I wish I had a dollar for every time the sentiment that fear is the greatest obstacle to change or to living the life you want has popped up in a book I’m reading or in a meme on Facebook or has been uttered in a conference workshop or keynote address.
I’m fairly certain I read one variation or another at least 100 times as I devoured just one book — Chicken Soup for the Soul’s Reboot Your Life!
As I’ve read and listened, I’ve been . . .
encouraged by “I did this and so can you”
cautioned by “time is fleeting, life is short, regrets are ugly things”
and even bullied by “if you really trust God, you’ll take the leap and trust Him to catch you.”
Through it all, I’ve vacillated on the continuum of uncertainty.
Sometimes, I’m somewhat certain I can make the monumental vocational leap I dream of. Equally often, I’m pretty certain that doing so would be a huge misstep . . . or mis-leap.
Never, though, have I felt confident I can do it, that I can walk away from the thing I once loved but that has changed so drastically I hardly recognize it to do what I’ve dreamed almost my entire life of doing.
I know what’s holding me back, what fears keep me continuing down the path I’m already on.
I simply haven’t been able to overcome those fears.
For years, I’ve read or heard countless testimonies of people who finally pushed through their fear by burning bridges. There was the unhappy ad executive who walked into his boss’ office one day and gave his 6-month notice and the couple that put everything they needed and used in one room of their house, invited homeless people into their home to take whatever they wanted for free, and then downsized to a tiny house they built with their own two hands.
I chuckled at the story of the woman with 6 sizes of full sets of clothing to fall back on when her latest diet failed. She boxed up all but the smallest size and drove 4 hours to drop off the boxes of at a resale shop that raises money for a battered-women and children’s shelter. She said she considered a town only 2 hours away but was fairly certain a 2-hour drive wasn’t enough to make her overcome the urge to go back and re-buy all her clothes. She was pretty confident that a 4-hour drive each way would do the trick.
Two weeks ago, I decided to burn a bridge.
I did it the very next day.
Only two people — my son and my daughter — are aware that there was a bridge burning the afternoon of August 19.
Truth be told, the bridge is burned, but there’s a rowboat on the shore I can use in a pinch. But I’m trying really hard to forget that rowboat exists, to remember that there’s a way to circumvent that burned-out bridge.
And so, the bridge has been burned, and I’m ignoring the row boat. How much time do I have to prepare for the actual leap?
Here we go!