Daring Greatly: The War on Fear

I am currently in the middle of working on the two biggest papers of my life, pre-dissertation (which is why you might see less of me on here for the next couple of months). I can’t express the stress which weighs down on me trying to express the ideas and research which have been circling in my mind and heart for the last four years.

Each day is a struggle. Each day I am scared. Each day I have to force myself to work. Each day I have remind myself this is the path I am supposed to be. Each day I have to remember this is a marathon night a sprint.

In order to motivate myself I have been listening to Steven Pressfield’s War of Art and I want to use him to add to Allen’s thoughts on Brene Brown’s book.

Pressfield talks about how the creative life actually is a war, and the enemy is resistance.

Before I go any further, let me clarify what I mean by the “creative life” because some of us may stop right there assuming we are not creative. Since we have just spent a lot of time on vocation, this shouldn’t be a difficult leap.

Rob Bell in his “vocation” book says we all have a “blinking line.” We get to create our lives. Each day we set on the “creative task” of our work in the world and the kind of life we want to live. So the “creative life” is our vocation. It is the work we want to do in the world. It is moving in an intentional and particular direction and deciding the kinds of people we want to be.

fearPressfield says doing our work is the act of a warrior. And he uses the metaphor of warrior because it truly is life or death. We have an enemy who wants to kill the work we are doing: resistance. So each day we are in the arena as warriors, fighting with resistance.

I am not the kind of person who sees spiritual warfare at every turn, but Pressfield taps into something important. I love his image because it calls us back to the Genesis story. When God creates the world, God brings creation out of chaos, nothingness, “uncreation.” When we create or do our work in the world, we are co-creating with God and battling the “uncreation.”

Pressfield’s word for this is: Resistance. The force that wants to keep your work from happening. The force which would rather there be nothing than something.

And this resistance gets its power from fear. The more fear you have, the more resistance you will experience. Resistance’s primary weapon is fear.

But here’s the good news: John tells us the opposite of fear is love. Where there is fear, there is love. When we feel fear, we can recognize there is love also present which fear wants to keep us from seeing. The more fear we have, the more love there is available.

So when we feel fear and resistance, we know we are headed down the right path. Fear and resistance exist when we are heading down roads that really matter.

The work we want to do in the world may not overthrow governments or create great cultural shifts, but we can be assured when resistance and fear are present, we are on to something important, something vital.

Fear is present because it’s job is to resist love. So when we feel fear, we know tapping into something bigger than ourselves and trying to do our part to make the world more like the world God intended.

Nothing worthwhile comes without a fight or with some level of fear.

Overcoming fear is a warrior’s job. It is difficult and daily. It is something we have to do if we want to pursue anything meaningful in the world.

But doing the daily work of battling fear lets us know we are still in the arena. We are still moving forward. We are still fighting for life and life to the fullest. The battle with fear means we are doing something meaningful and important.

So we sit down, we do the work, and we know that when there is fear, there is always love. And where there is love, there is God.

Now leave me alone, I have some papers to write.

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