In my understanding of how to embrace the struggle of life, I think we first need to consider what holds us back or what gets us stuck. I want to focus on just two emotions that have caused me to falter in my embrace of struggle; they are fear and worry. I am not talking about the type of fear that tells you, you may be in danger and to run; I have been in some pretty scary situations in my travels and on occasion have followed my instincts to run! I am talking about the fear that paralyses us into inactivity, a fear that tells us behind every corner something bad is waiting to happen to “us”, “me”. This type of thinking creates the mindset of being fearful as opposed to fearless.
I like this definition of worry-“a state of anxiety and uncertainty over actual or potential problems.” It assumes that “problems” are essentially bad or harmful. Definitely this type of thinking would lead to anxiety and a goal to avoid problems at all cost. The challenge is that problems in life are unavoidable and secondly their is much to learn and grow from problems. Developing a mindset that says, “how can I embrace this problem, and “how can I grow or learn from this event”, is a beginning point.
In my work in third world countries, fear and worry seem to be a constant and unwelcome companion. Here are just a few of the things that I battle in my attempt not to be fearful and worrisome;
-worry about corrupt governments-fear people won’t repay their loans-worry we won’t have enough money to pay the rent on our office space-fear of being kidnapped-worry that the plane may crash (this has happened)-worry about the illness of our staff (malaria is a problem-worry and fear about earthquakes, tornadoes, rainy seasons and the washing out of roads,-fear about an inability to provide for those who need help and the list can go on and on.
I must confess I do worry and at times and am fearful of what I may have to embrace every day and what may lie ahead, but I battle mentally the desire to give into fearfulness and worry. It is a mental game, a battle to take control of your thoughts, emotions and actions. Replace words like fearful with fearless. I remind myself over and over, “Embrace the struggle, “look at all of the things that you have learned”…. It is not that the thoughts of fear or worry have left you it is that you have replaced them with other words.
Two last thoughts, and these to me are the most important. For myself The Lending Journey, Hope and Faith have been our cornerstone and foundation for being fearless in the face of fear and finding peace in the midst of worry. We believe that their is a higher force in control of all things and that in the midst of our trials and challenges God has something great in store for us.