Faith Column: God’s anatomy
Stop being fearful, try something new and be humble
My tampon wrapper the other day told me to “live fearlessly.”
Now a tampon wrapper is no fortune cookie, so I wasn’t expecting to find any words of wisdom at that exact moment. I have to admit, though – no matter how uncomfortable that first line made you – it really got me thinking. I started thinking about what it actually means to be fearless.
Immediately I think of skydiving or bungee jumping or something really extreme, but ‘fearless’ can relate to daily life too. Go for that job opportunity you are too scared to try for. Talk to that cute guy or girl you don’t think would be interested. Try eating a new vegetable!
Generally, living fearlessly is a sound piece of wisdom. However, the more I thought about it, the more I started wondering if living fearlessly lacks some of the benefits of being fearful.
When I say “fearful” I don’t mean a fear that makes you hide under the covers from the monsters beneath your bed; I’m talking about a respect for something greater. Being fearful means to acknowledge something that is bigger than just you and living in awe and respect of that.
I don’t know if you believe in the same Christian God that I do —maybe it’s Allah, or Buddha, or Mother Nature or the general cosmic power of the universe. No matter what your deity is(or lack thereof) — there is a great peace that comes when you spend time realizing that you are not the centre of the universe.
Living fearlessly leads to a mentality of “I can do anything” and “look at that risk that I took.” Inherently, these aren’t bad things, but life can get a bit out of control when we think too highly of ourselves. The people that I have seen succeed the most are those that humble themselves out of fear of things that are greater.
Currently, I am working down at Spruce Meadows (if you haven’t been down here, I highly recommend it). For those of you that don’t know, Spruce Meadows is home to international horse show jumping competitions. The athletes that arrive here are competing for elaborate trophies and hundreds of thousands of dollars in prize money.
These athletes have every right to be proud of their accomplishments, and anyone you talk to would sing praises of their successes. I can guarantee you, though, that almost any rider you talk to will attribute their success to the relationship between themselves and their horse. Some will even give all the credit to the horse.
There is a great level of fear and respect between rider and equine, and rightly so. These thoroughbreds average 16 hands high (or 5’3” at their torso, for those who don’t speak equestrian) and 1200lbs or more. Without a healthy fear and respect for the size and strength of these animals, no one would succeed in this sport.
The bible has this portion in it called the book of Proverbs. Proverbs is primarily advice for daily living (similar to a Chicken Soup for the Soul book) and it is full of passages saying that the fear of God is the beginning of all wisdom. In other words, the respect and awe of that which is greater than you leads to good decision making and a humble attitude towards life.
What’s greater than you in your world?