Day 18 of the Overcoming Fear Challenge

Deepening Our Faith by Showing Gratitude

piccinni roland opera

 

Our faith is deepened when we express gratitude for what we have. spending some time in a gratitude journal helps. However, too often maintaining it can become unfruitful or even nonexistent. We begin doing things like writing in gratitude journals and then one of three things happen.

1. Another thing that happens is that before we develop the habit, we stop doing it because other priorities took its place. That’s why it is very important to begin creating small habits that involve very little commitment to do them. It is counterproductive to beat ourselves up for not spending a lot of time right at the beginning thanking our creator for his many wonderful it is much better to be grateful for the time that we did offer thanks that day. Set your timer for 5 minutes and write thank yous until the timer dings and you’re done. Remind yourself when you finish that anytime you can see something to be grateful for, you will express your gratitude in some way.

2. As they become habit, they involve no emotional involvement and are simply something that we do because they are mindless habits.To mix things up and keep this from happening, in addition to writing a daily journal entry, a good idea is to include additional activities every month. This way we can further inspire our gratitude and deepen our faith.

Here are things we can do:

  • Do something for someone who you know can do nothing for you in return.
  • Recall the three most influential people in your life. Write a letter to them telling them how they have influenced you and how grateful you are of their influence. If that person has passed, write the letter anyway and burn it and imagine the smoke of that letter being received by that person.
  • Every day when negative influences enter your thoughts, somehow turn it around so that you see the silver lining in that storm of your life. Then express gratitude for that silver lining.
  • Look for ways that others are doing something nice for you and thank them for their service. It will not just make you more observant of things to be grateful for, but you might make someone else’s day in the process.

About the Author

2014-04-07 07.07.08Cygnet Brown has recently finished her first nonfiction book: Simply Vegetable Gardening: Simple Organic Gardening Tips for the Beginning Gardener She is also the author of historical fiction series The Locket Saga Cygnet Brown resides in Springfield, Missouri.

Get a free copy of her newsletter and a free pdf copy of her e-booket: Vegetable Gardening in the Shade.

Day 18 Overcoming Fear Challenge ©2014 Donna (Cygnet) Brown

Day 16 of the Overcoming Fear Challenge

What is Faith?

earthWhat is faith? Faith seems like an intangible, but in fact is is a real as fear is real. You can’t say that fear is not real because its substance paralyzes. Faith, on the other hand, motivates and encourages. It is the power and the passion that keeps us going even when the circumstances around us say that what we are wanting is impossible to get or achieve. Faith is the opposite of Fear. Fear and Faith cannot exist in the same space and time. You cannot be fearful and faithful at the same time. Now that we know what faith is, the question next that needs to be asked is: Where does Faith originate?

We get Faith Through the Mind of God

Yesterday we said that faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God. It was the word of God that created the universe. It was something that was thought up in God’s thoughts and spoken into existence. Scientists today call that the “big bang”.  How literally someone wants to take the creation story has little significance because the results are the same whether an individual believes in an old or a young earth. Most miss the more important part of this dramatization is that an idea that became words came the creative force that brought the universe  into existence. That is faith in its purest form.  According to the Bible, we were created in the image and likeness of God. We were created to be like him. We were designed to exude this kind of creative faith. We were designed to expand with the universe and to ever increase. It is through this voice that created the universe that we too can do great things. The question then becomes: How do we hear the gentle reassuring, creative,  prodding voice of the one who created us? In other words, how do we become in harmony with Creator of the natural and the universal laws upon which all life is grounded?

We Get Faith Through Gratitude

In Philippians chapter 4:6-9 the Apostle Paul explains how we get this kind of faith.

  1. Set aside specific times to think about all the good things that are in your life and put your wants and dreams into God’s hands (verse 6).
  2. If you’re in the right place, you will sense God’s peace in your heart and your mind will feel rested (verse 7).
  3. You focus on the good things around you. Feel the gratitude for all that you have been given.  (verse 8).
  4. You acknowledge the negative, not so good things and then put them into God’s hands (verse 6).
  5. You must begin doing the things that involve faith which include creative projects and giving to others who are not able to give back to you. Be grateful that you are able to create. Be grateful that you are able to give. Do whatever it is that you can do to make the world a better place.
  6. Your gratitude must not be given in order to get something in return. It must given freely and without expectation.

 

 

About the Author

2014-04-07 07.07.08Cygnet Brown has recently finished her first nonfiction book: Simply Vegetable Gardening: Simple Organic Gardening Tips for the Beginning Gardener She is also the author of historical fiction series The Locket Saga Cygnet Brown resides in Springfield, Missouri.

Get a free copy of her newsletter and a free pdf copy of her e-booket: Vegetable Gardening in the Shade.

Day 16 Overcoming Fear Challenge, What is Faith? ©2014 Donna (Cygnet) Brown

Day 13 of the Overcoming Fear Challenge

Excuses: Fear’s Biggest Ally

Why is it that we don’t do what we really want to do in life? We make excuses for why we can’t do what it is that we say we want to do. Why do we do that? We do that because we cloak fear in the shroud of what many call “being realistic”. Its not realistic to dream, we are told and since whoever it is we are listening to cares about us, we internalize “being realistic”. When we do step out and begin to entertain our dreams, the voice of “reality” gets louder in its support of these excuses. In this TEDx video: Why You Will Fail To Have Great Career  by Larry Smith, he examines various excuses that we use and challenges us to step beyond those excuses.

When I started this series, I had no idea where each of these posts would lead. I had no idea what answers I would discover when I began writing. All I knew was that I needed to start this 30 day series for my own benefit. I have heard that when you ask for something, God will bring you the answers to your questions. This morning when I awoke, I had no idea that this video by Larry Smith would be included in this series, but when I saw it, I knew that it was a piece of the puzzle and it was something that I have been struggling with for a long time. I hope you gain new insights as I have from this fifteen minute video.

About the Author

2014-04-07 07.07.08Cygnet Brown has recently finished her first nonfiction book: Simply Vegetable Gardening: Simple Organic Gardening Tips for the Beginning Gardener She is also the author of historical fiction series The Locket Saga Cygnet Brown resides in Springfield, Missouri.

Get a free copy of her newsletter and a free pdf copy of her e-booket: Vegetable Gardening in the Shade.

Day 13 Overcoming Fear Challenge ©2014 Donna (Cygnet) Brown

Day 11 of the Overcoming Fear Challenge

exit interview

The best way to get rid of fear is to let hm know that he is no longer needed.

 An Exit Interview with Fear

Yesterday we talked about how fear is like a protective coating that protects us from things that can harm us, but in order for us to grow, we must tell the fear that it is no longer needed.  Its not as though we need to get angry or upset with fear. The truth is, it is best when we address our fear that we are calm and don’t get excited because excitement makes fear raise up its defenses. We do much better if we can address fear with a coolly, rationally and lovingly.

The best way to get rid of fear is to let hm know that he is no longer needed.

Imagine that you are an employer and that fear’s job has been terminated. Treat this conversation like an exit interview and fear is getting the ax. Here is how such a conversation could go:

In an interview room, two chairs are facing one another. I am sitting in one. Fear enters the room. He is standing very militarily. His eyes are ever watchful. He is proud of the work that he has been doing.  I motion fear to take the seat facing the one in which I am sitting.

Me: Hello fear, I see that you have been very busy taking care of business. I see that you are trying to protect me from failure, and I appreciate your efforts.

Fear: Well, thank you. It is nice that I am appreciated.

Me: You’ve come to work every day, did your time, did your job well. Too well in fact. However, I have bad news for you. The job that you have been do no longer is needed so I have to let you go. It is time for me to grow, and the job that you have been doing is hindering that grown. I’m sorry, but I have to let you go.

Fear: But I like it here. Please keep me on.

Me: The truth is,Your job was supposed to have been a temporary one. I have kept you on far longer than I should have.

Fear: But if I leave, you’ll be more vulnerable. I won’t be here to protect you.

Me: But if you stay, I can’t grow and grow I must.

Fear: I see. I understand. I wish it were different. I really liked working for you.

Me: And you did your job well. It is just that I no longer need the services you provide. Good-bye fear.

Fear: Good-bye.

(Fear gets up. He is stooped over, his head low. He walks out of the room. I sort of feel sorry for him, but I know that it is for the best. It is time for me to grow.)

About the Author

2014-04-07 07.07.08Cygnet Brown has recently finished her first nonfiction book: Simply Vegetable Gardening: Simple Organic Gardening Tips for the Beginning Gardener She is also the author of historical fiction series The Locket Saga Cygnet Brown resides in Springfield, Missouri.

Get a free copy of her newsletter and a free pdf copy of her e-booket: Vegetable Gardening in the Shade.

Day 11 Overcoming Fear Challenge ©2014 Donna (Cygnet) Brown

Day 10 of the Overcoming Fear Challenge

Fear is like the Protective Coating of a Seed

When you’re green you’re growing. When you’re ripe you rot.”- Ray Kroc

germinating seedIt is a natural law that  if something is not growing, it is dying. As Ray Kroc so eloquently said, when something is green it is growing, if it stops growing, it dies. Nothing stays stagnate. After I read the quote I thought about seeds that are planted in the ground. Imagine what it would be like if a seed stubbornly refused to grow. That seed would be become useless and rot. Yesterday we spoke about the fear of success and after I thought about that, I realized how stubborn fear is.

Fear refuses to allow us to grow because growing requires risk and risk means that something could be lost. A seed, when planted in the ground, is coated with a tough outer shell that protects it, however in order for the seed to grow, the seed must break through that tough outer coating.

The seed, once free of the tough outer shell becomes vulnerable, but it become vulnerable if it is meant to grow, and grow it must. Like the seed, we too must free ourselves of the fear that is protecting us.

Our fear is like that protective covering on the seed. It has been designed to protect us, to keep us from harm. Fear is not a bad thing when it is appropriate. Just as there was a time for the seed to have an outer coating to protect it, fear is designed to protect us too. The fear may have had a purpose, but the fear stubbornly hands on even after its usefulness.  I am learning that I must be grateful for the fear and its stubborn service to serve me, but its job shouldn’t last beyond its usefulness. I have to recognize when it is time to become vulnerable and become willing to grow. For me the time is now.

 

About the Author

2014-04-07 07.07.08Cygnet Brown has recently finished her first nonfiction book: Simply Vegetable Gardening: Simple Organic Gardening Tips for the Beginning Gardener She is also the author of historical fiction series The Locket Saga Cygnet Brown resides in Springfield, Missouri.

Get a free copy of her newsletter and a free pdf copy of her e-booket: Vegetable Gardening in the Shade.

Day 10 Overcoming Fear Challenge ©2014 Donna (Cygnet) Brown

Day Seven of the Overcoming Fear Challenge

“When you find yourself stuck, you know you are dealing with fear.”-Cygnet Brown

Do you ever find yourself stuck and don’t know where to go next? The underlying feeling of being stuck is based in fear. When you see yourself stuck the first thing to ask yourself is “What am I afraid of?”

Stuck in a dead end job?

Stuck in what to do next in business?

Stuck in a certain level in your business?

Stuck in a bad marriage?

Stuck in a cycle of poverty?

Stuck in a rut of any kind?

What are you afraid of? Whatever it is that you are afraid if is keeping you from moving forward. A more precise question would be “What are you afraid of losing?” Before you can forward, you must deal with this one key element. “What are you afraid of losing?”

vampire movie

Shining a light on what you’re afraid of losing is a very scary thing even after you do it. If you want to move past the fear, it is necessary.

This is the boogie man in all the resistance you sense as you move forward. Identify what you’re afraid of losing, and that lose loses some of its power over you because you have identified it. More on this tomorrow.

This weekend I took a step forward, but it was a difficult one for me because when I admitted it, I realized that I had been holding some fear that was very scary to me. I think I had mentioned that I had been planning to publish Simply Vegetable Gardening and that I was later at getting it out than I had originally planned. Part of the reason was that I had not finished because I thought that I could finish it more quickly than I actually was able. The big reason, however was that I was procrastinating getting that project finished. We discussed procrastination back on Day Three.

I finally got the book published late Saturday night on Kindle. The book looked beautiful. I compared my work in that book with the books I had written in the past and it looked great. Editing wise, formatting wise, writing wise, it was the best work I had put out thus far. Not only that it was a book from the heart. I loved the work, and I loved the end result. In a few days, when my husband Jeff finishes the design on the back cover, we’ll be publishing the print book. You would think I would be happy, but I wasn’t.  I was a wreck. Fear raised his ugly head. What if nobody liked it? What if I put it out there and no one thought it was worth buying and reading? What was I afraid of losing? I was afraid of losing “My Dream”.  I put my heart and soul into this. I am invested in this book. What if no one valued my book? If people reject my book, then I felt as though people will also reject me. I was afraid of rejection.

Now that my book was published, I was facing the fear of rejection head on. Did publishing the book make me feel the fear less? No, I felt it more, but I was dealing with it. I’m still dealing with it. Now that I recognize it however, I realize that what I am doing now is a brave thing. I am facing my fear and pushing through it. Yesterday though it started with me feeling like a loser, by the end of the day, I felt as though I had accomplished much. I even got a few sales. There are at least a few people who do like me and my work. I’ll bet there are at least a few more. I must simply go out and find them.

 

April First-Day: List my Fears

Just the other day, a wise woman told me this:

“What holds you back Donna, is your own fear of Self. You often fail to see the brilliance that lies beneath your insecurities… but I promise – all you need to do is let your True Self shine through!”

This is part of the reason that I decided to use the month of April as the month that I take the time to face my fears and deal with some of the most debilitating fears that I have. I know that I am intelligent. I know that I am capable. I know that I have not been living up to my full potential. A lot has happened in the past few months. My Dad died which was expected, but then my brother died which was not. All this has made me realize that I have not been who I know I am capable of being. The reason is fear. I am afraid to step out of my comfort zone and do the things that I really want to do in life.

We don’t venture out and explore new ideas when we are afraid. Fears are what keep us in our comfort zone. To determine how I will face my fears this month, the first thing I must do is list them as I think of them. Listing them gives me a perspective. Some of the fears are related, some are not. Once I have listed my fears, I will prioritize them to determine which ones to face first, and which ones will take time. I will determine which ones are steps I must take to help me face the larger, more important fears. By keeping a list, I will be able to develop a game plan for the month.

Do you have fears? Sit down and list yours while I list mine. Come on this journey with me. Perhaps you too can grow with this journey of stepping out of my comfort zone and facing my fears that are keeping me from doing the things that I really want to do.  I begin by creating that list of fears. I’ve got nothing to lose but fear itself!