Tuesday, April 15, 2014

On Fear, or Leadership Lessons from Astronauts

This post originally appeared at Canadian Youth Worker:

The TED 2014 conference came to Vancouver, BC last month, and I've been catching up on some of the 18-minute talks. One of the most fascinating talks is from astronaut Chris Hadfield. His description of exploring space is captivating and winsome, but beyond his cosmic adventures, Hadfield goes deeper into what it means to embrace risk, move beyond fear, and step into danger for the sake of beauty (see the talk here if the embed below doesn't work):

Money Quote"...the key to that is by looking at the difference between perceived danger and actual danger, where is the real risk? What is the real thing that you should be afraid of? Not just a generic fear of bad things happening. You can fundamentally change your reaction to things so that it allows you to go places and see things and do things that otherwise would be completely denied to you."

In the Bible, the most frequent command from God to people is not “worship me” or “be kind” or even “love others.” It’s simply this: don’t be afraid. 

Do not fear. 

Why does this command come up so often? Because fear has to do with punishment and death. It comes from sin. Fear of disease, fear of rejection, fear of death—it all finds its roots in sin. But Jesus has conquered fear and sin and death, and offers us life and grace and unconditional love.

Here is the good news: we don’t have to be afraid any more in Christ. I have all sorts of fears and insecurities and anxiety, and those will probably always creep up in my heart. I'm afraid of what others will think of me. I'm afraid of losing my job due to making a significant programmatic change. I'm afraid of burning out. But I recall God's promises in 1 John 4: there is no fear in love, because perfect love casts out fear, and if I’m loved--and I am--then I don’t have to be afraid any more. Like Hadfield's reminder about spiders, we only need to do the research in order to move beyond the perceived danger and figure out what we really need to fear: God alone.

Fear not. Live courageously this week, knowing that the love of your Father means we don't have to be afraid.

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