“The choices are never easy.
We can nurse wounds of having been cheated in life, or we can be grateful and joyful, even though there seems to be little reason for it.
It is this power to choose that adds dignity to our humanity.”
~ Gerald Sittser, Professor of Christian Spirituality
The other day, someone asked me whether I was a Glass-Half-Full or Glass-Half-Empty type of person. I hadn’t been asked that in a while and stopped to think about it.
“Well… I used to totally see the glass half full when I was younger. Until I got burned living that way.
I became the glass-half-empty type. I started seeing how everything could go wrong, to protect myself against making mistakes.”
The funny thing is, life did seem to get better. I felt more in control. I took pride in successfully predicting how the chips would fall.
But, I noticed a side-affect of such “smart” living.
I started losing my edge. My faith edge.
I started disappearing in a shroud of avoiding rejection — whether it was relational or taking risks with new things.
Changes were subtle, but my consistent picks to stay safe yielded a life of predictability… creating a wall of people-pleasing, fearful calculations that made spontaneity and joy pretty scarce.
Thank God, my memories of the glass-half-full life came back to bug me every so often. In the form of… regrets.
The Greater Pain Of Regret
I hid myself from the possibility of pain so well, I reached a point where the pain of regret outgrew the pain of rejection.
I got it wrong. I will be burned regardless of how I saw the water in my glass. Rejection is a universal human experience.
The difference in living a fearless life versus a fearful life, however, was unmistakable.
One seeks out the good, while the other lives to control the bad.
The Four Golden Rules
Will I live creating a trail of regrets on what I coulda-woulda done?
Or will I choose to live, trying to be fearless, and actually do this thing called life?
I came up with The Four Golden Rules of Fearless Living and started coming out of my shell:
1. Choose the Harder Choice.
2. Keep It Real With Others.
3. Practice Seeing the Glass-Half-Full.
4. Pray For Courage To Make Mistakes.
These four pointers challenged me to keep my faith edges sharp.
Keep That Faith Edge Sharp
Each time we attempt one of the above, we are exercising faith.
We risk rejection for the opportunity to live true to the desires God’s placed in us.
We exercise choice, trusting that God’s plan for us is bigger than our mistakes.
It’s ultimately a question of whether we trust in God’s goodness.
— Catch me when I fall?
— Replenish friends if I’m betrayed?
— Heal my broken bones if I’m hurt?
— Restock the storehouses if I’m robbed?
— Still bless me, when I make mistakes?
I’m not saying it’s easy, but man, consider the alternative.
Acquiescing to fear might seem easier. But, the cost to living less than the life God intended is also steeper than it appears.
I still get hurt, but I am learning to love my glass half-full.
Whenever I’m tempted to go back to the way I was, I return to the One who drank the cup that looked half empty one dark night.
He fills my cup every time.
If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it.
But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it.
~ Jesus, Luke 9:24
Is your glass half full or half empty?
Which of the Four Fearless Rules is God nudging you to try?
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*Today’s 3/8/12 Writing Prompt:* fearless.
*Next Faith Jam: TBD in April.I’m entering the final trimester to my first “book pregnancy”. It’s time for me to take a deep breath and focus my keystrokes to completing the manuscript. I’ll be taking a break from serving up faith prompts for our faith jam for a bit. Thanks for encouraging my heart through your posts, making my world warmer, less alone and filled with your stories, memories and as-is reflections. I’m looking forward to swapping stories again then!
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Today’s post is refreshed from the archives.
I’m headed for an adventure of a lifetime in three days. God always seems to give you my number when He has something to say.
My biggest challenge ahead will be to keep it real…Golden Rule #2.
With a team of thirty travelers, I know that I will want to play it safe and stay out of everyone’s way. But the real, God-given-me loves new friends and has a lot to share. I hope to act on the freedom God has spoken into my life. Enough talk about freedom…..now is the time to live and breathe it.
Go Julie! Share the real you — God-given-you who loves new friends… We’ve loved how you’ve shared yourself here… now, bless others! He’s called you to be on the team for just who you are!
Numbers 2 is what I need to focus on. I have a tendency to put on a nice-nice, everything is great facade with people I should be keeping it real with. That is a defense mechanism – fear of how they would react or what they would think if I was more “real.” Thanks for this challenge. It is a good thing for me to work on.
Me too. 🙂 … Thanks for being here and sharing that with us. Can you hear — we’re all breathing a relief, hearing it’s just not our “defense mechanism”. 😉 How fun it would be to get together, Courtney — so thankful for having you online in lieu of that!
I’ve always been a glass half full kind of person. When I think back on the most difficult times in my life I see where I got kind of hard or cynical for a time, but somehow (overall) I’ve managed to maintain that aspect of hope.
That is so awesome, Kristine! It’s a story of how God has kept your heart safe. Love that spirit in you, friend!
My challenge is making mistakes. It really knocks my self-esteem which has been low most of my life. I’m afraid that others will see me as not so good, as I see myself, and not like me anymore. I will pray for courage to make mistakes and realize that I am never “lesser” in Jesus’ eyes. I am the Father’s beautiful daughter and the only way I really learn something is through mistakes. I just need to learn to forgive myself, because I know that God forgives me and delights in me because He made me.
I know what you mean, Angie! I’ve been feeling this way and asking God to remind me of it this week especially! 🙂
Once again, you’ve hit on a topic that challenges me! I love your four golden rules of fearless living. #4 is one that gets me. I love to stay within my comfort zone for fear that I’ll make mistakes. I fear being humiliated. I know this stems back to something that happened in my childhood. But if I look at the alternative, I will be allowing that to control my life and prevent me from living out God’s desires and plan for me.
I love that we have a choice. And that’s what I blog about often on Heart Choices!
I’m praying for you as your book deadline approaches. And I look forward to reading it once it’s published. I also look forward to our next writing prompt in April.
Blessings and love,
Oh, it is so hard, isn’t it? But, we are facing the right direction, you and me… and our sisters in arms. Yes, please pray for me, Debbie! You know! 🙂
I needed to hear this today, Bonnie! Thank you for this powerful post!
Oh, Holley! I’m wishing you were right here at my kitchen counter! I’d pour you a hot cup of coffee, stir in hazelnut and cream, right along mine. We’d laugh and eat cinnamon raisin bagels with butter together — and pray for each other on this spring rain morning!
Wow! that was something… I so needed to hear this… I am branching out on starting a email devotion that I will send to friends… something GOD has placed in my heart for some time and I am finally going to start. After reading this today… I know GOD is with me and I will be able to do just what he wants me to do…. thank you so much.!!!
GO, JULES!! Write… as a gift to God… He feels your heart and He wants you to share it!
I grew up living a half full glass, always positive, always believing the good. But, these last several years, I’ve noticed I’ve become more protective, because of unmet expectations. I’ve noticed I’ve become withdrawn, trying to keep myself from getting hurt. I read this morning that the opposite of thankfulness is bitterness. And that bitterness creeps in slowly without us realizing. I want to become a half full person again, having a child-like faith again, and get rid of the bitterness that has crept in. I want to be thankful again, and get back to faith-living, I want to be courageous again.
I think it’s a tie for me between # 1–choose the harder choice, and # 2–courage to make mistakes. Because I question myself if the hard choice I’ve made might be a mistake.
But even if it is, God can correct it, right? I don’t want to “lose my faith edge.” (I love that phrase!) I don’t want to just try “to control the bad”, but rather to “seek out the good.”
What a great post to send us out on. I’ll continue praying for your final trimester and book birth to be a glorious experience with as little pain as possible. You’re wonderful, Bonnie!
(Oops–that # 2 should have been # 4. A mistake already!)
I find that I usually say I have an empty cup if I don’t have what I think I should have. When I stop to look at what God has given me, I can see so many blessings and that I’m just looking for peace, fulfillment, and joy in the wrong places. I’ve had to go through so much rejection and failure over the past 5 years, and yet I am full and there is hope because God is not limited by my past. I don’t know how that works, but I’m grateful.
Praying today that God will give you his fullness as you press on in the work that he has called you to do. Be blessed Bonnie!
Thank you for this great post this is something that i struggle with all my life and trying to overcome so thank you
I really like your #1, to choose the harder way. It’s too easy to think that an obstacle means “God is closing the door.” But I just read something to the contrary in 1 Cor. 16:9, “for a wide door for effective service has opened to me, and there are many adversaries.” (Paul had opposition, yet he considered that a wide-open door.) Over and over I see in Scripture that the easier way is definitely not the best way.
[…] am linking up with Bonnie today as we discuss fearless. Will you join me […]
“Whenever I’m tempted to go back to the way I was, I return to the One who drank the cup that looked half empty one dark night.”– whew! That’s powerful, Bonnie!
I grew up being a half empty kind of person- always expecting the worst. What I realized is that I was trying to control everything to minimize the pain but I ended up not really enjoying life.
I still have control issues, however as I have began to allow Christ to rule my life I am finding my view point is brighter and I am a happier person. Control really isn’t all that great. Much nicer to trust in the creator of the Universe than in my lowly self.
Love this line: “One seeks out the good, while the other lives to control the bad.”
All your golden rules are priceless!
My glass is half full but when I am in the presence of God is overflows! Thanks you for a great post.
That fear of making mistakes–it is a powerful one, isn’t it. And, I’m afraid (there’s that word) I may have emphasized avoiding mistakes far too often when raising my kids. I’m thankful He’s still teaching me that life is more than avoiding fear. I’m guessing He loves my kids enough to teach them as well. Maybe He’ll even use me.
I’ll miss you. Can’t wait to see what you’re birthing!
As a writer, I face rejections and have developed a thick skin. As a Christian, facing rejections from people aren’t easy to accept. But nonetheless I go forward extending my hand in friendship anyway. I learned a long time ago that God heals broken hearts.
A great post for reflection, Bonnie. I am exercising keeping it real with others. My only reason for writing is to be open and vulnerable, to show others God’s faithfulness in my failings. I will miss our Thursday Faith Jam but totally understand your need for extra time to write. I am so excited for you! Praying God guides you to book completion.
I was burned in my late teens/ early twenties and ever since, I always feel as though I am rushing through life, simply trying to get through it with a minimum of pain and screw ups. I am definitely not seeking out joy, nor do I ever take the harder path, I’m just trying to get this thing (life) over and done with.
This post really opened my eyes. I am going to surrender this attitude to God and I will definitely be praying for the courage to LIVE. Thanks again, Bonnie.
Thank you so much Bonnie. I am glad to know I am not along in my struggle, and I am blessed by this post! Past rejection and abandonment has left scars on me. Fear and paranoia keep me from truly living. And I have realized that all these things have left me unable to truly, truly, to the depth of my being, trust God. I don’t trust Him with my heart. I fear that, because He knows more than I do what is best for me, He would allow more into my life than I am prepared for. I know this isn’t the plan He has for me, and I know He wants me to be set free, but it is oh so hard. Thank you for the guidance and encouragement; you are such a blessing!
The truth of my past had been hidden for so long. Although healing has been the harder choice, I feel my cup of redemption is more than half full. The challenge God has me facing is keeping life real instead of hiding. No more secrets. On the way to my future, I am presently rowing the boat backwards through my past in cleansing waters of Grace.
Love this post, Bonnie! I love especially your rule “Choose the harder choice”–that’s the hardest one for me, but so rewarding! So glad to hear that you’re at work on your book–what an incredible faith-journey and journey of courage that is! Blessings to you as you work especially hard on it right now this month and next–will be thinking of and praying for you! Blessings!
So much of our journeys have been similar and I am encouraged to see how and where the Lord has taken you through every step of the way.
You are a blessing!
half empty … half full … my cup runs over!
that thought only strcuk me by reading your post!
thanks faith barista!
So glad that I followed the trail from inCourage posting to this. Not a good geek/techie person but wanted to say thank you. Dealing with rejection and betrayal in the midst of loss has me stuck in the ‘control’ place and I needed to read your posts this evening. They are a nudge to jump back into faith and the joy of freedom I once had…now off to take one step at a time. Thanks so much.
[…] Jesus is telling me I must – trust Him. With the truth. Of why I’ve been away. The last time I wrote to you on my blog was March 15, 2012. That was four months […]
i have always been scared of making mistakes in life,i felt so rejected.expecially when i dnt dont get what i wanted.i felt God has forgoten me.bt today im so happy.thnx Bonnie