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Don’t Let These Three Fears Drive Your Decisions

May 25, 2012

Remember the last time your response to a situation was based entirely on a spiritually grounded, selfless frame of reference, transcending ego-driven anxieties and fears for the sake of the greater good?

Neither can I.

I was speaking to a friend recently about better managing our spiritual selves in the midst of demanding work pressures, and how to avoid spiraling out emotionally. He said that people are generally driven by three fears:

1. Fear of losing what you have

2. Fear of not getting what you want.

3. Fear of being found out.

Now, take a little inventory of yourself, and tell me this isn’t true.

When you put it on paper like that and read it in black and white, well, it more or less makes us all look like paranoid psychopaths rather than the professional managers that we think we are. But there you have it.

I read recently that it is neurologically impossible for our brains to hold both fear and love at the same time. Like you can’t experience two emotional states at once. I don’t know if this is scientifically true, but it makes sense.

The point being, we have a choice.

Listen, we’re all a little paranoid. A little manic-depressive. A little narcissistic. We’re lopsided humans, that’s all, and our brains are wired to run to these dark, protective places when sensing a threat. The question is, though, are those situations that so captivate our thoughts really threats? Or just overblown drama stuffed between our little heads, the stories we tell ourselves?

We do have a choice in how to respond. This, by the way, is another thing that makes us human.

Rather than being driven by scarcity, how about seeing abundance?

Rather than trying to control every outcome, why not trust God’s infinite grace and mercy?

Rather than posing with power and significance, why not give in to who you really are?

It’s all there for the taking, folks. We have an infinitely loving, abundantly merciful God who has already given us everything we need to deal with what’s right in front of us.

So when we go into work today, let’s choose to act out of love, not fear.

That would be nice.

And I bet we’ll make better decisions, too.

Image thanks to Nance Davis.

21 Comments leave one →
  1. May 25, 2012 6:53 am

    Great questions… Weird, how deeply lodged fear–of different sorts–is: I’ve been mulling that from a different angle, but appreciate how it also affects the managing of our spiritual selves.

  2. pastordt permalink
    May 25, 2012 5:01 pm

    This is a gem of an essay, Bradley. One that needs posting over at THC, in my humble opinion. Thank you for it.

    • May 28, 2012 5:50 pm

      Thanks, Diane. I thought about it, and agree. You’ll see it over there a couple weeks from now. Thanks for the nudge.

      • pastordt permalink
        May 28, 2012 7:19 pm

        Good! And you’re welcome. :>)

    • June 12, 2012 10:29 am

      Agreed. And now it’s there! And here. And pretty much everywhere. 🙂

  3. May 26, 2012 1:17 am

    This leaves me with plenty to think about. Good post, bj. NIce to see the image here.

  4. May 26, 2012 3:48 pm

    The great thing, too, is that it’s God who gives us the grace and strength to make that choice. So ultimately it’s dependence on him.

  5. May 28, 2012 6:33 pm

    Choose love.

    It works as well at work as it does anywhere else. What an awesome post, Thanks!

  6. Dan Black on Leadership permalink
    May 29, 2012 11:28 pm

    Amen!!! Love conquerors all fear. Great post and thoughts.

  7. June 4, 2012 6:17 pm

    Great post Bradley, I can relate to the idea of “being found out”- although a real fear that many of us experience, we still have a choice to act out of love and courage. That’s where real “productivity” kicks in, when the inner work of personal growth trumps the fears that follow us.

  8. June 12, 2012 8:19 am

    As usual, you struck a chord with me here. I’m with Mike St. Pierre about fearing “being found out.” These days I’m so over extended, I get things done and cut waaaay too many corners in order to do so. Maybe that’s not such a bad thing, but I often fear that people will see the corners I cut and think badly of me.

    Odd how much perceptions matter to us, isn’t it?

  9. June 12, 2012 9:05 am

    Thanks for this post. It was one I needed to hear today!

  10. June 12, 2012 9:07 am

    I am blessed and grateful for your words. God bless you!

  11. June 12, 2012 9:08 am

    Sir Bradley, thanks for linking this from THC. I’m relieved to find that you think we’re all a little touched with paranoia and the lops (short for lopsided, ya know).

    And that bit about fear and love not being able to cohabitate is a new notion for me. Lots to think about here.


  12. S. Etole permalink
    June 12, 2012 10:24 am

    Is it possible the options you suggest might be what humility looks like?

  13. June 12, 2012 10:31 am

    I just read somewhere that what we’re all really afraid of is death. If we could get over that, the author said, we’d be much more willing to trust, to risk, and to love.

  14. June 12, 2012 10:54 am

    Yes – let us learn to choose love and may God help us to allow that love to chase all fear away.

    It sounds easy but becomes amazingly hard to walk out.

    Thanks for sharing these truths Bradley!

  15. valerie permalink
    June 12, 2012 1:27 pm

    Great words, really needed to hear this this morning!

  16. June 12, 2012 3:51 pm

    No. 3 kept me up last night. Then I realized there’s still time. It will mean making someone very mad, but the outcome will be more honest.

  17. June 13, 2012 7:29 am

    A timely post for me Bradley. Thank-you. I’ve been in the fear mode all too often in my professional life. At the moment, I have been able to walk in love and let go of insecurities and imaginations in my mind. But I know myself well enough to know that somewhere down the road the ‘three fears’ will try to rear their ugly head. And when they do… I shall remind myself of this post. 🙂

  18. June 13, 2012 9:44 pm

    Such a great post, Brad, but it’s the comments that are making it even richer for me. Thanks for stubbing this one up.

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