There are few things in this wide and wonderful world, more powerful, more influential, or more impressionable… than fear. That paralyzing fear of failure. That crippling terror of feeling “not good enough.” The haunting dread, the debilitating doubt, and the torturous anxiety of feeling incapable, inadequate, and weak. Fear; a dictator ruling over our decisions. Fear; a manipulator overriding our thoughts. Fear; an unwelcome advisor convincing us to accept a false reality. Too often we fall for its tantrums, accept its lies, and submit to its suggestions. How did fear become the ruler of our lives? We’ve perfected the finer points of procrastination and avoidance. Sometimes we prefer settling for mere survival rather than striving for our true potential. Fear did that to us. When did this start? And when will it stop? Fear has fooled us all into believing that we never could, never are, and never will be. But fear doesn’t have the last word, you do; and one thing more powerful, more influential, and more impressionable than fear… is hope.
Hope awakens in us a discovery of what it means to be safe, secure, and sustained. Hope is the steady and abiding reassurance that goodness still exists. Hope reminds us that our future is safe to enter, and that we can and must continue on without despair. Hope rests with God in the clarity of His divine perspective, both within your life and within the world. He has you taken care of. Your life rests within His omnipresent gaze. The source of your fear is no match for your God. He will prevail, He will subdue, and He will conquer any trial or tragedy that has you imprisoned. There is hope in the Lord who made heaven and earth.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” –Jeremiah 29:11
“So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” –2 Corinthians 4:16-18
“For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.” –Romans 8:24-25
“Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.” –Romans 12:12
“For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” –Romans 15:4
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” –Romans 15:13
“I met my husband at the mall. We don’t have some romantic story of being high school sweethearts. We won’t ever be able to say that we were introduced by mutual friends, or that we met at church camp when we were 15. There were no mysterious drinks sent from across a crowded bar. Nope. I was selling clothes, and he was selling shoes, and one day I bought him a cookie. It was just that simple.
“I remember how I felt the first time I saw him. I thought he was adorable. He was quiet, and I was outgoing enough for the both of us. But looking back on what I know of him now, he made quite an effort to match my enthusiasm. (This was a hard feat even back then.) But seriously, my heart raced when I was around him. I made nervous comments, and did a bunch of awkward things that I wish I could take back, but all are a part of our story now.
“I remember falling in love with him. I remember exactly how it felt. It felt like the first time I ever saw a high-def TV. I know that’s probably the most random comparison, but everything seemed so much clearer, brighter, better around him. I didn’t remember what life was like before we met, and I really didn’t want to know what life would be like without him … “
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I encourage you to brave the uncertainties that beg your attention. Consider those frightfully beautiful pursuits that invite your trust and await your reply. That promising risk. That daring hope. Cultivate an intrigue for all that could be. Allow this potpourri of possibility to inspire in you that necessary recklessness to hush even the loudest fear of failure. Take this moment to notice everything your heart esteems worthwhile to risk defeat for. With devotion such as this, could there be any doubt as to your next course of action? Come what may, you have found something worth jeopardizing your pride for. Come what may, you have found something you deem more valuable to you than self-interest. In the end, whether you happen upon relief or collide with defeat, you have loved something, and that is worthwhile.