“There is no fear now, let go and just be free.” – Katy Perry
Another standout this year was Divergent. The whole premise of the movie; facing your fears, knowing where you belong, and passing the test.
Every aspect of life and living brought into question.
Torn between worlds, not knowing quite where she fits—Tris decides who she wants to be. She determines she can’t be controlled or plopped into a category or stereotype.
Sealed with Dauntless and Abnegation on each shoulder, jumping off of trains not knowing what is below—she embarks on a journey to becoming her true self.
The self she was always destined to be.
Free from fears.
And of course we can’t forget the pseudo Savior Four who comes along side her, takes her hand and has everything she will ever need to help her face her fears. Challenging her to believe better.
To rise up.
To let go.
“Dauntless, we never give up.” – Divergent
When Four confesses that he too has fears as he climbs higher, he says “Everyone is afraid of something.”
She holds onto hope that even despite her fears, she can be brave even in the face of danger. To move forward even when discouraged, and jump even when she doesn’t know what is below.
There is connection.
“To face your worst fears and conquer them.” – Divergent
Most of us will never be forced to choose our faction. Yet we battle in this choosing life and believing better journey. Living full and unafraid.
In Daring Greatly, Brene Brown writes about how we use various shields to keep us from living wholehearted. To choose out of our fear and shame keeps us from wholehearted living. When she talks about wholehearted living; it reminds me of this living full journey. Daring to jump even when we don’t know what’s below.
Fearless and Courageous.
Full of love and life and believing better.
She mentions these shields that hide our shame and vulnerability. To let down our shields is a place we can only go if we are willing to dare greatly. Being undaunted and fearless in the face of danger and difficulties.
The shields were eye opening to me, so maybe they will help you in facing some of your fears and moving towards daring greatly and living full.
“Masks make us feel safer even when they become suffocating.” – Brene Brown
Shield 1: Foreboding Joy – This shield is all about worrying, worst case scenerio-ing life to try and prepare for the worst possible outcome. Feeling afraid to truly experience joy because we are waiting for the bottom to fall out. The carpet being ripped out.
“Let’s try to take it back, before it all went wrong.” The Script
Brene talks about “rehearsing tragedy and perpetual disappointment” so we never have to fully engage. For many of us who have known tragedy, disappointment, bottoms dropping and carpets ripped or no carpets at all, we sometimes think it’s easier to have no expectations then to be disappointed.
The Daring Greatly Solution: Practicing Gratitude.
Shield 2: Perfectionism – Thinking if we are just perfect enough, say just the right words, have the exact solution or performance then we’ll be enough and make the cut. It’s a defensive mechanism for hiding shame.
Brene talks about how this is different than striving for excellence, having goals and personal growth because at the core it’s about trying to earn approval. To be okay in our own skin despite someone else’s approval takes great courage and faith.
“We’re chasing for the ceiling, I’m grabbing for her hand.” Mat Kearney
“Healthy striving is self-focused, how can I improve, be my best-Perfectionism is other focused: What will they think? Perfectionism is a hustle. And it actually hampers achievement. Perfectionism is exhausting because hustling is exhausting. It’s a never ending performance.”
It’s all tied up in fear.
Fear of failing.
Fear of not being good enough.
Fear of what other people will think.
Instead of moving forward, it’s paralyzing. To be truly dauntless and fearless we need to scrap the idea of trying to be perfect and earning other’s approval.
The Daring Greatly Solution: Appreciating The Beauty Of Cracks
Shield 3: Numbing – It’s tough to admit but I spent most of my life here.
“I’m building bridges that I know you never wanted.” One Republic
“And numbing vulnerability is especially debilitating because it doesn’t just deaden the pain of our difficult experiences; numbing vulnerability also dulls our experiences of love, joy, belonging, creativity, and empathy. We can’t selectively numb emotion. Numb the dark and you numb the light.”
Leaning into the discomfort and tension and allowing ourselves to just flat out feel. That is tough. That is uncomfortable. That is a fearless road to travel. Especially when the feelings can be unpleasant. To move through it is no easy process.
The Daring Greatly Solution: Setting Boundaries, Finding True Comfort, and Cultivating Spirit.
I appreciated processing the three shields just as much as I enjoyed watching the five factions on Divergent. To let down the shields and face your fears.
“Just remember, no matter how smelly your process is right now, it’s good, healthy and necessary. The only way to combat fear and shame is through faith in God and vulnerability with others. . In other words, embrace your stink.” – Emily L. Thomas
The same day I read this quote about our stink and the spiritual growth journey; I found a stinkbug on the bathroom floor. The critter’s body wasn’t moving, only his legs were squirming and reaching in the air. It was like he was dead but the legs continued to move, tickle and taunt.
It made me think about those vulnerability shields, the shame, our past; and for those of us who have struggled with choosing life and believing better along the way.
Knowing Christ, we can know our past, all our guilt and shame, all our sins past, present and future have been nailed to the cross.
Although “It is finished”, some of those dead legs continue to move. The accusations still come. The affects still shove their way into our thoughts and emotions.
The stink is there.
Airing out the stench so the fragrance of who we are in Him can take over. That is a process.
“And every word is nonsense, but I understand.” – Counting Crows
Choosing out of grace instead of shame.
To be brave enough to stink.
And move through the stench.
Help us to know Your love is our rescue. Our defense. Our strength in the stench. Amen.
“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” – 1 John 4:18
I hope you are finding the courage to face your fears one brave moment at a time. To not numb, hustle, or prepare for the worst. To let down the shields and be willing to jump off the train even when you don’t know what is below.
This holiday season may we take those life-giving steps of practicing gratitude, embracing the cracks and cultivating connection wherever we are in this chapter of our story.
Being brave, fearless and undaunted.
And when you find the dead legs of your past taunting you-may you know that there is no fear in love. His love is perfect. His love covers. His love is our hope.
Let’s not just embrace the cracks-but let’s be willing to face the stink so the fragrance can come!
“The Future Belongs to Those Who Know Where They Belong” – Divergent
Love and Hugs,