Research shows adults who have significant phobias are those who never took excessive risks as kids.
Why is this?
Because the kids who climbed to the top of the tree, started fires or spend their nights wandering alone through the woods had faced their fears and won. Even those who fell out of the tree, burnt their hands or suffered a few spooks and scares knew they’d faced the worst possible outcome – and survived.
Their fear is gone because they’ve experienced the worst-case scenario.
They know life continued despite their pain.
“By engaging in risky play, children are effectively subjecting themselves to a form of exposure therapy, in which they force themselves to do the thing they’re afraid of in order to overcome their fear. But if they never go through that process, the fear can turn into a phobia.”
– Hanna Rosin, based on a study by Ellen Sandseter
When we have worry, anxiety, and an indistinguishable fear of the future, more often than not it’s simply a fear of the unknown. You “might” lose your job tomorrow. Someone you love “might” be in a car accident or get hurt in another way. The love of your life “might” leave you.
[Tweet “You’re not afraid of specific scenarios, you’re afraid you won’t be able to handle them.”]
Anyone who’s been through a traumatic breakup knows it’s something they can survive. No, it’s not fun. But it’s something they’ve gotten through before and can get through again.
Anyone who’s been fired or laid off knows there will be another job.
Maybe not immediately and maybe not exactly as they’d intended, but job loss is something you can survive.
Anyone who’s lost a loved one knows this is an unimaginable pain, but it doesn’t have to steal your joy for the rest of your life. Your life continues to go on, and there are blessings in every day.
Next time you’re worried about the future, think about the absolute worst outcome that could come from the situation.
You could walk into work tomorrow and immediately be let go.
I love the scene in “Up in the Air” when George Clooney and Anna Kendrick are firing J.K. Simmons, and Clooney talks to Simmons about his dream.
Simmons’ character always wanted to go to culinary school, but his job was so stable, he couldn’t bring himself to quit. Clooney’s character explains this is his opportunity to reignite that dream.
“You have an opportunity. This is a rebirth.”
Yes, it sucks to lose your job. Yes, things are going to be tight for a while and sacrifices have to be made.
But God brings beauty from the ashes.
I’m not just saying that, either.
Growing up, my dad always worked in advertising. I’m not sure if you know anything about the advertising industry, or the job market for a high-level executive in Dallas during the early 2000’s, but it hasn’t been good.
Throughout my life, my father has been unemployed more often than he’s had a steady job.
Not because he isn’t talented and not because he isn’t an exceptional employee. But because God’s always had a bigger plan than the company he was working for at that moment.
Find your passion. Chase your dreams. There’s nothing stopping you.
And, more likely than not, you won’t walk into work tomorrow and lose your job.
You’ll have spent an entire day’s energy worrying about an outcome that didn’t come to fruition.
You were grumpy with your wife, short with your kids and went to sleep with tight shoulders and a stomachache over a scenario that came to pass.
Isn’t that a lot of wasted energy?
“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” – Matthew 6:34
I know it’s not as simple as “stop worrying,” but life is going to throw a lot of crap your way.
Chances are, the crap you’re given is only 1/10th as bad as the crap you’ve spent all day worrying over.
Even if that bad thing does happen, you’ll survive. You’ll find new opportunities. You’ll grow stronger for the experience. And the next time you’re in the same position, you’ll realize there’s no reason to worry or to be afraid.
You’ve already fallen out of the tree, and the worst thing to come of it was a broken arm. You survived.
And you’ll survive next time.
Photo Credit: Candida.Performa
What’s your biggest worry? Is there anxiety in your life you haven’t surrendered to God? Leave a comment letting me know of a time God was faithful against your biggest fear!
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