Tag: fearless

What to Do When Discouragement and Doubt are Winning

My “One Word” for this year is Stronger. Two years ago it was Fearless. Positive words, full of possibility and hutzpah.  I picture them hanging out on the street corner of my life like tough dudes yelling, “Bring it on suckas!”

West Side Story 1_0

But this week it was all West Side Story and Stronger and Fearless got into a rumble, roughed up by Discouragement and Doubt.

I’m guessing I’m not alone. If not this week, some week this has been your experience. And you slouch in the alley and say, “What the what?”

Maybe the the street gang of “not good enough” has been winning this week because you were sucked into the comparison game and came up short. Maybe you’ve experienced a set back in your goals, or you’ve just felt trampled by the insensitivity of others.

And maybe on top of it you beat yourself up too. If only I could…If only I did… Continue reading

One Word for a New Year

It’s New Year’s Eve day.  A day of goal-setting, resolutions, and One Word 365.  This is the third year I have decided to choose one word to focus on.  Call it “aspirational” or “anticipatory”.  If you’re considering this practice for 2015 here are some questions to ask as you pray about it:

  • What character quality do you think God wants to nurture in you?
  • What does your soul long for or what do you need?
  • What challenges do you think you’ll face in 2015 that might inform your word?

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4 Things to do When You’re Afraid of Snakes or Technology or…

Last year my One Word was Fearless.  Even if it wasn’t your “word”, it clearly struck a cord with many of you.

I’d really like to say, “Fear shmear!  Puh-lease!  We’ve dealt with you and we’re so done!  Shaking the fear dust off our feet!  Moving on!”

Unfortunately, like bad hair days and weeds, it can keep showing up.  What’s a current fear of yours?   Is it a risk in business?  A parenting decision?  A move or change? 

Recently as daughter Maggie was getting ready to head to northern Uganda she was researching snakes – a phobia we both share.

She texted me asking if I thought mace would deter a Black Mamba.  I said I thought it might just make him angrier.  Her husband, Austin did research and assured her that she’d have 20 minutes to find an antidote (in the middle of nowhere) before she died.  And then this:IMG_7102

So, she’s got that advice in her hip pocket.

But a fear of mine, not as dramatic as snakes, has been plaguing me recently – fear of technology.

Laura to technology is like the Cubs to baseball.  #Fail.  And I HATE making mistakes!

Recently it was creating and trying to figure out how to embed a survey that loomed large.  Now on the other side of it, I am trying to reflect on what I’m learning about facing fears, especially when I feel inadequate.  Here are a few of my learnings.  I’d love to hear yours!

1.  Study.  Like Maggie googling snakes in Africa, the more I can learn about something the better off I’ll be.  Frankly that’s a pain with technology because I’d prefer to have someone sit down and show me, but instead I had to google tutorials.  Still, it paid off.  Knowledge is power.  Or a tiny bit of courage.

2.  Ask, “What’s the worst thing that could happen?”  For me the worst that could happen did.  A wrong button was hit and those of you who subscribe received an empty post.  How humiliating!  (Again, I HATE appearing incompetent).  But was it as catastrophic as the apocalypse? No.  You guys are a forgiving lot and I dusted myself off and tried again.

3. Identify the benefits of failure.   Often the fear is worse than the thing itself.  There can be huge growth, relief, and pride on the other side of walking through our fears, even if temporary failure is part of the deal.

I don’t just fear technology, I basically hate it.  It’s detail-y and scienc-y and science is close to math and we all know I don’t do math, so it takes a tremendous amount of discipline to MAKE myself do any projects involving technology.  But that discipline pays off in learning new skills, and diminished fear for the future.

4.  Pray.  (You figure I had to put that one in, eh?).  Honestly my prayers regarding my fears are usually an inarticulate “Helpmehelpmehelpme!”.  I’m learning I’m better off if I pray scripture – either paying attention and praying for the character qualities of those in the Bible who face their fears – like Daniel, Joseph, and Nehemiah, or claiming God’s promises of His presence and guidance.

So, what’s a current fear of yours?  What are you learning?  



One Word and a Challenge

So it’s the first day of 2014.  Fresh start.  Leftover cookies are in the trash.  Cleaning and purging excess junk is on my “to do” list today.  The year stretches before us filled with possibilities.

I read back over my journal and reflected on my “one word” for 2013 – Fearless.  There’s nothing magic about prayerfully choosing a word to live into, to pay attention to and “fearless” was not the silver bullet for me.

I wrote that actually my year was more characterized by “undaunted” than “fearless”.  I prevailed more and feared less because God was present and empowering.  Running races, raising money for clean water, pursuing peace in personal relationships and internationally.  I truly believe none of this was possible apart from God.

So on to 2014.  My One Word for this year really should be “Cheater”.  I’ve prayed and reflected and pondered in my little heart of hearts, but I can’t play by the rules this year.  I’m going to be a cheater.  Or a rebel.  Rebel sounds edgier.

My “One Word” for 2014 is two words.  Or, “ChooseLife”, if you will.

Ok, you may think this is a sneaky way to do all of the things.  Or all of the words.  Maybe, but I don’t think so.

I believe God is calling me to focus on choosing

  • Activity over passivity
  • Treasure and truth over trash
  • Laughter and tears over apathy
  • Health over gluttony
  • Adventure over safety
  • Life-giving words over words of destruction
  • Redemption over regret
  • In vs. out on the sidelines

I believe this also ties into the theme of this blog – Awakening our souls…paying attention to  LIFE – the relationships, experiences, and practices God uses to form us into His likeness.

So, Fridays will be devoted to the sharing of ways we’ve found life in all it’s fullness.  Or totally tanked.  Or struggled somewhere in the middle.

Here’s my challenge for you today:  You are awesome.  I hear from many of you via email, text, fb message, or you speak to me to respond to posts.  I want to challenge you today to opt into this community of “Awakeners” and benefit from each other’s awesomeness.

Choose one word (Or cheat and choose two). One word that sums up who you want to be or how you want to live. One word that you can focus on every day, all year long.

Post a comment here – a word if you’ve chosen one, or your thoughts on this practice if not.

Commit to our Fridays of focusing on choosing life and paying attention to the work of God.

“This day I call the heavens and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses.  Now choose life, so that you and your children my live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to His voice, and hold fast to Him.  For the Lord is your life…” Deuteronomy 30:19-20

“The thief comes to steal, and kill, and destroy; I have come that they may have life and have it to the full.”  John 10:10

What I Learned About Being “Fearless” in 2013

The week between Christmas and New Year has always been a good time for reflection. So I’ve been thinking about my “One Word” for 2013 – Fearless.

Not that I saw myself as fearless, but I believed God wanted to grow me in that direction.  It didn’t feel like it was “mine”.  It was an aspirational word.  Kind of like “thin” will be an aspirational word my whole life.

There was the acknowledgement that “Fear not.” is the most common command in the Bible and that other command, “Follow me.” which usually involves risk and the F word, at least in my life.

Living with this “One Word” in 2013 helped me to pay attention.  Henry James, a novelist, writes “Try to be one of the people on whom nothing is lost.” This was my goal.

Not that it’s been a smooth ride.  I had a panic attack for the first time in my life.  And that’s not “me”.  At least that’s how my pride responds.

But I also took risks, and went public with a big goal that I felt was beyond my ability.

I think the biggest “fearless” lesson I learned came while I was running. And running.  And, you know… trying not to die. Continue reading

Fearless Fridays

Last week, with fear and trembling, I shared my One Word for 2013 – Fearless.

Ironic, I know.  But there are so many important, relevant, good words!  What if I got it wrong?  I really prayed about strong, brave, secure, equipped, enough… What if it feels to God like I’ve thrown down the gauntlet (where did that phrase come from?) and says “It’s on!” leading me into situations to stretch me uncomfortably?  What if this year just shows how fearless I’m not?

And then I remembered the two words fear always asks: “What if…” And I said “So what.”


I hope you’ll enter into this year-long adventure too.

I’ve loved hearing from you through email, text, and FB and I hope more of you will share your words here.  Some of your OneWords I’ve heard so far are Margin, Relinquish, Trust, Live, Content, Enjoy

So here’s what I’m thinking…We’re going to rename “Spirit Stretch Fridays” (You may not have even known that was a thing.  I’ve kind of dropped the ball).

From now on it’s gonna be Fearless Fridays.  I’ll be posting on different aspects of Fear because I think it’s a pretty universal challenge and is related to so many other challenges.  AND, I’m going to be asking some of you to send me guest posts about your experiences with your One Word.

Here’s my thought for the day around “Fearless”.

“Courage isn’t the absence of fear, it’s just deciding that fear isn’t calling the shots anymore” Bob Goff

Soooo…here we go!

Have a great Friday and consider sharing your word here if you haven’t!

The One Word that Might Change Your 2013

I’ve been reading and listening to boat loads of advice in the past two weeks on resolutions, goals, and all things to make the 2013 me stronger, more successful, and more godly (all with a flatter tummy of course).

You too?  Feeling a little overwhelmed?

Some advocate shorter term goals and then evaluation and refinement, instead of setting big year-long goals.  I like that.

Others suggest making a “stop” list.  Yeah, I like that too.

And others admonish us to start and end our goal-setting with prayer.  Yep.  Good word.

But the newish “in” thing seems to be choosing ONE WORD for the year.

Trashing a list of resolutions and instead focusing on one word, one word to live into with God for the year.

Continue reading

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