Fearless and Focused: P&P Part 3

Posted: April 3, 2012 in Passion and Purpose
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Welcome to part three of Passion and Purpose. For the companion workbook, click here.

Please take the the “Where Am I Today?” Quiz if you have not done so already.

Your personality and past play a part in whether you tend toward frustration or fear in your pursuit of your calling. Some of us, like myself, tend toward frustration. We are generally the type to forge ahead without fearing what may come. We usually get easily excited and sometimes don’t look before we leap. Our strength is that we treat fear as though it is a game. Sure we have some fears like anyone, but we tend to treat them as we should, not very seriously. Our weakness may be that we lack the discipline to keep going after the excitement fades, to sharpen our skills until they shine, or to build a solid character.

Others are more like my husband who naturally tends toward fear. These people approach life with more caution. They tend to be a little tentative when talking about their dreams. It’s not that they don’t have dreams, but they need a little more attention and coaxing to find out what they have inside. These people often get overlooked because they don’t flash their gifts for attention. However, amazing gifts are lying often untapped inside these people. They take the time to hone their skills. They are patient and reliable.

Regardless of which weakness you may lean toward, it is good to be aware of it, so that you can conquer it. Though personalities may lean toward these weaknesses, this assessment is no personality test. This test is meant to clue you in on any fears or frustrations you may have inside so that you can throw them off and run, without fear or frustration, the race marked out for you. If you landed in the fearful and frustrated column, you have a little more soul searching and prayer to do. If you landed in the fearless and focused quadrant, you may just be ready to get going on partnering with others for the next steps. If you land somewhere in the middle, don’t get confused or think you are hopelessly flawed. I would just suggest answering the questions for all quadrants, except possibly, the fearless and focused quadrant. Remember, the point is not to peg you, but to lead you to the answers that will uncover what is inside your heart. I challenge you to answer every question honestly before God. Don’t rush the process. Questions can lead to understanding and understanding can lead to freedom. The best insights you will gain from this process is most likely the insights you and God will have together as you take this journey.

We all could use a little more detail on the finish line. It helps us run our race with more passion. So, what exactly will be accomplished if I move from Fear to Fearlessness? First of all, fearless people cover more ground. You have heard of, or maybe even met, one of those relentless salespeople that are not deterred by rejection. They just keep going door to door, phone number to phone number, handshake to handshake, believing that if they keep going, someone will surely hear what they have to say. Rejection is not appealing to any of us, but the ones who have learned the secret of ignoring their fears of rejection have something extremely valuable. Robert Kiosaki brilliantly asserts that those who are the most successful are also the most rejected. Think about it: politicians, actors, artists, people who take a stand. We see them as high and mighty, but think of the times they were denied, the times they were criticized, the level of scrutiny they constantly endure. Living a fearless life means that we are able to accept rejection as a natural part of life.

The amazing thing for believers is that we are always accepted by Someone. That Someone counteracts all the other little someones. So we take ground, we move at an accelerated rate, we take our losses in stride, we apologize when necessary and move on. Don’t get stuck in fear. When you start treating your fears as they are– less than you have blown them up to be, you may just find them retreating into oblivion. Like Joyce Meyer says, “Do it afraid.” Pretty soon you will no longer be afraid.

Fear has to do with punishment. God is not trying to punish you. Jesus took the punishment once for all. God is not like our earthly dads. No matter how great your dad was, our Heavenly Dad is far better! You cannot dream big dreams when you are afraid of God punishing you. Any time he even corrects you, it is because he wants what is best for you. And you may just have to take my word on this, but what is best for you is also something you’re gonna love! He created you. He loves you. Why would a God like this do any less for his kids?

Bible Characters who modeled Fearlessness: Jacob, Joshua, Caleb, David, Peter

So on the other side of this coin, is moving from Frustration to Focus. Some of us run around trying to expand our territory, but we don’t take time to sharpen our swords. This is where we need patience with ourselves. No, we might not get that paying guitar gig after two lessons, or even twenty. We cannot grow weary and give up in the pursuit of true excellence. If we are too lazy or unteachable, we end up in the trap of mediocrity. If we are too uptight and impatient with ourselves we end up in the trap of perfectionistic thinking. Neither paths get us to excellence, to the point where we are excelling in any sphere of life. Down these two dead end paths, we land at the same place, hopelessly limited. Here is a chart on how I am defining the pursuit of excellence versus perfectionism.

Link to Perfectionism Chart

Let me remind you that God is perfection itself, but his brand of perfection looks very different from our man-contrived perfection. So keep in mind, I am using this word in a negative sense, though I understand there is a positive way to use this word. The pursuit of excellence is really our acknowledgement that we are us and God is God. It seeks to incorporate an aspect of God in all that we do, in all that we are.

Focus is important on our journey to a destination. The closer you get to your destination, the more accurate your aim needs to be. So when you are exploring your options, you may be a little all over the map. But if you never get serious and get focused, you could end up like the perpetual college student. Focus is about knowing the things in your life that you are saying yes to and knowing the things that you are saying no to. Do you know that time is your only limited commodity? Usually we think of money as our only limited resource, but money can be made. Time exists in a fixed state. We can rearrange anything we want in those blocks of time, but the blocks never change. When you realize the control you have in the investment of your time, you will realize that you can stay focused if you are desperate for the results.

Both fears and frustrations will come, but it is what we do with them that counts. Don’t take your fears too seriously, at least not seriously enough to keep you from risk. And don’t get so frustrated that you quit prematurely. Don’t feed your frustration with laziness, perfectionistic attitudes, or a lack of self control. There is always a sense of slight frustration when you learn something new, but the joy that is waiting on the other side of the frustration is worth it. Whether it is learning a new skill, learning a new truth, or finally gaining freedom in a character flaw, hold on and press through to the other side!

Bible Characters who had Focus: Moses, Nehemiah, Solomon, Paul

Did you start your journey like a Gideon, who doesn’t know your purpose until God lays it in your lap through circumstance? Or are you more like Jacob who wrestles for the blessing? Look back at your chart. I’m guessing that Gideon was more on the fear side and Jacob on the frustrated side. It’s good to know that Gideon did not stay in fear and Jacob did not stay frustrated forever.

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