Dream Boldly

“Why are you scared to dream of god when it’s salvation that you want?” — Conor Oberst (American singer and song writer)

I’ve been thinking a lot this week about fear and what it does to people. Fear is a basic emotion. It can be experienced as a response to perceived danger or risk, or it may be expressed as a response to something disliked. What fear is “not” is the place we are to dwell. Living in fear is not the Creator’s plan for any of us.

In fact, scripture has plenty to say about not being fearful. There are at least 365 references to living without fear–one for every day of the year. A couple of my favorite passages are from Deuteronomy and Psalms:

Be strong, be bold, don’t be afraid or frightened of them, for Adonai your God is going with you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you. –Deuteronomy 31:6 (CJB)

Adonai is my light and salvation;

whom do I need to fear?

Adonai is the stronghold of my life;

of whom should I be afraid? Psalm 27:1 (CJB)

I think for some folks fear is a crutch to keep them from dreaming boldly and from believing fully. I remember Macbeth’s words to his wife from Shakespeare’s timeless play of the same name “If we should fail?” (1.7.58) Of course they are plotting mayhem and murder to ensure Macbeth’s rise to power, not brave, bold thanks-living. But still, fear cripples Macbeth as surely as it does any human–for good or ill intent.

Fear can keep you from experiencing deep, satisfying relationships. Fear can prevent you from taking risks that will lead to amazing rewards (both tangible and intangible). Fear can stifle creativity and prevent you from reaching your potential. Fear can keep you from being generous and sharing.  Fear can prevent you from flying and achieving your wildest dreams. In short, fear can lead to inept decisions that keep a person small, selfish, and short-sighted.

So on this second day of 2013, I wish you a year without fear. Just let it go. Refuse to give fear power over you, your emotions, and your actions. Let go of fear and see what the Creator of the Universe can work in and through you. Trust me, you’ll be glad you did!


How has fear prevented you from achieving something you wanted or dreamed about?

What one thing are you afraid of that you can let go in 2013?

How can you release your fear and harness your hopeful dreams of God’s goodness and mercy?

Photo by Martin Finch. Thanks!

The End of the Beginning Leads to…

…another beginning!

Yes, the first week of 2012 is drawing to a close, marking the end of the beginning of the new year. Beginnings and endings are really two sides of the same coin; you can’t have one without the other. It is only when we recognize that an ending is never truly the end that we can anticipate the beginning that is to come. That’s not to say that endings are without pain. Pain is a part of this beautiful, broken world in which we live. Yet pain can lead to growth and new life.

I think of the Creator breathing and speaking all that is into being and then allowing humankind to steward it. Talk about pain! We must cause GOD great pain when we abuse or ignore one another, when we plunder the land, rivers, and seas, and when we take for granted the many gifts we have been given through no merit of our own. Yet the Creator remains with us, promising never to forsake us, offering new beginnings again and again and again.

When Moses, leader of Israel, transferred leadership to Joshua, he spoke these words of hope and promise to the people, reminding them that every ending leads to a new beginning:

Be strong and bold; have no fear or dread of them, because it is the LORD your GOD who goes with you; he will not fail you or forsake you. — Deuteronomy 31:6

No matter what this first week of 2012 has brought you–joy, hope, delight, pain, regret, or a combination thereof–tomorrow a new day dawns bringing a fresh start and a new beginning. Be ready to seize the day. Be ready for a new opportunity for “thanks-living.”

For Further Reflection

Think about the verse above from Deuteronomy. If possible take time to read Moses’ entire message  to the people and Joshua (Genesis 29:2 – 31:8). Reflect on the beginnings and endings you have experienced so far in your life. Are you able to see a pattern of how new things have sprung from old ones, how pain has brought you to a place of newness and joy? We cannot divine the future. We can live only in the present. We can only understand by looking backwards. Give thanks to God for endings and beginnings. Resolve to make the second week of this new year another week of walking in thanks, joy, and the grace of God. That, dear friends, is the heart of thanks-living.

Photos by Fillmore Photography and Sam Howzit used under Creative Commons License. Thanks!