It’s the mid-90s and I’m walking home from school with have that sickly feeling deep inside my stomach because I’ve got to report to my parents that I’ve got another detention. Each step makes me more worried – all I’m thinking about is how horrible the experience will be. I reach the front door, get a hug from my mum and tell her the news. She’s annoyed, but then she asks about the rest of my day. Drama over. And I realise just how easy it is to worry unnecessarily.
I’m an ideas guy; I’ve spent my time coaching my friends towards their dreams, consulting to companies in a marketing and innovation capacity and most recently launched a new way for people to see the change they make in the world. But chasing dreams always carries a truck-load of risk. Everything could go wrong, and yet among the things I find keeping me steady is that lesson about panic I learned back in the 90s. Here are my four guardrails for sticking with dreams in times of uncertainty.
Distinguish between fear and concern. Fear isn’t part of who we are. Paul told us that in his follow-up letter to Timothy. We have a spirit of power, love and self-discipline. But it’s not easy. When negative situations arise, we feel knocked off course and as though we’re hurtling out of orbit. But that’s when I kick on my faith thrusters to let God plot a course through. It’s not about ignoring the issue. It’s about clocking it, then treating it with the word of God. I find that by declaring God’s promises to us over these situations, I feel a calmness about them. It’s surreal. It lets me be conscious of the threat, but also allows me be even more conscious of the power and promises of God and His supremacy over everything the world can throw at me. But in those time,s when I don’t have the wherewithal to activate faith on my own – and those times definitely do happen – I have friends on standby to turn on my faith thrusters for me, by reminding me of God’s protection and steering me from fear to prayerful concern.
I believe that God’s got my back. Paul said it best in his letter to Rome when he said: “All things work out for good for those that love the Lord”. This verse serves me like a safety net. It’s a faith parachute that allows me to start a company using all my savings, take a £10,000 loan and prayerfully hope for God’s best. Because if the company doesn’t work out, but I’m acting obediently, I haven’t lost. I have the honour of living out God’s purpose for my life. And the amount of times that God has come through for me are too many to count. Earlier this year when the money had run out, an amazing contract came out of the blue, followed by two investors to see the company through. The prophets, the apostles and even Jesus had uncomfortable situations they had to handle, but recorded in Matthew 11:30 is the assurance to us from Jesus that our burden is light. I might think that what I’m going through is insurmountable, but according to the Bible, that’s just my perception. I need to get a God perspective on what’s happening and for me that comes through reading or vocalising truths about God. So when I try something new, I do so trusting that whatever the eventuality, God’s got my back.
I know that disappointment is only a temporary state of mind. Disappointment is normal, but what I can’t let happen is for that fear of failure to hold me captive, preventing me from stepping out in faith to live life to its fullest and use the passion, talents and network God has given me to bring more of his presence to earth. Emotions pass. They take time and they take healing, but I know that with time, love and encouragement I’m able to get through everything. So that’s why if the only thing I’m putting at risk are my emotions for a small period of time, it’s worth jumping into what God has in store for me.
God has more ambition for me than I do. His plans are epic. I have no idea what route He’ll take to get us there. So it means that when I feel like things are looking large, it’s probably because I’m getting a glimpse of the God’s eye view. I mean, He made the universe. That’s a lot. He rolls on an interstellar level. Who knows what he has in store for each of us.
Buckle up, strap on your faith goggles, charge up your prayer intercom – you’re in for the ride of your life.