The Amalfi Coast and Swiss Bank Accounts – Five Useful Questions for Making Decisions, part 2

As promised last week, this week we are asking Fateful Question #2.

What do you mean you didn’t read last week? What’s with that? Get thee henceforth to the archives and read it. Or you just won’t understand.

In Happier at Home, Gretchen Rubin writes about the five questions she asks herself “when I’m reluctant to take a risk or face something uncomfortable.” We’re exploring these questions for the new year.

Fateful Question #2 is:

What would I do if I wasn’t scared?

For instance . . .
If I wasn’t scared of cliffs, I’d drive the Amalfi Coast. (Oh, and if I had a Swiss bank account. But no matter; we’re dreaming, right?)

If I wasn’t scared of spiders I’d buy a tarantula and call it Fluffy and feed it and read it bedtime stories. OK, probably not, because scared or not, I still prefer pets that sit on my lap and cuddle and purr rather than stare at me with six billion eyes (give or take).

If I wasn’t scared of extreme political wackos I would . . . wait. That is a perfectly justifiable fear. Never mind. Step away from those people . . . slowly.

But the question matters.

What would I do if I wasn’t scared? It matters because if we can pinpoint what scares us about a decision

+ if we know what we would do without that fear in the picture,

= then we could see clearly what we really want to do.

If, barring fear of cliffs, I would drive the Amalfi Coast, then I know I really want to find a way to make that happen.

If I thought spiders were simply misunderstood cute little things with too many legs, would I then feel the burning need to buy a tarantula? Only if I needed to feed a Komodo Dragon. So, taking fear out of the equation, I know I still do not ever want a tarantula. Ever.

So, I’ve figured out what I would do if I was not scared in both these situations.

But, Big Decisions….

These, obviously, are not big decisions. The big ones matter much more. Should I change jobs? Should I volunteer overseas? Should I write a book? What should I major in? Ask yourself—what would I do if I took fear out of the picture? Major in something I love? Get my passport? Change careers? Commit my heart and my time to a person or a cause?

Answering ‘yes’ doesn’t mean you need to do it. This is only one of the Fateful Questions. But what it will do is help you see what you really, really want. Do you really want to go overseas? Maybe this position still isn’t the answer, but at least you know the direction you’ll probably turn, because you’ve clarified what you love.

What would I do if I wasn’t scared?

I know for me, right now, the answer is write things that scare me and pastor this church like it’s the most important place in the world, because it is. Even when I don’t feel capable. Even when the risks I know God wants me to take there are not understood. Even whenI’m deeply afraid of letting people see my work and my “real me.” Even when I’m afraid I’m doing a mediocre job and the thought of being “just mediocre” terrifies me. Even when . . . anything. Because it’s what I’m called to do, and I’ll do it scared or not.

What would you do if you weren’t scared?

The Lord is my light and my salvation—

    so why should I be afraid?

The Lord is my fortress, protecting me from danger,

    so why should I tremble? Psalm 27.1

By Jill Richardson at

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