How Wet Are Your Pants?
2020 will go down in the history books as one of the most traumatic times in recent history. First, we experience a global pandemic that resulted in most of the world as we know it shutting down as stay at home orders were implemented, resulting in our economy teetering on the verge of collapse.
2020 will go down in the history books as one of the most traumatic times in recent history. First, we experience a global pandemic that resulted in most of the world as we know it shutting down as stay at home orders were implemented, resulting in our economy teetering on the verge of collapse. And before the enforced social distancing was fully eased, we found ourselves embroiled in a level of racial tension that has not been seen since the race riots of the 1960s. These are very uncertain times, unsettling times. There is so much stress and anxiety going on in the world because we are basically in uncharted waters. There’s no way to know what’s going to come out of this, what the long term effects will be. And so we are afraid, and it’s absolutely natural to feel fear. I would be lying to you if I said that I didn’t have some level of fear related to the current situation. But what is fear and how can we overcome it?
Let me share one of my favorite stories from business coach Dan Sullivan. Dan tells a story about the definitions of fear and courage. The story goes like this. Dan is in army boot camp, and his platoon is going to learn how to properly throw hand grenades. By some strange twist of fate, on the same day they are told about this training exercise, a young recruit in one of the other platoons was killed while doing the same drill. The next day when Dan and the rest of his platoon show up for the hand grenade training, the drill sergeant asks, “Hey, who here is afraid?” Of course, being macho, gung-ho recruits, no one raised their hand to say that they were afraid – except for Dan. Dan raises his hand and says, “Yeah, I’m afraid!” The drill sergeant says, “Good! Fear is good because this is an extremely dangerous situation, and fear is going to keep you on your toes.” The drill sergeant then went on to give his definition of fear. He said, “fear makes you wet your pants. And courage is doing the things you need to do with wet pants on.” Sure, we’re all experiencing fear during these uncertain times. We are all wetting our pants over things that have already happened and what may yet be to come. The question is, are we going to let that fear hold us back? Are we going to allow it freeze to us, or are we going to do the things that we know we need to do despite the fear? Will we choose to cower in fear or stand strong in the faith that we can weather this storm?
It is said that fear is the result of ignorance, and that faith comes out of knowledge. That we fear what we don’t know or understand, the things we can’t see. One reason we are afraid of the dark is that we can’t see what might be lurking in the shadows, and that lack of knowledge leads us to imagine that the worst things possible are surrounding us. But once the lights turn on, our fears disappear. And that is just how it is in life. When we are “in the dark” it is too easy to imagine the worst possible scenario. When we become “enlightened,” we can see that what we feared was only our imagination.
The Bible says that “faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen.” Regardless of your spiritual beliefs, I think that this is a great working definition. When you have faith in an outcome, you can act without hesitation, even when you face obstacles. And just like with fear, you don’t have to see things to believe them. But unlike fear, you choose to believe in the best-case scenario. Faith is not hope. Hope is a wish, a dream. Faith is a certainty. If you were skydiving would you jump out of a plane because you hoped the parachute would open, or because you had faith that it would? So while we can’t yet see the end of this madness, we must maintain faith in the human spirit. We must hold strong to the belief that we can and will come through these times stronger. That we will find solutions to heal the bodies and the hearts of our society.That we will prevail.
Faith and fear are matters of perspective. They are attitudes. You can’t have faith and be in a fearful state at the same time.
So choose faith over fear and do what must be done, no matter how wet your pants are.
“I would be lying to you if I said that I didn’t have some level of fear related to the current situation. But what is fear and how can we overcome it? “
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