For the six years since my husband and I founded Abante International, we have engaged several young people, helping them to think outside the box when it comes to their education, ministry, or future career. Some, I have to say, get it. They understand that the world looks beautiful from afar, but in order to enjoy its beauty, sometimes one needs to get out of ones comfort zone. The catch is that sometimes what we view as gorgeous and peaceful, once up close and personal, is not as it seemed, or as it was once imagined. This could be true in some cases, however, we won’t know unless we try first, right?
Here’s the thing; some people are dreamers while others are doers. Some play it safe, while others take risks. Of course, there is nothing wrong with dreaming, as there is nothing wrong with playing it safe. I must admit, I tend to dream big, but seldom execute what I envision. I am also guilty of often (not always, but often) playing it safe. I suppose fear and lack of confidence has something to do with that. We want the world, but we are not willing to pay a high price to get it. This is a challenge that many adults face, but by far the age group mostly affected is the college age group.
In the book of Isaiah, the prophet shares how God feels about this topic:
Isaiah 55:8English Standard Version (ESV) 8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.
In other words, what if that mountain we must climb, will help us build enough endurance to face whatever is on the other side? What if the unknown is not a bad thing? What if all the things we worry about, have already been provided before we even get there? The point is, we don’t know. Unfortunately, we do not see the big picture. We are simply going by what we think might happen, what we think might go wrong, but what if we are wrong? Have you ever stop to think about that?
me encourage you to get out of your comfort zone and live life a little. Get out there and experience the world. See other lands, meet other people, build new and challenging relationships, start that new project, go for that promotion, and get to know who you really are and how you really feel about yourself and others, including how you feel about your faith. Math was always a difficult subject for me, however, I didn’t shy away from signing up to take more Math courses in college. Why? Because I knew it was important, and that it would help me in the future. Guess what? In order to get my degree in Vocal performance, I had to take music theory. Do you know what Music Theory is all about? Math! I disliked the one thing I needed, to get me where I would end up eventually. So, there you have it. You are going to have to set your fears and lack of confidence aside, and embrace the mystery of what God has prepared for you in order to live fully. Is it scary to move forward into the unknown? of course! however, that should not stop anybody.
The Minds Tools team (https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newTCS_06.htm) has a great article about Thought Awareness, Rational Thinking, and Positive Thinking. In it they talk about how “Quite often, the way we feel about a situation comes from our perception of it. Often that perception is right, but sometimes it isn’t.”.
They encourage people to use affirmations in order to overcome the fear of what’s ahead.
- Feelings of inadequacy: “I am well-trained for this. I have the experience, the tools, and the resources that I need. I have thought-through and prepared for all possible issues. I can do a really good job.”
- Worries about performance: “I have researched and planned well for this, and I thoroughly understand the problem. I have the time, resources and help that I need. I am well prepared to do an excellent job.”
- Problems with issues outside your control: “We have thought about everything that might reasonably happen, and have planned how we can handle all likely contingencies. Everyone is ready to help where necessary. We are very well placed to react flexibly and effectively to unusual events.”
- Worry about other people’s reaction: “I am well-prepared and am doing the best I can. Fair people will respect this. I will rise above any unfair criticism in a mature and professional way.”
The also offer this practical tip for us to think on:
If you find it difficult to look at your negative thoughts objectively, imagine that you are your best friend or a respected coach or mentor. Look at the list of negative thoughts. Imagine that they were written down by someone you were giving objective advice to, and think about how you’d challenge these thoughts.
Finally, I want to encourage you to remember that when all else fails, God is bigger, stronger, and wise-He knows how to take care of what’s ahead. Trust Him!