You have at your feet a new year fresh and unblemished:A blank canvas yet unmarked by the smeared paint of failure, a fresh snow not yet trampled by despair.
So here you stand, poised at the fork in the path: a part of you planning out another year’s goals and resolutions, another part hissing to yourself: “the heck these goals and with this charade of ‘creating my future’… this illusion that I will someday break through.
Maybe it’s not the illusion of success holding you back, maybe it’s the icy cold fingers of fear around your heart, sucking the joy from your soul while causing you to want to “play it safe” for another year.
While considering the challenges looming ahead in 2017, I reflected back on a movie I rather enjoyed starring Matt Damon — We Bought a Zoo. My favorite scene involved a brief dialogue between Matt and his estranged teenage son. Matt was trying to make a point and to encourage his boy to reach out to a cute girl he befriended and made this comment: “Sometimes all you need is 20 seconds of insane courage — 20 seconds of embarrassing bravery and I promise you something great will come of it.”
This has become my mantra as countless times these words were shared with my life coaching clients when hesitant to push past the hurdle of fear in pursuit of their dreams or goals. I have heard wonderful stories of breakthrough of those who took the risk, and often in spite of their felt vulnerability, in “Twenty seconds of insane courage” they experienced a destiny pursuit breakthrough.
What is holding you back today as you stand at the threshold of a New Year? If your dream is a “snapshot” of a more preferable future waiting for you, do you often find yourself stalling in moving toward it?
Maybe you’ve heard the story of training baby elephants. When they are still small, a strong rope is tied around their necks and attached to a secure pole in the ground. The baby elephants naturally try to walk away and are stopped by the rope. They pull and push and twist and turn and eventually figure out that they just aren’t strong enough to break free of their shackles, so they stop resisting and just stay where they are.
The same thing happens over and over until eventually, when the rope is put over their heads, they no longer pull and push and try to break free because they know it is futile. That is why in captivity you can walk by a circus and see giant elephants standing passively with a rope tied around their necks that isn’t attached to anything at all.
The elephant becomes so accustomed to being held back by the rope. Conditioned by their pain, bound by their powers of memory, that merely the rope itself keeps that brawny animal in check. If only they knew how powerful they really are. If only they realized that by the time they have grown up, even a rope “secured” to a pole can no longer contain them. Then they would know what true freedom is. But they don’t.
In our destiny pursuit, there are numerous factors that can disrupt our journey, but they fall into two general categories: external and internal.
The external factors are the detours and difficulties that exist in the world around us. These can come in the form of people who hinder us, circumstances that confront us, and spiritual warfare that is designed by dark forces to derail us.
The internal factors, on the other hand, are the inner fears, wounds and weaknesses that cause us to be vulnerable to the enemy’s attacks. They also include areas of sinful thoughts and behaviors that sabotage destiny.
These are the things Jesus is referring to when He says, “I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming, and he has nothing in Me”(John 14: 30). Here, Jesus is saying two things: The enemy wanted to trip Him up, but he had no access points in Jesus’ life. He carried no FEAR in His heart.
Do you find it difficult to take risks in life — especially the kind that grow out of immediate emotion and involve vulnerability? We often find it difficult to suspend thought and take a chance. Maybe you think things through too much, lose spontaneity and send possibilities hurtling into a black hole of obscurity or into a vortex of anxiety.
Is FEAR False Evidence Appearing Real that paralyzes you in your tracks or do you Face Everything And Rejoice because you have just targeted your next breakthrough?
I believe some of the greatest moments of our lives begin with just 20 seconds of insane courage. In that amount of time you can break free of the restraints of insecurity and make lasting changes in your life, in the lives of those around you, and possibly the world! What is waiting for YOU in 2017 on the other side of YOUR 20 seconds of insane courage?