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Pushing Past Fear

Pushing Past Fear In Pursuit Of Your Unique Life

“Most of us have two lives. The life we live and the unlived life within us. Between the two stands Resistance.”

Steven Pressfield,
The War of Art

Fear is a cold-blooded killer that wants to see you dead.

You can call it Resistance, you can call it the Enemy, you can call it a lot of things. You dream of pushing past fear.  But it all boils down to one thing – fear wants to kill you. Fear wants nothing more than to smother the dream that you have. Fear wants to choke out the unique, singular story that God has wired into your life. It’s a leech in the fact that it can only destroy, but never create. Fear can only rob from life, it can never give life.

Fear looks completely different when you’re viewing it from the outside. When someone else is facing fear we’re all too helpful in urging them forward. But when the fear is encasing your life it’s a different story.

Last year I made the decision to confront the fear and pursue the dream that I’ve carried inside of me for years. I thought the crucial moment it would be different.

I thought that it would happen with a loud fanfare, a swell of emotional music, and quite possibly a dramatic yell where the camera moves to an overhead shot (like in Star Trek, where the Klingons yell to the heavens after a Klingon dies, to warn heaven that a Klingon warrior is headed their way.)

But it wasn’t that way at all.

I found that changing my life started with small, quiet decisions.

I only said seven words.

“This does not work for me anymore.”

I sat in a regular Monday meeting, the same type of Monday ministry meeting that I have sat in for 20 years. Four faux leather chairs forming a square. A squat coffee table in the middle. Square windows overlooking manicured lawns. Decoration in the Christian/casual/corporate vibe, where we do serious business in our flip flops and non-ironic tshirts.

For 20 years I had sat in these same offices, in the same megachurches, having the same conversations regarding numbers and participation and programs and organizational processes. Which volunteers are leading or not leading. Who’s on board with The Vision? Who is not on board with The Vision? Things that I knew were helpful and fun and desired by the congregation. However, while  I always had a title of Pastor, their was very little pastoral work being done.   I was only ever evaluated or paid on the number of programs, and the number of butts in the seats of those programs.

Programs that I knew from experience were not healing people. Processes and programs that were not changing lives, or turning people’s hearts toward God.

And I had to say the truth, because the prospect of my own soul collapsing under the repetitive weight of NO LIFE CHANGE finally overcame the paralyzing fear of losing my livelihood – of losing my whole identity. So I said the seven words.
“This does not work for me anymore.”

And I did not die.

What do you know about that?

Fear is an impotent liar.

So if I may ask, what are the words that you fear might kill you? Here’s a hint – they won’t. Maybe you just need a safe place to test run them. The Red Backpack can be that place.

Pushing past fear in pursuit of your unique life has become focus of this site.

Strapping on your own Red Backpack and pursuing the life that God has designed just for you. Creating a place to connect with other kindred souls, who desire healing and real life change and want to see their dreams become reality.

I do a lot of things. I continue to pastor and serve as a spiritual director for individuals. I lead groups. I speak and consult in both corporate and church settings. I lead retreats. But for this season, I want to focus here. There are a lot of us in this same boat, aware that there is an unlived life inside of us, but paralyzed by the prospect of doing something about it. That’s cool, I’ve been there, and still with it every day.

What is the dream the liar Fear is trying to starve out of you? What do you need to do to act on the dream before it dies? And where is God in all of this?

If you would share in the comments below, that will be great. You never know how much it helps others. Shoot, how much it helps me.

Or if that feels too exposed, you can email me.  I promise that I will reply.

Either way, I’m glad you are here.


About Bill Todd

Bill Todd is a spiritual director and speaker living in Franklin TN. He is patiently loved by Jody Todd, and their children Kaleigh, Hannah, and Liam.


11 thoughts on “Pushing Past Fear In Pursuit Of Your Unique Life

  1. Wow. The first sentence I wrote in my journal this morning, before even knowing that you had written this post, was – What happened to the girl that wasn’t afraid to dream big dreams?

    You have nailed exactly where I am right now, living in fear, instead of where I am supposed to be. I am taking some time to dig deep again and figure out what those dreams and plans were that I have long since buried. Thank you for challenging me this morning. It’s encouraging to know that I’m not alone.

    Posted by Michelle | March 23, 2011, 11:50 am
  2. I love this post. I think most of what we don’t do in our lives is driven by fear. Thanks for putting it into words.

    Posted by Louis Tagliaboschi | March 23, 2011, 5:35 pm
  3. Thanks for joining the conversation, @louistag. Hoping to see your crew soon.

    Posted by Bill Todd | March 23, 2011, 5:48 pm
  4. Love it my friend.

    Fear is such a rat bastard. Can I say that here? 🙂

    What I find interesting is what scares us. It is not a scary creature or horror movie, but usually something that when said and done was never really that bad or that big of a deal.

    I was fearful of resigning from my last job. Crazy fearful but the second I said the words “I am leaving” it was awesome and I then thought why did I worry about this all day.

    My goal daily is to step out on a limb, take one chance, and eliminate a simple fear and put it beside me.

    Keep lugging that Red Back Pack!!!

    Posted by Joseph DuLaney | March 23, 2011, 7:34 pm
  5. I have an Israeli friend who once told me “Fear is a poor teacher.” He lives a peaceful life with a beautiful wife in Iceland, now, but he once served in the Israeli Defense Force. So, I suspect he knows quite a bit about fear. I’ve always cherished that short sentence.

    Gotta be honest, my greatest fear is people loving me. It puts a weight on my shoulders I’d rather not have. It goes back a long way. It’s the reason I’ve never had any children. Tessa is the only woman who has ever gotten through to me. I’m 43. Been with her ten years.

    Posted by Fred Miller | March 24, 2011, 1:15 pm
    • Fred, I found and followed your blog because you make me laugh my ass off. (Warmer weather should help your situation.)

      I continue to follow for the same reasons. And because of the relationship that you two have. When Tessa is able to write, it moves my heart in the best way.


      btw, totally stealing the phrase “Fear is a poor teacher.”

      Posted by Bill Todd | March 24, 2011, 7:16 pm
  6. This is good stuff Bill. How did I not know about the Red Back Pack? I’m glad I realized today that it’s here.

    Fear has been my primary motivator for much of my life, but lately I don’t give in to it so much. Most of what I do is motivated by Love these days, or at least I hope so. But fear still lurks, looking for a chance to squelch any dreams I might try to pursue. Just gotta keep the devil way down in the hole!

    Posted by Brad Harris | March 30, 2011, 1:12 pm
    • L. Ron Hubbard on a bike do I love Tom Waits or what!

      Nope, the Brad that I have watched has been able to move into whatever area you want to, fearful or not. It’s a quality that I want to increase in my own life.

      Posted by Bill Todd | March 30, 2011, 1:37 pm
  7. I ponder this quite a bit. Here is my situation: I actually enjoy my occupation quite a bit, but I worry it lacks significance. I can make justification of how I’m benefiting society (as most occupations can), and I volunteer my time in my community. But I feel the draw of an occupation with greater significance to the weakest among us. For now, I believe it is responsibility that keeps me steadfastly in my current occupation. My sense of responsibility to my family, mostly. The greatest things about my job are the resources and time it gives my family.

    With that set, for now, my challenge is to live true to that responsibility. In other words, use this time of responsible occupation to establish a foundation for future involvement. That means not wasting resources and investing my time wisely with family and close friends.

    I read this post the day it went up, it’s taken me this long to be able to articulate this much. I may have my next blog post forming from this… No promises, though, I’m stingy with my time:)

    Posted by DVD | April 5, 2011, 3:33 pm

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