How to Be Fearless

Shut Up and Jump

My oldest child joined a church youth group on a lake trip several years ago, and one of the activities they took part in was cliff diving, which required him to simply jump.

As he told me about the trip, he said that if any of the teens were hesitant about the dive, the group would yell: “Shut up and jump!” and in all things over the weekend, any fear was overcome with their friends telling them to “shut up and jump”.

Out of the mouths of babes! Brilliant!

Shut up and jump!

Like that brave group of teenagers standing and peering over the cliff and contemplating everything that could possibly go wrong if they decided to make the jump, 9 times out of 10, it is fear that holds us back and keeps us from being all that we believe we can be… or hope to be.

The fear of the unknown … or sometimes even the fear of the known, can leave us paralyzed.

Do any of these sentences sound familiar to something you’ve said to yourself?

“But what if it hurts?”
“But what if I embarrass myself?”
“But what if people laugh at me?”
“But what if it doesn’t work?”
“But what if its the wrong choice?”
“But what if it causes more people to notice me?”
“But what if people DON’T notice me. And I need them too!”
“But what if people think I’m a moron? Or an idiot? Or both?”
“But what if I fall flat on my face?”
“But what if I don’t succeed?”
“But what if I DO succeed?”
“But what if prove that I’m a failure?”
“But what if they wont accept me?”
“But what if I put myself out there and nobody responds?”
“But what if they reject me?”

. . . . should I continue or do you get the point?

And those are just the “But what’s” that came to mind right now. I don’t even want to think about how many others I could come up with if I just gave myself some time. It would be a lot. A lot, a lot! “But what if’s” run wild in my mind at all times. It’s like a free for all up there.

The fact of the matter is, we allow these sentences – these questions, to infiltrate our minds in a constant stream, rolling around and washing our brains in nothing more than negative thoughts and a fear of what might be.

What if we were able to reprogram our minds? What if instead asking “but what” questions, we replaced them with a new dialogue – one of ACTION rather than speculation. What if we just “shut up and jump”?

I have an assignment for you. Keep this post open, but open another tab in your Internet browser and go to http://www.flickr.com/. When you arrive there, search for the word “jump”. Tons of pictures will come up. I then want you to scroll through them.

How do you feel looking at the pictures? Do you notice a common theme?

Go on. . . I’ll wait.

Welcome back.

For me, when I looked at the pictures I couldn’t help but smile. There’s something about witnessing someone jump, that brings me joy. Look at the pictures again. Did you seen any where people were frowning while they jumped? Even jumping off a cliff, once the person does it, there’s an immediate sense of satisfaction and thrill – they can’t help but smile.

The pictures are active – of course, jumping is a verb. It is action. It requires the person to make a choice to move – to just “shut up and jump”.

 So, how do you overcome fear? By DOING what you’re afraid of.

You overcome fear by ignoring the “but what if” questions that literally fill your mind, and you tell yourself: “Shut up and jump”!

 So here you are, at a crossroads. Sitting back in contemplation about what to do, asking yourself all the “But What” questions. I have a suggestion for you . . .
“Shut up and Jump!”

Are You At the Point of No Return?

Too Comfortable and No Return
Don’t Be So Comfortable

We can be overly comfortable in a lot of things – our jobs, our marriages, our friends, our finances, the choices we make – it’s different for everyone. But the fact is we’re too comfortable and sometimes comfort isn’t a good thing.

What if that particular comfortable area of your life isn’t healthy? What if God has given you glimpses of truth but you’ve just refused to see? Or better yet, we’ve seen but chosen to stay?

Because it was comfortable.

A few years ago I was faced with this situation. God had opened my eyes to something on several different occasions but I kept shutting them right back and returning to where I was comfortable.
Now, I believe that God is incredibly loving and patient, but He finally reaches a point where He’s going to cause you to obey, even if you have to learn to do it the hard way. In this particular instance I had opened my eyes and walked away, but was contemplating a return to my place of comfort. You know what? God slapped me in the face! (Don’t you love it when He does that?) He flat out slapped me in the face with truth.

He did it through The Word.

I was driving down the street contemplating my return when I felt a nudge from the Lord to pull over and get out my Bible. I knew he meant business so I literally pulled the car into a parking lot, got out my bible and opened it.
Usually when I just open my bible and expect to get a word from the Lord, I end up in the old testament reading a story about someone being destroyed and then I spend all day worrying that God was trying to tell me that He was going to wipe me or my dream out! But in this particular instance I went to the New Testament (sigh of relief). I went to the story of Jesus healing a blind man.

I read the passage and said, “Thanks a lot, Lord. I’m not blind, that didn’t help me at all.”

“You’re not blind?” he returned.

“Not last time I checked, no.”

“Well, from what I can tell you’re blind as a bat.” (Again, my Lord and His sense of humor). “Open your eyes and read the story again.”

So, I did. I am going to retell it in the way that I digested it.

Stefne speak:

A blind man asks Jesus to heal him.
Jesus agrees and touches the man’s eyes.
“Do you now see?” Jesus asks.
“I see what seem to be trees walking around,” the man replies.
So Jesus touches His eyes again and again asks “Do you now see?”
“Yes!” the man replied.
Jesus places a condition on the man, “Now go home, but do not go back to the village.”
The man trots off and all is well with the world.

“There Lord. I read it,” I huffed.

“Read it again,” He instructed.

“What?”

“You’re still blind as a bat. Read – it – again.”

“Fine!”

This time I open my eyes and try to see what God is saying to me. (My thoughts will be in bold italics.)

A blind man asks Jesus to heal him. Evidently, I’m blind as a bat, so this applies to me. Jesus is talking to me. I am the blind man.
Jesus agrees and touches the man’s eyes. He has given me the opportunity to see the truth – to see clearly.
“Do you now see?” Jesus asks. In other words, “I’ve shown you time and time again. Do you NOW see?”
“I see what seems to be trees walking around,” the man replies. I’m beginning to see, but things are still foggy. I’m not sure that what I think I see is actually what I’m seeing. I’m still uncertain. I don’t trust my eyes.

So Jesus touches his eyes again. (He gives me the opportunity to see things clearly. In my case, maybe God allowed something else to happen that went against what I felt was acceptable and therefore validated that I was actually beginning to see clearly) and again asks, “Do you now see?” Stefne, do you NOW see? I have shown you time and time again – circumstance after circumstance – do you NOW see?”
“Yes!” the man replied.

My eyes are open to what is going on around me! I see clearly!!!!

Now Jesus places a condition on the man, “Now go home, but do not go back to the village.” Ex-squeeze me? I don’t get to go back to “the village”? But it’s what I know. It’s where I’ve been. It’s where I’m comfortable.
So God replies: “Where it is comfortable isn’t where I want you. I have opened your eyes and you have clearly seen. DO NOT GO BACK TO THE VILLAGE. DO NOT GO BACK TO THE PLACE YOU JUST LEFT. If you go back, your vision will again become fuzzy and eventually you will no longer see.
The man trots off and all is well with the world.

Okay, well I didn’t trot off and all wasn’t well with the world. What I actually did was call a friend who I call “my encourager” and told her about what had just happened. She was ecstatic that the Lord had revealed himself in such an amazing way!

Then, I called my husband (yes, I realize I should have called Shaun first) and told him. He was like, “Huh? I don’t get it.” So I retold the story to him until he finally got it and the realization also hit him that we were not to go back to “the village” (our place of comfort). What a revelation – and actually, in a weird sort of way, a HUGE relief!

What is your “village”?

In what area of your life are you too comfortable? Addiction? Unhealthy relationships? A job you need to leave? Not being willing to trust God and step out into something new He’s asking you to do? Control? Judgment? Your “village” can literally be anything!

Has God tried to open your eyes to see? Is your vision blurry? If so, ask Him to heal your eyes again.
Are your eyes open, yet you refuse to leave the village? Have you left the village but are contemplating a return?
Or are you simply at a point in your life where you don’t want your eyes to be opened? Maybe you want to stay in the “village” a little longer?

Be honest with yourself. If you aren’t seeing things clearly, it isn’t because God can’t open your eyes, it’s because you don’t want Him to.

Speaking as a woman who went through the painful experience of having her eyes opened (on more than one occasion and about more than one issue), it is well worth it! God wants you out of that comfort zone for a reason – He wants to do a work in you – but, He can’t do it if you won’t leave your “village”.

A Sad Reality

Photo by: Luke Chesser

For those that don’t know, I used to love politics. Political Science was my major in college and I was a staff member for Governor Frank Keating. For most of my adult life, I watched the news channels, watched the debates, listened to talk radio and gave my opinion to anyone that would listen. I thought that what I believed was right….

This post was updated. Go read the latest version here!