“To the doubting and afraid, there is no vision.” – Your Truly
“Where there is no vision, the people perish.” – Old Proverb
There are certain things that can stop me. Vulnerabilities of mine have never stopped surfacing and re-surfacing all my life, although they come in new disguises, sneaking in through new circumstances. In the past, they have been obvious and large, and therefore pretty easy to spot, and through practice I have learned to steel myself against them. I am at a place now where they are subtle, unnoticeable to anyone, oftentimes to myself. These new-old enemies are hidden not behind a good and productive life, but within it.
Doubt and fear are their names.
In my life, doubt disguises itself as humility, and fear as wisdom. Since I have a strong desire to be both humble and wise, I’m very vulnerable to doubt and fear stealing my life for long periods of time without me noticing.
My dad was a US Marine. He also has a limited version of color blindness that had him always asking me and my brothers whether two dress socks matched or not. This color blindness, somehow, gave him the ability to spot a shooter out in the brush who was wearing camouflage. He said his commanding officer, when scanning the horizon would say, “Mashburn! Front and center!” My dad would look where everyone else had and seen nothing, and then point and say, “Right there.” Identified and exposed, of course, this meant doom for the enemy.
I want that ability with my new versions of fear and doubt.
I remember a student in my youth ministry that was dating a guy who was bad to her, proving himself incapable of loving her, to the point of physical abuse. But even with this unquestionable and inexcusable behavior to clearly point at, my young friend suffered from doubt and fear. She doubted whether the boy’s behavior was her own fault, and she feared losing him for a variety of (false) reasons.
Her doubt and fear blinded her. She could not see the simple truth. And she was perishing.
One day, she found enough courage to speak the truth meekly to me, who got to play the role of “trustworthy, truth-telling friend” (Side note: my desire to have these makes this role one of my favorites). It was just enough for truth to come rushing in, which brought with it sight, filling within her a brand new reservoir of bravery.
Sight and bravery! I pause here as I write, moving to a place of worship. The thought is breathtaking to me, for whenever I’ve seen (or been) a person with these, the Kingdom comes. Goodness falls with a earthshaking crash. Evil is confronted, fear no longer strong enough to stop it. Ahhh…sight and bravery.
I went with her to his house, and though I offered to do it, she wanted to ring the doorbell and face her fear herself (wisdom), though she promised to not step inside the house out of my sight (humility). The return on facing her doubt and fear? Nothing short of a brand new life.
We all need people playing the role of “trustworthy, truth-telling friend” on occasion, especially when we are first learning these secrets to life, but as we make a habit of overcoming doubt and fear, and we become more addicted to sight and bravery, we have a ever-growing need to become our own trustworthy, truth-telling friend.
Of course, we will still need others. But I am learning that I am in ever-increasing measure needing the integrity to do it myself, because with experience in overcoming, come new skills in hiding. Hiding becomes easier, and we become adept at doing it in plain sight of everyone, appearing to not be hiding at all. And as always, there are plenty of people around to conspire with us, agreeing with us, joining us in our delusion that we are doing and being and becoming all that we are supposed to be.
Are you doing and being and becoming all that you are supposed to be?
Others can tell you whether they think you are or not, but for someone to do that proactively and effectively is rare. It is a bit more possible when you take it upon yourself to invite others to tell you, but even then it is rare to find someone who will, because few are skilled at it, let alone willing, and the request is so uncommon.
We swim in a whole culture where fear and doubt are disguised as humility and wisdom.
So… here is to my continuing adventure at becoming someone who is able to look at the landscape of my “good life” and spot the “camouflaged shooters” of doubt and fear.
I welcome any and all who want to join me.