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The Battle of Fear and Faith

By Karen Wright

I was watching Brad Pitt's movie Money Ball last night and realized something as I watched him struggle with the hard spot he was in - then after a time, he simply delcared, "Okay" and got up and took action. You could tell he was dealing with his own sense of purpose and self-confidence. But, he found his way out of the mess and made a decision that propelled him forward.

It struck me that for quite some time now, I've not made a definitive decision for my life path. I've weighed options and taken steps in several different directions, but when it really came down to it, I stopped short of making a real decision. So, I circled around the issue frozen in the oppositional pull of competing possibilities - and I stayed stuck. There may be nothing more demoralizing and painful than not making a decision.

I know this stuff. I've taught it many times. The hard part of any decision is in not making it, not in its consequences. Once the decision is made, life flows again and either you come to the outcome you wanted or you don't. But, at least you find out! Not making a decision might feel safe, but it is indeed the the most treacherous place of all.

It's time I stop pretending to dance with options and weigh my possibilities and hope that one will magically reveal my true path. My true path is what I choose, plain and simple. There is no wrong choice - with maybe the exception of making NO choice. Every choice is a step forward and with that step we learn more that will make the next step clearer.

How do you make a decision? You just do. There are no logical processes or rational models to substitute for pure courage, faith, and trust. That's what this life is all about. Choosing and acting on your choice. And then choosing again. It's impossible for me to choose wrong or live my life wrong. There is no correct way that someone has already outlined for how to live my life. It's my life - one that has never been lived before. It's my choice - and mine alone.

Years ago I had a recurring dream. It began as I stood with my toes on the edge of a cliff. The valley below was so deep I could not see its bottom. Just an open abyss. From behind me a disembodied voice gently urged, "Jump." Fear clutched my throat and I cried out, "No, I'll die."

"You'll be fine," the voice assured, "Nothing bad will happen." Still not convinced, I clung to my fear and refused to jump. But, then I held one tentative foot out over the chasm and then somehow stepped out with the other foot - suspended in mid-air. I did not fall; there was no sense of danger. Just peace.

The next moment I was again atop the cliff; but this time it was I who encouraged another to jump. There's no mistaking that it was my much wiser spiritual Self encouraging my fearful physical self.

I had that dream 10 or more times 1987. The year my marriage ended, I almost declared bankruptcy, and my friends and options seemed to have vanished. Jump. I did. And I lived.

So, here I am again. Cowering at the edge of the cliff; pretending that my fear is bigger than my dream. Doubting myself again while life ticks by. What the hell can happen? Will I die if I replace fear with faith? Not likely. What am I waiting for? Someone else's A-Okay? It's MY toes on that cliff, not theirs. And it's no one's decision but mine.

It's tiring pretending to be weak. God didn't make weak people. It's time I grow up and tell the truth - this cycle is at an end. Whatever the consequences may be, I choose to live, not wait to die.

Yea, I know you've heard all this from me before. More than once. And talk is cheap. But, there's a core of disgust in my belly that's not been there before. Or maybe it's conviction. The two emotions often feed one another.

Today I put my ACTION plan where my mouth is. I've wanted to move to Portland, Oregon for quite some time and I'll be there by June! Not yet sure how that will happen or where the work will come from, but someone once told me that 'how' isn't my job. Knowing WHY and WHAT is my role.

When the why is strong enough, the how shows up. I'm counting on the promise that the universe/God responds to clarity and conviction. I'll step forward in faith and let my desires be heard. I'll be supported; I always have been. I just temporarily forgot.

Karen is author of The Sequoia Seed: Remembering the Truth of Who You Are, a great read for anyone who is seeking understanding or guidance, inspiration or clarity in his or her life.
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