Fear is one of the most efficient wrecking balls there is to destroy the edifice of our self image. But fear is also the biggest destroyer of love. And you have to be able to love yourself and your dreams passionately to have the confidence to step forward and step out and grow. It only takes one person to reignite the flame of passionate love, if we're open to what that person says to us.
Paul and I saw a sweet little gem of a movie last night, "The One Hundred Foot Journey," about a young man from India who has a passionate, heart-felt desire to become a Chef because his mother long ago recognized his ability to love and appreciate food and encouraged him. The memory of her loving encouragement gives him the self-confidence to approach the one person who can help him fulfill his dream.
Strangely a book I just finished by Louise Penny, "The Long Way Home," makes the same point about being heart-felt about what we do: we may know techniques with our minds but the desire and ability to do anything well has to emanate from the passion in our hearts. And we have to overcome all fear and begin. Simply begin. One character remarks that there is nothing sadder than an empty canvas in an artist's studio.
There are people who know the mental gymnastics and techniques of "making friends and influencing people." But it takes people who truly love and appreciate people to create relationships and sports teams and companies and marriages that last and bear fruit. Creating relationships is a bedrock ability we all have if we can overcome the fear of being hurt and simply reach out.
What in life are you passionate about? What job or hobby or political or social concern calls to you and you simply ignore that call, shove it down into your subconscious, because you think you don't have the time, or you don't really have the talent, or it's impractical? But your heart knows deep down it's really fear of failure that's holding you back?
Believe me, if you have no passion, if you're bored with life, it's not life's fault. I'm blown away by news stories about the sheer ingenuity of people finding a special niche in life and filling it.
But you do have to have a realistic sense of what you are good at and what you aren't. I will never give a course on Practical Home-making; I just recently discovered that t.v. and fireplace remotes have batteries. Paul will never give a homily on being a patient driver; you don't want to see him at signals at big intersections, even if we're not really GOING anywhere.
And if you do try something new, don't let people's preconceived definitions of "success" discourage you. Be happy with what you're offering to the world. I read lots of blogging techniques articles that could make me think that I'm not successful at blogging unless I have a certain number of "hits each day. But I don't believe in playing the numbers game - with anything. All it takes is ONE person telling us that we've helped them, we've touched them, or comforted them, and we have done God's work.
We also should never avoid beginning something because we've compared the size of our gifts to others' gifts and found ourselves lacking. We don't have to be a Mozart to write a piece of music. Or a Van Gogh to paint a landscape, or a Billy Collins to write a poem. Or a world-famous Chef to cook a good steak, or Julia Child to make a killer pie. We simply have to use the amount of talent we have and be who we are.
In fact, who we are is exactly who God needs. After all, we don't always want to listen to Mozart. Sometimes it's the Beatles, or Shania Twain, or LL Cool J. Or we want and need the inspired goofiness of Weird Al Yankovic!
God isn't counting on you to be Abraham Lincoln, Salvador Dali, or the Dalai Lama. God's counting on you to be you. Are you remarkably you enough to come through for God?
"The Word of the Lord came to me thus: Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you, before you were born, I dedicated you..."(Jeremiah 1:5)