of your biggest fears or anxieties? In order to narrow it down, ask yourself, what anxieties tend to be dominant and recurring in your mind?