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The Two ‘F’ Words

 

by Rachel Barrett-Dolcine

rachel1I have a confession to make. Ready? I struggle with faith! Yes, I know…I know…you’re surprised!

Last year, I presented a workshop for one of the nonprofits where I sit on the Board of Directors. The workshop was for women who were interested in starting a business or owned a business for less than three years.  The theme of the workshop was to motivate women to move past their FEARS and take a leap of FAITH. As the women shared their fears, my heart cried. I was once in that seat. Covered in worry. Dripping in fear. Not an ounce of faith anywhere to be found.

Fear and Faith. The two ‘F’ words. Two simple words with so much ‘umph’. Both have the same number of letters, but they are so drastically different in their outcomes.

When I was a little girl, I questioned everything I heard.  Everything I read. Everything I saw.  I remember I was about 10 years old when I called The Bible Answer Man to ask him, “If Adam & Eve were the only two humans created by God, who did their children marry?” His answer was, as you could imagine, mind-blowing—well, for a 10-year-old, anyway!

As I grew older, I quickly realized that I was a strategic thinker. I saw the world for what it could be, not what it looked like in its current state. I often helped my mom figure out alternate solutions to everyday family challenges. My intellect grew. My faith shrank. My fear grew. My world started changing.

When I was seven years old, I accepted Christ as my Savior. I went to the front of my Sunday school class shaking with fear because my Sunday school teacher told us that if we did not accept Christ, we would go to hell when we died. She further explained that we could die today and end up in a lake of fire that could not be put out. This lake of fire was filled with snakes, worms, and other unsightly creatures that would torment us forever.

What was a seven-year-old intellectual to do?! That’s right! You got it! I stood on my skinny, shaking legs and wobbled my way to the altar. There was NO way I was dying that day just to end up in a place that terrible. My logic dictated I choose heaven over hell. That’s how I viewed my relationship with God: figure out the logically right thing to do. Do it or end up in hell. No faith necessary. Fear is a requirement. Make the wrong choice, end up in hell.

My fear grew. And grew. And grew.

In 2010, I decided to pursue an item on my bucket list: starting my own business. I was fearful of failing. I am an overachiever who does not do well with failing or messing up. I decided to keep my full-time job and dab my big toe, once in a while, in the river of business ownership. That worked well for a while, but I knew I was meant to own my own business.

In 2014, I lost my full-time job. My Fear almost had me by the throat. This time, I decided I was not going to let fear get the best of me! Fear is a liar! I put my big girl shoes on and jumped feet first in faith! It was the best decision I ever made.

Here are four things I have learned about the two ‘F’ words:rachel2

  1. FEAR is a big fat LIAR! The devil capitalizes on our weak human nature and holds us captive in our minds. God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7)!Faith is much more than believing what I don’t see (Hebrews 11:1). Faith is completely trusting without a shadow of a doubt that the plan that God has for my life is perfect and complete. The way has already been paved for me. My passage has been paid for with
  2. Faith is much more than believing what I don’t see (Hebrews 11:1). Faith is completely trusting without a shadow of a doubt that the plan that God has for my life is perfect and complete. The way has already been paved for me. My passage has been paid for with precious blood. I just need to walk, run, skip…whatever I need to do. I just need to move. Go. Get up!
  3. Faith and fear nullify each other. Both cannot coexist in the same soul. You can only have one or the other. The ‘F’ you feed is the ‘F’ that grows. Period.
  4. When we let our fear blind our faith, we are limiting God. God’s desire is for us to trust him wholeheartedly. I can’t trust if I am not vulnerable. I can’t have faith if I don’t trust God without question.

Today, I am not 100% fear-free, but I am well on my way to living a life of total faith. Will you join me?

 

RachelDRachel J. Barrett-Dolcine, CEO of Compass Consulting and Training Solutions is an innovative strategist with extensive experience in training & development, nonprofit management and consulting for small business start-ups. Through its Community Giving Back Program, Compass facilitates free training classe
s and workshops for nonprofit and community organizations that are on a limited budget.

Rachel is an Adjunct Faculty member at two local community colleges, a Certified CPR/First Aid Train the Trainer Instructor, an approved Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) Office of Childcare (OCC) Core of Knowledge Trainer. She also sits on two nonprofit boards and is the Founder of the Joseph & Vera Douglas Family Foundation.

Rachel lives in Randallstown, Maryland with her husband and son.

Peeling Off the Layers of My Fear

 

photo (1)I am afraid. You might not see it, but it is very real to me. I deal with it well, because I am used to it as an entrepreneur. I have learned to manage it and walk through it daily. I walk through it with my business. The chaos swirls around me, and I clear away the dust and shine bright!

Yet, it is still lurking. It is in the back rooms of my personal life that it comes out in a load roar. The fear is bigger there. It captures me.

I am loveable.

I am valuable, loveable, worthy to be embraced. It is my fear that holds me hostage. It is my wondering if you can handle me. . .the real me. . .the secret me.

The me that is hungry and loud.

The me that has dishes in her sink, papers and binders on her office floor.

The me that talks a lot and wants attention.

The me that is afraid of being vulnerable, because she is the one that is a leader for the public group.

The me that wants you to know that I need help, and I don’t know how to ask for it.

The me that hates spreadsheets, can’t cook, and really cares less about politics.

Will you love me? Her? That girl?

Or will I be “too much” or “intimidating”?

Can you keep up with me? I am too tired and can’t drag anyone with me anymore. . .been there done that. I have a lot of the t-shirts.

I am committed to embracing the hundred forms of fear. They will not win, and they will not steal my life from me.

At a recent retreat I attended, we had an exercise on fear. We were asked to name our fear and write down it down in sharpie on a rock.

My rock says fear of being alone and fear of being loved.

These two might seem like opposites, but they are both very real and true for me. As I walked through the feelings, I had to come up with a first step to write on the other side of the rock. The other side of my rock now says let myself be loved.

I am ready. I am willing. I am peeling off the layers. The right person will love all of me—the good and the bad (or the parts I think I need to hide).

Thank you God for creating me, loving me, and always helping me get to the next place!

DianeYellowDiane Cunningham is the Founder and President of the National Association of Christian Women Entrepreneurs. She is a “business therapist,” plane crash survivor, author, consultant, speaker, marathon runner, and fun friend. Find out more about NACWE and why 165 women joined in the first year at www.NACWE.org. Connect with Diane at her Facebook page  for fun updates, silly videos, and lively conversation.