Doubt is always hanging around telling me all the excuses why I can’t do something. “Oh, you don’t want to attempt to run 100 miles in one shot. You’ve got weak knees, you’ve never done anything like this.” Doubt comes up with every reason why not to try something and then when you’re in the midst of it comes up with every sane reason to stop doing it. Doubt is a pretty lousy friend because Doubt can’t encourage me to do great things, only give every reason why it’s not a good idea. Fear, on the other hand, doesn’t so much speak as draw pictures. Every time I decide I’m going to attempt something great, even things I’m actually pretty talented at, Fear shows up and paints a picture of a result that isn’t really something I would enjoy doing. Fear showed up as I lost weight constantly painting a picture of me getting hurt running and gaining all the weight back when I am rehabbing the injury. When I had to have ear surgery and couldn’t run for six weeks Fear was like a constant companion painting pictures of my waistline expanding again and my ear never healing enough to go for a run. Fear was there showing me how my ear drum was going to burst and my brains were going to leak out the massive hole if I dared go running again after surgery. Fear is like that artist you see at museums where you just want to go “yuck” but you hang out trying to figure out the value of that particular piece of art hanging out in an art museum. Fear paints pictures you can’t get out of your head and paints pictures like plane crashes and you splattered all over the side of the mountain.
Neither one of these friends is going to help us draw closer to who we could become. So why carry them at all? I think we carry them mostly because they’re comfortable. They’re like that easy chair we can just sink into and let the cares and worries of this life just sort of fade away. Doubt and Fear are two companions that don’t seem to get us closer to becoming who we were made to be but they are so comfortable because they allow us to justify why we don’t attempt great things.
Until we do. The moment we step out and decide that no matter what these two jokers are saying or painting in our mind, we are going to go out and attempt great things becomes the moment it gets harder to hear their voices and see the pictures they’re painting in our minds. Doubt and Fear cannot exist in the same atmosphere as Faith and Courage.
As I run further and further and attempt great things in my everyday life my two lifelong friends, Doubt and Fear seem to be shrinking in their influence over me. Sure, they are still there but their voices are not as strong. I believe that one day I will be a great author and speaker, able to encourage people to also be less influenced by Doubt and Fear. However, I’m able to become the person I was created to be I am having to embrace new friends. With new friends come other challenges.
I know this intimately because a couple of years ago my wife and I relocated. We left the place where we had spent twenty-six years together with seven of those overseas in Central Asia but always with this place that had great friends and great fellowship with a base. When we decided to relocate, we knew it was for our best but nevertheless it was incredibly difficult. The biggest reason is because when you relocate every single person whose voice is familiar and for the most part encouraging and uplifting is gone. And now you have to try and find new voices that won’t tear you down, that will lift you up and help you find a place. You have to open yourself up once again and learn to relate to new people in new ways in a new environment with all kinds of old cliques in place that feel like you are beating on a door that just won’t seem to open.
When you relocate like this Doubt and Fear seem to loom large and it would be so easy to just open the door and let them in so they can take their jello shots or whatever drink of the day they seem to have and begin to tell you why it isn’t worth it to attempt great things again.