Scared of Nothing

The following statement, spoken by Kyle Cease from his motivational project "The Limitation Game," has affected me profoundly: "What if no one ever broke your heart but they broke your expectations? And what if, when they broke your expectations, they helped you get closer to your heart?" Recently I have felt a bit lost. But until I listened to Kyle I did not understand why. Actually, Kyle only led me to think about the issue for myself, and did not reveal the answer: I'm scared of nothing.

That may seem rather tough or strong of me but it is only an illusion. When I was young all I wanted to be was a singer. Yes, I can sing, and I can sing very well. But I was always too intimidated to attempt trying to "make it" in the music biz. Yet when I was young I also had an interest to be a teacher, specifically an English teacher, but I did not think I was smart enough to survive college. From the age of 18 to 27 I wandered aimlessly through life, from city to city, from coast to coast.

At age 27, when I became a believer, I moved back home and began singing in churches from Virginia to Boston to New Hampshire. I thought I might try to fulfill that childhood dream. But I also had another desire: theology. I could not decide between the two. Was I a singer who maintained interests in theology or a theologian who could also sing? The older I got, and the less likely I thought I could "make it" in Christian music, I pursued theology. I earned a degree in English and a degree in Biblical Studies. Come to find out I not only survived college but maintained a decent GPA. I was not dumb after all, but only scared of failure, of the unknown.

My life changed in 2012. Some of you know the story and others may not. Since then I have been through life-changes. But I was also left a bit lost. I used to think that I had to "be somebody" in life, and "being somebody" referred to what I did, as in a career. If I sang then I was a singer. If I taught theology or Church history then I was a professor. I identified my very existence with a career choice. So, I suppose now, I am a motel manager. That defines me; that encompasses my existence. Or does it?

Do you think that defining people by their jobs is odd? "Who is Chad?" "Oh, you know Chad, the doctor at the Medical Center." "Oh, him, yes I know him." Chad is now "the doctor," just as I am "the singer," or "that guy who had that Arminian site," or "that gay guy with a blog," or "the manager at the Sea Shell Motel." I guarantee you I am much more than these descriptions. So are you. So is everyone else in the world.



When I confess to being sacred of nothing I mean that I fear not longing to "be" a particular somebody (or "something") any longer. Since I came to realize that billions of people around the world work in whatever job they are at, and live their lives, the less pressure I sensed for having to fit a role in order to be identified. What if I became a singer, or a professor, or a cook at Burger King? My job does not define me.

What is my passion right now? What makes me tick? What gives me hope? What excites me? I want to fall in love and share my life with someone. That may seem like the most trivial desire to many of you; probably because you already have someone to love. But this idea of falling in love and sharing my life with someone is a brand new concept for me. Prior to December 2016 (at least from May 1995 until December 2016), I was convinced that I did not want a relationship, and convinced that I was not permitted to even engage in one. (Consider my conservative evangelical upbringing.)

This new desire came about by an event that changed my entire perspective; but this event was also heart-breaking for me. The one who helped change my perspective, the one I was willing to give my heart to, was, unbeknownst to me, already taken. This left me quite heartbroken. Then Kyle Cease says that my heartbreak was actually an expectations-break; and that this broken expectation only helped me to get close to my heart. I think that I may have known this already; but I had not considered the matter quite in this vein and this illumination broke me -- or perhaps healed me.

If you have a deep inner passion that you want to fulfill in life then you should make every effort towards that goal. The only reality holding you back, really, is fear; and fear is a fickle emotion that can cripple your dreams. But fear is also only a perspective. On the other side of fear is hope for fulfillment. But let us imagine that you do not possess any particular dream of being a singer, a teacher, a four-star general, a doctor, a pastor, a soldier, a physical therapist, a veterinarian, a chef, a psychologist, a dancer, a missionary, a musician, a home-care worker, or a mechanic; let us consider that you find fulfillment in life from loving someone, sharing your life with that person, and working at some job that you generally enjoy in order to pay your bills. Should you be scared of nothing -- of not having a desire to "be something"?

You already know my answer is no. Whatever trade you adopt as a means of paying your bills, and providing for yourself and/or for others, does not define you as a human being and does not contribute toward your value. We all need each other; and whatever we find to do for (legal) work in this life is, in itself, beneficial to everyone else. When that fear rises within you, suggesting that your existence on this earth is of little value because you are not "more" than what you are (knowing that the measure being used is subjectively based upon your job), recognize it for what it is: a meaningless concept that is entirely divorced from your worth as a human being.

ABOUT WILLIAM BIRCH

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My name is William Birch and I grew up in the Southern Baptist tradition but converted, if you will, to Anglicanism in 2012. I am gay, affirming, and take very seriously matters of social justice, religion and politics in the church and the state.