Category Archives: Fear

A Spade is a Spade

Hey, can we make an agreement together? As a group, can we start to stop something? (A real sentence I just wrote.)

Let’s do this: when we have a goal ahead of us, let’s get rid of the phrase “I don’t know how to do that.” Whatever your goal is, I’m done buying this excuse.

  • Change jobs or start a new business venture
  • File papers in a way that honors God
  • Build a client base who love the way you provide services to them and are willing to tell others about how great you are
  • Tell your co-worker about Jesus

Too complicated? Too difficult? You don’t know how to do that? Really?

Do you know how to use Google? Do you know how to call a friend? (Heck, you could even email me.)

I’m not buying that you don’t know what you are doing, or can’t figure it out.

No. Not too complicated. Not too obscure. More truthfully, it’s probably just too scary, uncomfortable, or painful—these, by the way, are totally valid reasons to not do something, but they are wholly different than “I don’t know how.”

The problem with saying “I don’t know how to do it” when you actually mean “I’m too scared to do it” is that you will spend all your time trying to fix the wrong problem and will never get closer to achieving what you set out to do.

Here’s the rub: properly diagnosing your roadblock is the critical first step to overcoming it.

So let’s call it what it is. I’m guessing that your goal, while probably scary and uncomfortable, is probably very simple when you drill right down to it. So let’s admit that we’re scared, not stupid.

What is something you “don’t know how to do”, but are actually afraid of?

Christian Kamiwaza

You should strive to be like the gods. Or maybe not. (Wait, what?)

In The Icarus Deception, Seth Godin writes about a Japanese term kamiwaza:

“Like most great words for which we have no equivalent, it is difficult to translate. The shortest version is “godlike.”

When we strip away self-doubt and artifice, when we embrace initiative and art, we are left with kamiwaza. The purity of doing it properly but without self-consciousness. The runner who competes with kamiwaza is running with purity, running properly, running as the gods would run.”

That statement is so close to correct, it’s almost painful. Isn’t it?

Kamiwaza isn’t something we should strive for… I mean, Adam and Eve wanted kamiwaza, to be like God, to be godlike, and it didn’t turn out so well.

So, no. Not kamiwaza. But Christian kamiwaza. (I’m not super original.)

Christian kamiwaza.

Like most ideas rooted in scripture, it’s simple to understand but difficult to master. The shortest version might be “as created.”

When we strip away self-doubt, artifice, and doubts of our Creator, when we embrace what we were created for, we are left with Christian kamiwaza. The purity of doing it properly but without self-consciousness. The runner who competes with Christian kamiwaza is running with purity, running properly, running as God created him to run.

What would Christian kamiwaza look like in your work, art, home life, friendships? You would be fearless, decisive, adept, skillful. You would be intentional. You would be humble. You would be free from the unnecessary restrictions of others or self.

You would be whole.

You would be as created.

Simple.

This is a simple idea.

Many times I complicate things to make them seem more legitimate. Do you do that too?

I’m afraid that a simple contribution will be too plain, too easy to overlook. Do you fear that too?

Simplicity can be scary, but unnecessary complexity is foolish. (I mean that in the biblical, super derogatory sense. (1))

Our lives and the things we do usually aren’t that complicated. That doesn’t mean they aren’t difficult or important.

What is something simple that you have made complex for the sake of self justification, perception, or appearance?

Be brave. Be simple.

Believers should be the best nurses for patients with the Ebola virus

Believers should be the best nurses for patients with the Ebola virus.

I mean, only the believer can walk into a life threatening situation and be totally calm and assured. The non-believer can’t say “to live is Christ, to die is gain.”

I know that’s just theoretical. I know it’s way easier to say it than to do it. But it’s the truth.

There are a lot of sad articles about how underprepared we are for Ebola. Articles about how the nurses treating the first US Ebola patient didn’t have the proper equipment or training. Now one of the nurses caught the virus.

Occupational hazard, maybe. But it’s still sad.

And it is news that would scare me if I was a nurse walking in to the room of an Ebola patient. But it shouldn’t.

There are those among us that have the calling to be nurses. Some have the calling to look an infectious disease in the eye and say, “yeah… to treat this virus is for Christ. I’ll endure this work. I’ll do what I’m called to do. I’ll honor God in treating this patient… and if I catch Ebola and die… well that’s my gain. That’s something I’ll look forward to because it hastens the day I get to see my creator.”

“To live is Christ, to die is gain.”

Some people are called to say that.

I get it though. Not easy.

It is, after all, a calling to say, “to live is Christ, to die is gain,” in the most literal sense possible. To choose to put yourself in danger of death. That’s a calling from God.

It’s not necessarily a higher calling, or a harder calling, or a special calling. It’s just a calling.

God calls us all to die in different ways. Maybe you’re a nurse and your call is to face literal death in the room of an infectious patient. If that’s your calling, I hope you’re obedient to it.

Maybe you’re not called to face death though. Maybe you’re the sole provider for a family and taking that risk would be disobedient. If that’s the case, then here is something I know to be true about you – you’re called to do something equally sacrificial with your life. I hope you’re obedient to it.

Think about that.

The call of the nurse to face infection is not different in function from your calling to provide for your family, make bricks in the factory, file reports for your client, sacrifice profit for faithfulness, live intentionally…

Our callings aren’t different in function, just different in form. Yours might not be as obvious or dramatic. But it’s there. Sometimes it’s a whisper, sometimes it’s a yell… but it’s always there:

“Come and die so that you might actually live.”

Jesus loves you. He doesn’t want you to miss or ignore your calling. So what is it?

Forgive Yourself

You must, oh dear beloved, forgive yourself.

You must forgive yourself for not being the fastest, strongest, smartest, or best dressed. You must forgive yourself for missing that deadline, breaking that program, failing those clients. Forgive yourself for not winning every promotion, negotiation, or sale.

You must also forgive yourself for the times when you were selfish or rude or hateful or disparaging. Forgive yourself for wounding others. Forgive yourself for your self-destruction, your self-inflicted wounds, your self-loathing moments.

Forgive yourself for being afraid.

Because through his son, the God of the Universe has already forgiven you. He has forgiven your weakness. He has forgiven your fear.

For you to refuse to forgive where God has already forgiven ignores his sacrifice. It denies his love. It adds back burdens that he has already removed.

But.

Don’t ever let yourself off the hook for not caring or not trying. Don’t forgive yourself for minimizing your shortcomings. Your failures, after all, do carry a great cost. You just don’t have to pay for them.


This was a scary post to write for me because the inspiration, structure, and some phrasing, comes from this secular blog post by Seth Godin. It’s important though, because as believers we have a reason to forgive ourselves. Non-believers don’t.