I was journaling last week when I had a sudden moment of keen awareness of a trend in my life. I tend to adjust my expectations to avoid disappointment. In my hobbies, goals, and even interpersonal relationships, I see this common theme of setting low expectations to avoid potential undesired outcomes.
I adjust my health coaching goals to avoid failure, or disappointment. I adjust my expectations in my friendships to avoid feeling let down, or rejected. And I can adjust myself and my behavior to avoid stepping outside of God's will.
And that last one miiight sound a teensy bit wise, right? Sure, it's good to want to stay inside God's will! But sitting on my really-blue-but-has-a-brown-cover couch during the wee hours of last Friday's morning, it was as though I suddenly saw the clear underlying issue in all of these behavior patterns.
F E A R.
I adjust my goals out of fear of failure. I engage in friendship while simultaneously operating out of a fear of rejection. And I am constantly analyzing myself & whether I'm on the "right" path because I'm afraid of going the wrong way.
FEAR. FEAR. FEAR.
I tend to think of fear as this overpowering emotion that leaves you paralyzed and trembling in a corner. I thought it was easily identifiable, and didn't think it was something I struggled with.
It turns out, I was wrong.
I don't think fear in and of itself is bad, just like I don't think any emotion in and of itself is bad. But I do think that when an emotion becomes the driving and controlling force behind our behavior, it's dangerous.
My fear became louder than my God.
But luckily, my God is not afraid to get loud for His children to hear Him. ;)
Sitting on that couch, I felt God ask me a hopefully life-changing question.
If I operated out of trust, I would trust that my disappointments and failures would be used for God's glory. If I operated out of trust, I would trust that God's acceptance means far more than any rejection ever could. If I operated out of trust, I would trust that if I go the wrong way (when I go the wrong way?), God WILL redirect me.
It would literally alter every. single. area of my life.
Trusting God would enable me to trust myself, knowing that He is bigger than me and fully capable of leading me. Trusting God would enable me to trust others, knowing that I have nothing to lose with all my worth in Christ, and simply everything to gain from community & relationships.
Trusting God would make it impossible to operate out of fear. I truly believe that it's that simple.
Living it out? I'll be the first to admit, "not so much." But I'm on a quest to get there! To find this life that operates out of trust instead of fear. This life that doesn't hide from fear, but also is not controlled by it. This life that really, really lives out of the knowledge that God is trustworthy, and oh so good.
And that's where I'm at on this Monday. What's God got you chewing on?