A Bodey in Motion

Building momentum, one step at a time

Too afraid to be free

Alright, I’m not trying to flog my vacation. Really. I’ve already posted enough about the trip, but something interesting came up while we were away, and it triggered a bigger issue that I feel the need to address. After this week, we’ll have a California-free zone.

During the trip, I posted here that we would be out of town for the week.  I also made a few quick personal updates to Facebook* during the trip. After the third update, it happened.

Hey, are you sure you want to let everyone know that you’re not home?

You want the world to know that your house is vacant and ripe for break-in?

Now, they were just looking out for my family’s well being, and I’m not knocking them for showing concern. The media has issued warnings about this. There are stories on the Internet. I certainly don’t want our home to be robbed. That would suck.

Our house wasn’t vacant, though. We’d asked a friend to house-sit, because we didn’t want our house to be empty for a week. But we would have done that whether or not there were media warnings and Internet stories. It’s just common sense.

What really frustrated me about my friends’ comments wasn’t that they were concerned. It was that I had had the exact same conversation in my head before I’d finally forced myself to post. And again right before I had written each update. I was tired of fighting with the fear.

Blue? I thought yellow was the color of fear. That's what the Blackest Night crossover taught me, anyway.

Fear doesn’t prevent death. It prevents life.

– Unknown

As a private, introverted person, I don’t share as much of my life and my thoughts as I should. Convincing myself that I should let my guard down this one time, despite my fears, was a chore. It always is.

Fear is convenient. It’s easy. We are able to fall comfortably back on it when an opportunity presents itself that will require us to stretch and grow. When there’s risk involved, fear is an excuse always within reach.

We’ve been hurt before by friends or lovers, so we won’t allow another the chance to do the same. We put up walls, quickly find fault, and extend no grace when a new person enters our lives. We deny ourselves community, family, and love just to avoid the potential of pain. Out of fear.

We’ve been attacked for our beliefs before, so we remain silent and avoid the conflict. Our faith is hidden safely away, practiced behind closed doors so the world won’t be offended. Ideology suffers a similar fate, never to be challenged, confirmed, strengthened or softened. Out of fear.

Again and again, in circumstances too numerous to imagine, fear rises up and we instinctively respond with the safe, easy answer. That’s disappointing, because we need to take risks. We need conflict. We need to engage each other, do new things, challenge ourselves, and grow.I'm big Ben Franklin and this shant be pretty. Let me instruct you how we battle in the city of Philly.

Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.

– Benjamin Franklin

The minuscule chance that my house might be robbed is a terrible reason not to share the amazing and mundane experiences that I get the privilege of living through, no matter what the medium.

The friends that I’ve lost in pain have saddened me. How much should I be saddened by those who I’ve never had the opportunity to know out of fear of pain?

And my faith touches every part of my life. Hiding it is an offense to my Lord and Creator.

For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.

2 Timothy 1:6-7

Stop living in fear!

(On a similar note, the very tiny risk that your child might be abducted by a nefarious stranger is a terrible reason to seclude them and deny them the opportunities of childhood. Stop spreading this paranoia to the next generation!)

Question: What experience are you denying yourself because you’re afraid of failure or pain? What have you done despite your fear that led to something awesome in your life?

*(As an aside, on Facebook I just friend people whom I’ve physically met with only a few exceptions. You can request, but please don’t be offended if I decline.)

[first image, modified from original, credit]
[second image, public domain]

October 22, 2012 Posted by | Marriage and Family, Past and Future, Politics and Other Insects, Work and Money | , , , , , , | Comments Off on Too afraid to be free

Changing For the Better Isn’t D.I.Y.

I can be pretty hard on myself.

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I like to use Zig Ziglar’s Wheel of Life as a reference for how to divide up the key areas of life. It helps to cement the need for balance in the way that I live. While I’ve been kicking butt in a couple of those key areas lately, it wouldn’t take a lot of effort for me to list one or more ways that I should improve in all of them.

There’s nothing wrong with pushing yourself to improve, but many of us get the idea in our heads that attempting to make a positive change is a private matter. We tell ourselves that the only way a change is valid is if we can do it alone. That’s foolishness, and it often leads to isolation and frustration, because true change doesn’t work that way.

Real improvement comes when we surround ourselves and put our trust in others who are pointed in the same direction that we want to go.

It’s better to hang out with people better than you. Pick out associates whose behavior is better than yours and you’ll drift in that direction.

– Warren Buffett

Whatever your current goal is, you need to be spending time with, and seeking the counsel of, two groups of people. Those who are passionately working towards a similar goal, and those who have achieved it. Associating with others who share your struggle allows you to hear voices of experience, and learn from their wisdom. It introduces accountability to your efforts, and motivates you. You gain focus and fellowship.

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Ben Franklin understood the power of a group. He pulled twelve of his friends together to create “a club of mutual improvement,” which they called the Junto, when he was only twenty-one years old. They met for more than forty years, guided by a set of discussion questions, exploring the myriad topics of the day. Franklin became the Founding Father we know today because of the investment he made with that small group of men.

You and I have to stop thinking that self-improvement is a do-it-yourself project. If we really want to improve, we need experts to tell us how to get where we want to be, and extra sets of hands for the heavy lifting. We need to build a trusted community around us that will challenge us to grow.

I’m challenged to start formally putting together a mastermind group like Franklin’s Junto. I’m already involved with an accountability group, but I’m thinking about grabbing Dan Miller’s 1+1=3 as a guide to assembling people who are interested in growing in all the key areas of their life. What do you think? Any suggestions?

March 5, 2012 Posted by | Past and Future, Work and Money | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Changing For the Better Isn’t D.I.Y.

Quick Hits of the Week

  • Vaccinating our children protects them from some of the most horrible diseases out there. The autism scare that was manufactured and has continued since 1998 because of a retracted publication by a discredited doctor with the help of a former Playboy model has done us all a disservice. Most recently, there was a minor measles outbreak after the Super Bowl. Two people with the measles visited Super Bowl village. Thousands were exposed. Fourteen new cases confirmed. Thirteen of those had previously declined the necessary vaccine. I admit that there are some risks involved with vaccination, and we should work to reduce those risks, but in the meantime can we keep the massively contagious and/or dangerous diseases, that have been scientifically proven to be preventable, prevented? Please?
  • I’m going to do my best not to write about the latest Presidential race. At all. However, I do have one question for all of the candidates: Have you ever shot a whale with a crossbow? Because, apparently, Vladimir Putin has. Now, I’ll concede these all have the scent of propaganda to them, and an American President would be justifiably pilloried for publishing them. Good thing, too, because the Secret Service would probably frown on a bunch of that stuff.

March 1, 2012 Posted by | Quick Hits and Links | , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Quick Hits of the Week