Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.
It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others. – Marianne Williamson
Question: What do you fear about you being great?
40 thoughts on “Our Deepest Fear”
My favorite quote of all time Chris.
I do not fear being great, achieving greatness. I fear the consequences of aiming for greatness and missing. That is all that has ever held me back from chasing every dream.
I do not fear failure itself, just the consequences. I do not fear the effort required for greatness or the pain that results along the way. Only the consequences.
That the thing I’m good at, they aren’t… and therefore get offended. Been scolded for that one before. More than once. 🙁
For me, it’s the discomfort that comes from being the center of attention. At this point, it’s not something that I have to worry about. I have a long way to go before it would be an issue!
Thanks for a very inspiring post today!
This is one of my favorite motivational quotes. I think the fear of being great is fed by that little voice saying “Your kind of good but so is everyone else”. It’s the fear that it is not real and others are just trying to be nice when they say I did a good job. Fear of failing or making mistakes or coming across as foolish. Fear also of the responsibilities that are associated with achieving greatness and wondering if I can handle them.
The question looming in the back of my mind is sometimes “What do I really have to offer to the world?”
Offer yourself- that is all you have to give and all the world needs. You were created to be the perfect you- Trust Him and go for it.
“What if I stumble, what if I fall?
What if I lose my step and I make fools of us all?
Will the love continue when my walk becomes a crawl?
What if I stumble, and what if I fall? ”
DC TALK (http://www.lyricsfreak.com/d/dc+talk/what+if+i+stumble_20037744.html)
My fear is being great in the wrong thing. I’ve been blessed/cursed with this overwhelming sense of optimism that I can achieve whatever I want. While that may be true, I’d rather stay in touch with what it is I’m meant to do.
I think you are meant to do that which brings you joy. The world needs your joy, not just what you are good at doing. Embrace your paths with light and love and trust in who created you. You will be the best you can be when you open to all the possibilities and not hinge it on social conventions or propriety. Make your own definition of success and greatness by being whom God created you to be- a joyful creature doing his work.
“According to Time magazine, “Yoga, the Cabala and Marianne Williamson have been taken up by those seeking a relationship with God that is not strictly tethered to Christianity.” This came off her website. I personally don’t agree with her. I don’t think we fear the light;I think we fear what the light of God exposes. Then once exposed; the question we must ask ourselves..are we courageous enough to trust HIM by not focusing on our imperfections but on His Perfection? If we are going to be brave, then our journey towards Him, Jesus, will be where we learn to overcome our deepest fear(s).
Just read this article today, enjoyed it, and feel it speaks to this conversation:
Have a great day!
Chris – love this quote. I still have some old Mennonite messages lurking in my brain – to never promote ourselves and be constantly reminded that we are dirt. However, opportunities to provide hope and encouragement to others have given me more confidence in my voice being valuable. It’s probably too late for me to be “gorgeous” but I do want to be “brilliant and fabulous.”
Thanks for the reminder!
Dan, you’re brilliant, fabulous, and gorgeous too, in a completely platonic, man-crush kind of way. Thanks for many years of encouragement you’re probably unaware (until now, that is) that you’ve given me.
The fear of both ends, of failing _and_ of succeeding, keeps most of us from ever trying. And you’re right, it’s the fear of succeeding that scares me most of all.
I can hear the enemy whispering to me, “But if you succeed, you’ll just have that much further to fall when you eventually do fall, and you know you will fall because you always do, remember?”
The funny thing is that when I close my ears and see with my heart, I find God is there ahead of me, smiling and waiting for me to take the next step.
Thanks for a very inspirational reminder today, brother.
I am generally introverted, so public success takes me out of my comfort zone. Also, there is a fear of what to do after success. How would I have to manage my time? What would I have to change about my schedule? What do I shoot for next?
I think the biggest recurring fear of greatness I have is this- “what if I’m the only one who thinks I’m great”? What if what I think is great and amazing is actually tired and ordinary. What if scores have done it better, faster, and for longer than I have? These are fears that make me pause. And then I do another set. If I live in fear of the future, I don’t have one. All I can control is the next right decision. God, make me strong so the weak see your strength in me.
The alternative to not growing in all ways is not to stay the same, but to wilt away. Great post Chris!
Too true that many of us live only in the lives of quiet desperation which God did not intend for us. We live quite aptly up to the full measure of Thoreau’s quote but need not to. To step forward and be great like called to be. Great post and I like your minimalist blogging style here.
Until 2012, that is what I believed about myself. I was inadequate, unworthy, stupid, etc. i cannot begin to explain in a comment how horribly that affected my life.
But thanks to a couple absolutely wonderful people in my life (AND GOD!) I now know freedom from those mis-perceptions.
And because I’m still on this amazing high from finally being able to truly live, I do not fear greatness!!
Though, if I really think about it, I may not fear the hardships I may face…. But I do fear the hurt I may cause others.
What a “thinker” you’ve given us, Chris 🙂
Wow Laura, I admire your honesty and bravery and am so glad you have turned things around! I agree that I fear hurting the people around me, even unintentionally.
Sometimes I let my fear of looking stupid or saying something stupid stop me from achieving great things. The truth is, we ALL have our “stupid” moments.
Chris, I fear, as people see me as a leader, that I will let someone down or lead them down the wrong path.
Joseph, that is exactly the reason that the Bible warns people to not be too eager to teach – leaders are held accountable for presenting bad information!
Joseph and Jana, The truth is that we cannot not lead.
What’s cool is that Christ taught and demonstrated the perfect model for righteous leadership.
He choose to love others in advance of ever meeting them and therefore all of his choices and actions were thus guided in spite of how people treated him
I like what 1 John says – Perfected or practiced love drives away fear, because fear keeps us from following or modeling Christ
What do I fear about being great? Tons. Having to make decisions I’ve never made, do things I’ve never done. Be concerned/responsible for more than just myself and my family. Failing. Criticism.
Should I continue? I can, for a long time.
I’ve leavened my mind is excellent and coming up with things to fear.
I love this quote. One of my favorites Chris. Thanks for sharing!
I fear being great at something that causes me to be poor with other parts of my life, such as my marriage, relationship with God and health.
Joel, I think that has held me back from whole-heartedly going after several opportunities. When I had a public art studio, I KNOW it could have been more successful if I had been willing to work 10 hours a day, 6 (or even 7) days a week. But, had I done that, I’d probably not still be married.
Joel and Jana,
I can relate. Check out this by the late Stephen Covey for helping put it into better perspective.
Oops here is the video link http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-357998200076562861
I don’t fear being great, I fear not being great.
Robert Jacobs, I agree with you!
I’ve spent the day at the Global Leadership Summit broadcast from Willow Creek Church, and something Bill Hybels said in his talk was that it is a privilege to be a leader – so my fear is that I would think that I was the reason for the greatness, and not realize that God is working through me.
What I fear? The sophomore slump. Even if my hard work, preparation and drive meet an opportunity, and I am successful that still leaves me wondering if:
1. I can pull it off again
2. God will provide another opportunity
3. I may fail on a grand scale much more visible after the first success.
I struggled for years because I kept asking myself deficient questions. It was when I started asking myself better questions that many of my doubts faded and fear was chased away.
1. I can pull it off again because it is God who fights the battle through me
2. I will get quiet and draw close to God and he will show me what is next
3. There are no failures only lessons learned and it’s none of my business what others think about me.
The toughest thing about success is that you’ve got to keep on being a success. – Irving Berlin
Erik – you spoke my heart! When I succeed, the first thing I wonder – can it happen again?
My fear is not achieving the greatness that i intend to. I fear failure, but have been learning and fighting with that fear in order to accomplish the goals that I have for my life.
But not the only fear of failing but also succeeding and what to do when it comes.
Mahalo and Aloha for sharing your information, and being awesome on the entreleadership podcasts.
I’ve never understood this quote, and appreciate all the discussion about it (and CLo for initiating it).
“Great” can mean many different things, as can “successful”. I want to be the best artist I can, the best drawing teacher possible, the best muralist around, and have a magnetic blog too! I want to earn a decent living instead of a barely-scraping-by one. But with artistic success comes a degree of fame. Fame is something I fear – it destroys people.
So, every day, every new task, I ask God to show me the best way to proceed. (Okay, not EVERY task. Should be, but isn’t.) How can I bring Him glory while painting and drawing in silence and solitude?
There is always an element of pressure that comes along with success. But, I feel the pressure of success is always better than the pressure of failure.
This quote spoke to me years ago – I printed it out and kept it in front of me. I realized then that my “…..playing small did not serve the world….” – or God – in the way He had planned for me. Since I “got” this concept (Ephesians 1 also), I have had the mantra “go big or go home…”! Thanks for a great blog, Chris!