Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Fear is not always lack of faith

I spent most of the weekend at ARCNA, the Arizona region's NA convention. It was awesome. We had great speakers, I saw many of my friends who have moved to different areas of the Valley of the Sun yet all manage to make the convention. It was time to recharge my batteries and lunch with the women in my sponsorship family.

During lunch, I met a young gal who lives in the West Valley who moved here from Washington. She works for a business where she is being asked to take on more human resource (HR) duties and feels a little intimidated.

I happen to have a lot of experience and a professional designation in HR, so I asked her what her hesitancy was. It seemed to me that fear and uncertainty were holding her back in her career progression.

Fear in our lives can be many things. It can be our body's warning system, telling us, "Beware! Something is not right here! Proceed with caution!" That is healthy fear.

Fear may be simply a feeling of being overwhelmed. I know while I waited for the decision on my liver transplant and grew progressively sicker with each passing day, I often felt extreme fear. I finally got to that point where I took the first three steps thoroughly and said, "Okay, God, I have no idea what your plan is, but I don't think I'm finished here." I let God guide me as best I could with extreme brain fog caused by advanced liver disease.

Fear may be lack of faith. I once had a major job in the Bay Area, responsible for managing a $60M budget. When I realized what I had gotten myself into, I was paralyzed. I talked to my brother, who was much wiser than me in spiritual matters (and many other things). He reminded me that any decision I make based in fear, like whether to leave a job or stay, would probably be the wrong decision. In other words, if fear was the reason I said, "I can't do this," my decision not to do it would be passing up a major opportunity for growth.

Can faith and fear coexist? Absolutely! Back to my liver transplant, I was terrified most of the time. How was I going to get to the next doctor's appointment two hours away? Who would take care of my slightly irrational dog(s) if I died? Who would dispose of my things? But I had faith that God had a plan for me and in that plan, mostly what I needed to do was get dressed each day and wait.

So back to this gal who is struggling to expand her career. I offered to stop by her office when I'm in the area and show her some resources where she can get free HR training and a professional organization she can join. Many of us in the rooms have amazing professional lives and we owe it to others to give them a hand up. Who better to handle human resources matters than recovering addicts who understand how human we all are? 

When I'm struggling with fear or working with others who are afraid, I always ask, "What's the worst thing that could happen?" Sometimes we see that the worst thing may be we aren't good at a particular task or effort that we explore. In that case, we've still learned something about ourselves.

Fear need not be paralyzing if we break it down by asking, "Why am I afraid?" and "What's the worst thing that could happen if I do this?"

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