What’s holding you back?

I’ve been thinking about this recently and wondering: What’s holding me back? Back from pursuing one of my dreams…making it into a goal instead of merely a dream?

There are lots of answers I could give–quick and easy answers. But I’ve been trying to get deeper into that question, because it impacts not just that one situation but the way I approach much of life. Often I have thought that it is fear of failing. However, a quote from Nelson Mandela, used in his 1994 inaugural speech, has given me part of the answer.

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that frightens us most.

I think that often we sense the message that to think we can do something–and to acknowledge it–it somehow being conceited. But Mandela’s quote continues:

We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and famous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that people won’t feel insecure around you. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in all of us. And when we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

The last sentence of his quote triggered another thought in me as well. The leader of my faith tradition brought a message to our denomination a few years ago that contained these words:

Collectively and individually you are loved with an everlasting love that delights in each faithful step taken. God yearns to draw you close so that wounds may be healed, emptiness filled, and hope strengthened. Do not turn away in pride, fear or guilt from the One who seeks only the best for you and your loved ones. Come before your Eternal Creator with open minds and hearts and discover the blessings of the gospel anew. Be vulnerable to Divine grace. (bold added)

It’s not so much fear of whether I can do something or not…it’s fear of being vulnerable. What will others think of what I’m sharing? Will they like it? Will they think less of me?

I’ve gotten over some of that fear; I’ve finally been willing to show some of my poetry to people I trust. I’ve been willing to acknowledge some of my music that I’ve composed. Now I’m trying to gain enough courage to make all of that more public–to let others see it (and use it if they want).

I’m still nervous…still scared. But I’m working on becoming more vulnerable…mostly because I’m beginning to truly believe that it really doesn’t matter what others think of me. What’s important is what God thinks of me–and God loves me…completely and unconditionally.

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