Going places I don’t Know
An examination of the heart of a coward.
Before we go to far and I use beautiful English to mask the truth. I’m stating categorically. I, am, THE coward. Now, it’s not so bad yet that it is ALL I see myself as. I don’t define myself by my cowardice, yet. But make no mistake, I am a coward.
Or better yet, I am THE coward in this instance. Maybe you can relate, maybe you can’t. Maybe you feel the same, maybe you don’t. Maybe it’s in all of us, maybe it’s just me. One thing is certain, if I believe in my mind and in the stories I tell myself that I am a coward, and I choose to do nothing about it especially something as simple as state it; accept it as where I am today. Then my future looks a lot like my past. Making decisions that are driven by avoiding big enemies and making the most friends.
Yes, that is a definition of a coward. One who avoids conflicts, standing out, and most definitely gives in to the voice of fear. A coward is one who is in a romantic relationship with every “n’t” in English. It could be one or more or all. Usually one begets another from shouldn’t to won’t then can’t, mustn’t; the list goes on.
I like to hate on Jonah, the famous prophet who decided God “shouldn’t” save the Nineveh. Jonah wasn’t a Coward, he went. He acted. He obeyed. He just had an opinion of a “n’t” that God should possess.
Unlike me, I have opinions of what others should do. And I do nothing that I must do. I’ll start with the simple things.
Dolapo, go on a date with a lady in the valley.
Dolapo: that wasn’t God. That was just my feelings. Why would God care about me going on a date?
Feeling: it might not be God, but you know dang well that we get clarity by acting.
Dolapo: yes we do. But I like to be very sure it’s God before I act. I have been hurt in the past.
Feeling: what if that is the point? For you to act and move even when hurt is a possible outcome.
Dolapo: why would I knowingly take steps towards something that could hurt ? And why would that be God? But really, does God subscribe to anything that wastes time?
Feeling: first of all, you ought not make decisions solely based on what u wanna do or what u would like or what will feel good.
Man shall not live by bread alone; but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the Lord — Deuteronomy 8:3
Dolapo: Uhmmmm… I don’t Like where this is going.
Feeling: bread feels good, bread shuts up unpleasant feelings of hunger. If I know you well, bread feels very good. It’s an instant mood change. But what is better, that which proceeds from the mouth of God.
Dolapo: what if what proceeds from God is not clear cut?
Feeling: is the issue that it’s not clear cut or that it presents a choice to act — in fear or with courage.
Feeling: do you find that you know enough to know what next to do but not enough to know what the result will be v
Dolapo: yes, yes! Yes!!!!!!! Soo.. what do I do ?
Feeling: act. Move. Get up. God doesn’t hold you to results. He holds your action to its intent. But first, action.
Dolapo: this stinks.
Feeling: it does.
Go on the date in the Valley
Let’s pick a simple scenario. I matched with this woman a long time ago. We have had very sporadic conversations over time. She is not a Christian but she is spiritual. She had issues with me being a technical virgin. She decided to give it a go but clearly reluctantly. Literally she ended the association and then came back and said. I shouldn’t end things just for the mere fact that you are different from me.
Here are my many fears:
- She will like me and want me to have sex
- She lives too far and I don’t like driving at night
- Actually, I am terrified of driving at night on windy highways that I don’t know the route
- But the only way to know the route and get comfortable is to drive it at night a few times
- I have this fear because I have driven at night and my heart pounding for 45 minutes. I have had to while driving take deep breaths because my mind is racing, and my car feels like it is not in my control, even if it very much is.
- I have made it home everytime I have driven late even though my stomach feels like it just went through a washing machine.
- Fear always says, never do that again!
- Fast forward to now, yes a grown man like me, is afraid to drive anywhere at night for longer than 30 minutes on highways I do not know.
- This makes me question my manhood. Like how will I ever drive my wives and kids on long road trips if I am afraid to drive anything longer than 45 minutes ?
- Wow, so it’s not really about her. This is another opportunity to have courage. To drive at night when I am scared. This is an opportunity to continue practicing facing my fears.
- It’s also about her because I get to meet and have conversation with a woman I am attracted to.
- I get to be uncomfortable and attempt to woo a woman.
- I get to be reminded of my boundaries and communicate them without shame
- I get to face the binary duet of rejection or acceptance
- I get to learn more about another human being
- I get to place her humanity ahead of my needs or wants or lust.
- I get to not reduce a woman to a person to make a decision on — mine or not.
- I get reach for a friendship and dialog through whether it aligns with her interest.
- More importantly, I get to leave an impression of what a man who loves Jesus looks like, speaks like, acts like.
- As it pertains to fear, I get to act without knowing the end results — marriage or friends or whatever in between.
- I get to act to clarity.
… Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you. — Genesis 12:1
Then God said, “Take your son, your only son, while you love — Isaac — and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you.” — Genesis 22:2
Feeling: that was the same guy Abram, twice. He knew what the next step was but didn’t know what the outcome will be. And the next step made no sense to him or to those he will communicate and lead through from action to clarity.
Dolapo: but he knew it was God and I don’t.
Feeling: fair, but just because what I am telling you doesn’t make sense doesn’t mean I am not speaking on behalf of God.
God never leads us to an evil destination but the directions are not always smart — but always wise.
Who you follow over what to do.
When I am not sure who is speaking, I will act — waiting is an action — because God may need to lead me back but He never leads me astray.
It’s the voice not the instruction that I will fear.
What are you truly afraid of ?
A heart truly seeking to follow to God rarely arrives at an evil destination with that next choice or action. Instead, the next action brings us to the next fork. Unless you stack up wrong actions listening to the wrong voice, we don’t arrive at evil destinations.