Fear And Finding The Right Answer

Does there always have to be a right answer?

I’ve had a revealing week.

Monday began with a choice regarding the fund raising aspect of the bike ride project. I’m grateful for the feedback I received via comments, email, and personal conversation.

As I thought and prayed about this issue, I became clear that I was operating primarily from a position of fear. Maybe you’ll see yourself in some of these internal wrestling matches.

  • I feared disappointing those who offered to help if I didn’t follow their advice.
  • I feared appearing impulsive because I shared my ideas publically before they were fully developed.
  • I feared appearing insensitive if I decided to choose one organization and not the other.
  • I feared not appealing to the broadest possible audience, which is why I chose two causes in the first place.
  • I feared alienating those who might feel strongly about a cause I didn’t choose.

I state these in past tense, but that’s really not accurate. I still experience these fears. Fear doesn’t disappear just because I identify it. It’s still there, hiding in the shadows, and it’ll pounce at every opportunity.

You see the common thread, right? Fear of rejection, fear of what others might think or say. It’s the fear that some group, in some town I’ve never heard of, won’t invite me to speak if I make the wrong choice.

It’s silly when you say it aloud. You and I know that, and it doesn’t matter. The desire for acceptance, the need to be the popular kid, lives deep within many of us. Fear of rejection drives us to do a lot of crazy things.

I’m afraid of other stuff

If I make the wrong choice, the ride might collapse. Fear of failure.

If I reject a cause about which someone feels passionately, they might try to harm me. Crazier things have happened. Fear of retribution.

And on and on. You don’t even have to try—fears seem to multiply themselves.

And the revelation is…

…that I don’t have to choose based on fear. That doesn’t mean pretending they don’t exist. That’s denial, and it’s unhealthy.

It means confronting fear. I name them, face them, and refuse to allow them to dictate my action. There’s a lot of freedom in that.

My friend Scott offered this insight. He said that perhaps God leaves two doors open at times because He wants me to choose. I realized that God may not always care whether I pick A or B or A&B, but He cares a lot that I don’t decide based on fear.

My friend Dick Foth said something in a sermon that helped. Paraphrasing, he said that God will let you know if He has a specific direction for you. And if you don’t hear that sort of guidance, then trust Him and do whatever’s in front of you. He quoted Oswald Chambers, who was asked how to follow Jesus. “Trust God, and take the next step.”

Maybe that’s the lesson in this dilemma. Maybe there isn’t always a right answer. Maybe sometimes God opens two doors and says, “Both are fine. I’ll bless either one. All I ask is that you choose out of freedom and love. Don’t choose based on fear.”

I’m not certain about the “two doors” part, though it sounds right to me.

I’m pretty sure about the freedom and love and no-fear part.

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. 1 John 4:18

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Copyright 2010 by Rich Dixon, All Rights Reserved. Used by permission.

Rich is an author and speaker. He is the author of:

Relentless Grace: God’s Invitation To Give Hope Another Chance. Visit his web site www.relentlessgrace.com

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