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.

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It was this: Just stay in this one mile.  Trust God for courage in this one mile.  Even this one step.  Be present to Him in this.  Talk to Him in this, and He will provide courage in this one step so you can take one more step.  One more mile.

We may not be fearless in the face of all the things, but if we can hold God’s hand through

this one hard conversation,

this night of black-hole loneliness,

this painful hour when we feel crushed,

this day of bill-paying or job-searching, or sobriety-striving…

it will add up.

We are not fearless, but God is.  And if we can’t trust Him for all of it, maybe we can trust Him for a minute, or a mile.

Here are a few more lessons I’ve learned as I prayed to grow into this word, Fearless:

  1. “Jesus is in the business of making braver people, not safer situations.” Gary Haugen
  2. God often sees more in us than we see in ourselves.
  3. “God most often likes to meet you outside the circle of your control.” Stephen Furtick
  4. Looking around (comparison) breeds fear.  Looking up and in breeds courage.
  5. “God’s dream for you is bigger than a second-hand faith.”  Mark Batterson.  But first-hand faith requires risk.
  6. “God isn’t surprised when we fail, He’s surprised when we quit. We’re not our successes or failures, we’re His.” Bob Goff

Lastly, everyone needs a team.  Prayers, encouragers, coaches, truth-tellers, run-alongsiders.  I’m so grateful for my team.

What was your One Word this year and what have you learned?  Are you choosing a “one word” for 2014?

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7 Comments

  1. I’ve always struggled with being paralyzed by the comments/criticisms of others. I can’t let things “roll off my back”. I stew; I over-analyze; I retreat. My priest tells me that’s basically a lack of faith; that I don’t trust God that He has me where He wants me interacting with those He’s placed in my path for my growth. So I guess I choose “humility” this year. Not “thinking less of myself”, but “thinking about myself less”, and therefore freeing up more time to focus on God.

  2. I just wanted to thank you, Laura for your beautifully written, authentic affirmations throughout the year that we are not the only souls trying to be more like Jesus while we slog through our mess. You have translated our insecurities and short-comings into words, with humor and grace, which has helped us to get up on our puppy dog hind legs, to paraphrase Anne Lamott, and just keep trying. May The Lord help you feel as loved up as you are, so you can keep blessing us with your postings! Happy New Year!

  3. Carol Cherne Konigson

    December 31, 2013 at 12:29 PM

    What beautiful thoughts both Katie and Marcia shared. I echo them.
    Laura, whenever I would see your “fearless” Friday posts, I would separate fearless into
    fear less. In a year filled with personal fear, your blog has been a hope, sanctuary and guidepost for me. I think I am now beginning to fear less. My word for 2014 is “re”. Not a word in and of itself, but powerful to me in the sense of what it can mean. A time to “re”member and be “re”newed by my “re”deemer. A “re”turn to the self God created me to be, only (hopefully) wiser and more grounded in Him.
    Thank you so much for the tender way you guide us.
    Carol

    • Yes, Carol!!! Fear less is the perfect way to rephrase it! I’m so, so thankful you’ve found the blog encouraging. I know what a grueling journey you’re on. Know that you have company and cheerleaders here!. Also, I love your “word” for 2014. Praying it for you now and adding “re”freshment for you.

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