Updated: Oct 24, 2020
Warning: The Church Girl is talking.
Recently I had a worry that I was not up to a task. That thought hit hard and brought up all the old 'top hits' from Michele's collection: "Uh oh, you've been found out and now you're in trouble" (imposter syndrome), and "I told you not to try that, now look what happened." (scared little girl). "This time I thought it would work (but I knew it wouldn't)" (hope deferred).
These records started to play even though I am a woman of faith, a coach, and an entrepreneur. We all get hit at times with what could happen and the inner recordings you listen to will often shape your outer responses if you aren't careful. When those records started to play, my inclination was to find a corner and cry. Then I heard a question in my heart: "What do you think it means to walk by faith?"
"Walk by faith" is one of those phrases so common to us church folk that we recite it without thinking about what it means. The actual verse reads: "For we walk by faith, not by sight." (2 Cor. 5:7) The challenge here is to move based on what you know instead of what you see/feel. Sometimes you don't see anything. Sometimes you see just the opposite of what you are walking towards. We must commit to keep moving towards what faith points to, despite what we see, or do not see.
So here are some "acts of faith" that will keep you moving during discouragement, fear and the inner questioning that happens inside of us sometimes:
Determine who is speaking inside your head. The first song that played for me was the one that says, "You've been faking and eventually someone will find out that you can't do any of the stuff you said you could." The imposter syndrome is a BIG subject, but in this case explore whether you feel ill-equipped for what you are doing? Have you studied and prepared? Have you allowed outward circumstances to shake your resolve to be all that you know you can be? If you need to do some extra prepping to build your confidence do that. But remember it is a faith walk which means what you see won't always immediately agree with what you believe.
Recognize fear for what it is. Trying something new can be intimidating. Trying something new when everything outside of you says, "You're going to fail!" is even more scary. Some of you in this pandemic have found your backs against the wall. You cannot go backward because that way is closed. You must move ahead but you have never done it before. What must you do? MOVE! Joyce Meyer wrote a book some years ago entitled, "Do It Afraid: Obeying God In The Face of Fear." While I am told there are 365 "Fear Nots" in the Bible, you can still be terrified at the thought of doing something you have not done before. If you are to be all that God created you to be, you must start walking, even if you are scared.
Face Disappointment: I think sometimes we minimize the effect disappointment can have on our hearts. "I tried already and when it didn't work, I almost lost everything," may be what your heart is saying. God understands the effect disappointment can have on us all. Consider this: "Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a dream fulfilled is a tree of life." (Proverbs 13:12). It can seem especially cruel when your heart is sick because of disappointment over and over again, and a new idea or opportunity comes to 'get those hopes up again.' In a sense it would be easier to just pull to covers over your head and say, "Nope. Mediocre will work for me just fine. I'm done hoping." Could those be the words of a heart that is sick? If we look at the second part of the passage, though, there is a dream connected to that heart. When that dream is fulfilled, life comes alive again in a tree that produces even more. So wipe your tears and do it again. And again. And again. Until you see the bud of a tree.
Michele Aikens is CEO and Lead Coach of Sepia Prime Communications & Coaching, and the convener of the BOLD Move Event.