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Pushing Past Fear

Pushing Past Fear to Embrace Your Unique Vocation

“A new spirituality is being born in you.  Not body denying or body indulging, but truly incarnational.  You have to trust that this spirituality can find shape within you, and that it can find articulation through you.  You will discover that many other spiritualities you have admired and tried to practice no longer completely fit your unique call. You will begin sensing when other people’s experiences and ideas no longer match your own.  You have to start trusting your unique vocation. And allow it to grow deeper and stronger in you so you can blossom in your community.”


Henri Nouwen, The Inner Voice of Love




A children’s pastor begins to wonder if she is only there to put out congregational fires.

A senior pastor begins to understand that neither his current home church nor the church he is being called to match the unique imprint that God has asked him to make.

A worship pastor heads for the private sector to use the organizational strengths in his head and heart.

A pastoral counselor sits in his office and says that same words that I did.  “I just can’t do it this way any more.”


The more that I talk about the changes that are happening in the evangelical church that I have known, the more change I hear coming.


It’s happening in the private sector as well.


There’s a lot of talent headed out the door.


So, what’s your perspective on all of this?


Leave a comment if you wish.  Or you can continue to email me.  (I have got a lot of emails.  I imagine that it feels safer talking that way.  Thanks for being willing to talk.  I take your trust seriously.)


What say you?


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.


6 thoughts on “Pushing Past Fear to Embrace Your Unique Vocation

  1. Well sir…we have talked about this a few times eh?

    I think most people simply stay where it is safe especially when things around them might seem out of whack. In words aligned with this message, People fear change in light of uncertainty and the environment around them.

    I believe however, that people who can push past that fear, are the “risk” takers that become the admired. If you ever look at ultra successful people, they took a risk and pushed past fear when everyone told them it was the wrong time and place. An example of this is that more successful business start ups happen during a recession than they do during an economic boom. Why? I think it is because fear drives some to do something different and the economic situation leads to an extended focus which combines for success.

    Well…that’s my two cents…worth what ya pay for it 🙂

    Posted by Joseph DuLaney | March 30, 2011, 2:04 pm
  2. I don’t know why exactly it’s happening. Maybe we’re just noticing it more? But I know I’m in the middle of this change that you speak of. I think part of it is coming to the realization that we are created to do something more than just exist here, paycheck to paycheck. Maybe recreate awakened senses that we had long since buried. That in turn has made us more aware of our dreams and passions and the needs that must be met around us. And as the influencers that we area (as Randy calls us), we are affecting those we come in contact with, being the catalyst for change.

    Posted by Michelle | March 30, 2011, 5:38 pm
    • Michelle, agree with the points you make.

      I also think that there is a widespread sense of disappointment driven by economic changes. A flourishing economy doesn’t prompt much personal reflection. Things are good, whey mess with them.

      But as I examine my own complacency that developed over years, combined with the disgust over the behavior of “Wall Street” that exacerbated the situation, there is a palpable need to find a better way to live.

      Thanks for being in on the conversation.

      Posted by Bill Todd | April 1, 2011, 7:02 am
  3. I appreciate this topic and discussion — it’s very close to my heart and my call having left 30 years in the corporate world to help people live with meaning. This involves committing to a process of deeply knowing oneself, practicing stillness in some way, facing fears, developing faith and having courage to leap into what one is called to. This are all big asks in the busy, mobile, socially-networked world we live in. Yet, so many I encountered in the Fortune 500’s (and smaller companies) were unhappy in work and life. Yes facing and moving past our fears is so important as both Joseph and Todd mention.

    As I wrote in a recent blog post, “Growth and discovery always involve risk and with taking risks comes fear. So, we simply must learn how to cope with fear when it appears and to disengage it before it settles into a more serious form of anxiety or worry. Too often our hopes, dreams and callings become impaired or thwarted by distorted fears and worries.” http://5steppingstones.com/Faith-and-Fear

    I’m encouraged and inspired by what you share here. We must continue the work we do to support those who want to make changes but need help doing so. And support each other with discussion like this. So thanks for participating.

    Great Henri Nouwen quote, too — thanks for posting.

    Posted by kate bednarski | June 12, 2012, 7:50 pm
    • Kate, thanks for the kind and thoughtful response. The point about unchallenged fear growing into impairment is spot on. We both see this in our respective work daily. Checked out your site. Keep up the good fight.

      Posted by Bill Todd | June 13, 2012, 10:43 am

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