You may have experienced the loss of a loved one. It becomes more impacting if the deceased is a younger person whether a relation or acquaintance. The pain is exacerbated if you were unfortunate enough to have personally witnessed the tragedy as it was happening. Have you ever driven on the highway and stumbled on the scene of a fresh, fatal accident and you saw the casualties’ corpses laid by the roadside? How did that make you feel? It is not one of the most pleasant experiences. At such moments, the fear of death becomes so real. The next time you want to travel and the memory of what you witnessed comes flooding through your mind, your mind literally goes on overdrive and you are likely to begin to imagine that you could be the next victim. Sometimes, the thought could become so gnawing that it makes you unwilling to take a road trip without apprehension for a long time after that.
We all love to be loved. For this reason, we deliberately avoid places where we feel unwanted and unloved. The desire for admiration and affection is a natural proclivity for all human beings. One of the major causes of depression is the victim’s overwhelming feeling that those he loves don’t appreciate or reciprocate his sentiments. So, he shuts up and hardly opens up to anyone except those who show some semblance of understanding or identification with their predicament. The fear of loss of affection from those we hold in high esteem is a palpable one that can cripple initiative.
Fear of any type or description makes the ghost of our imagination come alive and become so magnified that it practically drowns out the beauty of our vision’s outcome. Someone has defined FEAR as false evidence appearing real. Fear simply makes the impossible become more real than the possible. By so doing, it paralyses initiative and creates doubt. Fear makes us doubt our capacity for achievement. Once that happens, we become lethargic and lose interest in our loftiest pursuits. In time, because of timidity and a feeling that we are unworthy of the greatness that we desire, we give up on our dreams and put paid to growth and advancement.
The creative spirit never thrives in an atmosphere of doubt. Nothing great has ever been achieved in an atmosphere of crippling doubt. Those who see themselves as Lilliputians on the inside can never develop an appetite for the diet of giants.
Freedom from our greatest fears is the beginning of liberty and self-confidence. Once we conquer a particular fear, it can no longer hold our greatness hostage. As I indicated last week, a strong connection with the Source of all things is the foundation of a solid identity-consciousness. Life truly begins when we can go beyond our fears and do the very thing that we dread.
Self-confidence inspires unusual boldness. This is manifested in words and in conduct. In the Bible, the story of a simple, rustic shepherd boy by the name of David is instructive. For a period of forty days, the Israeli army under the command of king Saul was petrified by their Philistine aggressors under the command of a giant named Goliath who was not only intimidating in stature but had a reputation for having been a warrior from his youth. This giant taunted the Israeli army for forty solid days without even the king being able to respond to his challenge. Then the young, seventeen-year old lad who had been sent by his father to deliver supplies to his elder brothers in the army showed up. He sized up the giant in the same way a lion would size up a buffalo, not thinking of its prey’s intimidating size but the size of its potential lunch. The more David sized up the giant, the greater the scope of victory that he saw. While the Israeli army saw Goliath as a threat, David saw him as a trophy! In a matter of minutes, the forty-day ‘King Kong’ was without his head, having been decapitated by a self-confident lad whom nobody had given a chance of success!
This is the difference between the timid leader and the self-confident leader. One looks at challenges, balks and stalls while the other simply says, “Bring it on!”. For the latter, the bigger the challenge, the bigger the celebration when it is surmounted. He does not see the problem, he is too focused on the possibilities and the outcomes that he is eager to set the process of confronting the limiting challenge in motion.
Before the time of Jesus, the Pharisees and the Sadducees had held the people bound in the fear of religion and legalism that made them feel unworthy of God’s attention and affection. When Jesus showed up on the scene and started addressing the same set of people, He exuded and inspired such a level of confidence that it was reported that his words were, unlike those of the religious leaders before Him, with authority and power and for that reason, the people were ever glad to hear Him speak. An interesting scenario illustrated this position. One day, after a long and tiresome ministry tour, He took a boat trip with His disciples. While they were in the middle of the sea, a storm arose. It was so fierce that it threatened their very lives. So much water was entering into the boat that the disciples were having a hard time keeping the water out. But Jesus was reclining in one corner of the boat and snoring away! Initially, the disciples did not bother Him because they knew he was tired. But then, they thought to themselves, “How could any normal person sleep in the midst of this turbulence?”. After a while, one of them had to go and wake Him up, pointedly asking Him why he was so insensitive and uncaring about the possibility of their peril. Jesus simply woke up, addressed the situation and pronto, there was a calm! The disciples were dumbfounded. Not being able grasp how He could sleep through a storm, He stoked their confusion further when He stilled the storm! They couldn’t help wondering what kind of man this was who could defy crisis and bring it under control with such confidence. This is the hallmark of self-confident leaders. They are not fazed by challenging situations. They are calm when others panic. Because they are always in control of their emotions, controlling the outer circumstances is hardly a problem.
Imagine your greatest challenge right now. Size it up. Now tell yourself, “With God on my side, I can do this.” Then brace up and take it on.
I see your troubles becoming your trophies!
Remember, the sky is not your limit, God is!