Fearless Living, Fearless Leading

fear notWashing dishes at a friend’s house last night after a lovely dinner, I was struck with a thought, a question, really, that I then turned and posed to my wife and friends. I asked them, “If I could lead us all out of fear what couldn’t we do? How would each of us respond to each other and to the world around us if we were completely fearless?” Okay, it was a downer of a question and every sense of frivolity and lightness fled the room. None of us had a great answer. After an awkward moment of silence, my beautiful, amazing, and dry-witted wife quipped, “Well, who died and made YOU Jesus?”

Since that moment I’ve been thinking about what really could happen if we just lost our fears instead of our car keys or our reading glasses. Wouldn’t we respond very differently than we do now to threats of economic hardship, terrorism, and even to our spouses and loved ones? I think we would. I think if we could develop a stronger belief in Jesus’ work for us and dig a lot deeper into what that means for us on a practical level, we would lead very different lives altogether. Perhaps we would lead lives like God fully intends for us to lead. Fearless lives. Child-of-God kind of lives.

For one thing, all competition would cease. We would realize that God has already anticipated every need we could ever have and has already provided for them. We would stop hedging our bets on getting what we need from Him and from the world around us, abandoning every temptation to manipulate anyone in any way for any thing. We would pray with confidence. We would love unconditionally. We would move from the “competitive mind” to the “creative mind.” We would become extreme givers, never takers. We would overwhelm the people around us with the kind of Spirit power rarely seen since The Book of Acts.

Our leadership would change, too. Transparency would be the norm. A compassionate kind of listening would become the hallmark of our husbanding, our parenting, and our ministries. People would flock to follow us because they would feel validated for being who they are, not just feeling used by us for their talents or dollars. If we were truly fearless, we could look someone deeply in their eyes and say, “Darling, I’m here for you” and mean it from the essence of our being. We would, in short, make the fearless kingdom of God in all that it means come to bear in very tangible expressions all around us. Life would come alive again.

No one died and made me Jesus.

But Jesus has entrusted me with leadership abilities with which to lead others toward all that He died to give us. Freedom from fear – all of it – is ours in Jesus. Best I can tell, Jesus said,”Fear not” about 15 times as recorded in the Gospels. Seems to me once would have been sufficient if we could only do it.

What kind of leader can you become if you begin to take steps, even small ones, toward eradicating fear from your life and ministry? How would that affect your leadership, the planning, the praying, the interactions with the people you lead? Are you ready for what fearless living and fearless leading will do?

 

Identity Theft

My problem is that, wherever I go, there I am.

I take all of me with me everywhere I go. Try as I might, I just can’t seem to leave parts of me behind, especially the parts I don’t like and would rather live without. Wouldn’t it be convenient if we could lop off negative experiences and leave them back in, say, 1967 or 1972? What if we could just exercise our will to not think like we’ve ever thought or to not act like we always seem to act?

The forgiveness of sins is one thing. The habitual patterns we seem to carry with us–negativity, fearfulness, anxiety–are another thing. SO, if we must carry who we are with us always (and we must), how will we live with ourselves? I think the secret is Colossians 3:3, “For you have died and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.”

Transformation doesn’t seem to happen all at once like BOOM or KAPOW, but a little at a time. Maybe realizing more that whatever I am, sins and all, is hidden in Christ can make the daily stuff a little easier to manage. Maybe realizing a little more that what I consider worth being anxious over today is nothing, literally nothing, to God could help me be a little more okay with myself.

In the end, I must fight to hold onto my identity as a hidden one in Christ.