In the past few years, I have embarked on the journey of getting to know “myself.” In key moments I have stopped and asked myself questions like, “Why did I respond that way?” and “What makes me do that?” In other words, I have tried to figure out what makes me tick. It has been a worth while endeavor; I have learned a lot about myself and have grown in the process.
Now for those of you who might be tempted to say something like, “Now Eric there is a lot of my, me, I and myself in this post.” My response is simple. In order to serve, help and invest relationally in others you must “know” yourself. -If you ever conquer the beast of “self,” all those other beasts that you are fighting out in the world become a lot smaller. Trust me.
During my journey of discovery I have learned that many of my actions are dictated by fear. “Fear?” you might ask. -Yes, I know. I was a bit surprised when I discovered this about myself as well. I have never considered myself to be a fearful person. However as I unraveled the motives that play into my everyday life, I found fear to be a central motivator. I would imagine that this would be no surprise to a well trained, well seasoned psychologist. (If one ever happens to read this post, please chime in and let us know.)
Anyway, I find great liberty in understanding the fears that motivate me. Understanding them allows me to understand how I “tick.” In addition, understanding my fears enables me to make good choices, the “right” choices for me. Furthermore, understanding my fears empowers me to be aware of the wrong choices that I can potentially make. Because, as we all know, fear can be a negative motivator just as much as a positive one.
I have listed my greatest fears below with short descriptions. I find writing about them to be a good exercise in understanding them. Also, I cannot help but think that my transparent thoughts might encourage some of you to take some time for personal reflection so that you can discover something new about your own self.
Two more quick thoughts before I share: Except for the first fear, they are in no particular order. Also, just because I do not have a very important thing listed as a fear, that does not mean it is not important to me. It just means that fear is not a motivator in that aspect of my life. (For example: I am convinced that God loves me unconditionally and I “rest” in His love, therefore “fear” is not a part of that relationship.)
-I am afraid of failing my children -as a parent. I find myself making many decisions based out of this fear. Overall, I think this is a very positive motivator. (Notice I said, “a fear of failing,” not “a fear that they will not love me.” There is a HUGE difference between the two.
-I am afraid of the direction that I see our society tracking: morally, spiritually, intellectually, politically, etc. Because of this fear and my love for mankind, I am compelled to invest in others and to do what I can to make a positive difference in society.
-I am afraid of being alone. I understand that God designed mankind for relationship. Understanding this Truth drives me to cultivate relationships. I am aware that my purpose and any meaningful contributions that I might make to society revolve around relationships with others. In addition, I understand that I will only find true happiness in relationships with others. (This concept is a good one to wrestle with, but I firmly believe the teachings of Jesus support it.) “Our purpose” is intertwined with “others.”
-I am afraid of living a mediocre life. One of my biggest fears is to be sitting on my front porch, in a rocking chair, when I am 85 years old, -with the regrets of a mediocre “safe” life. When I say mediocre, I do not mean mediocre in income, station, or worldly influence. I mean mediocre in that I did not invest my life anywhere. I mean mediocre that I buried my life rather than risking it all. I mean mediocre in that I look back and encounter memories of a selfish, fearful person. I mean mediocre in that all I am left with in my old age is “could have been’s” No amount of wealth, no level of station and no measure of worldly influence could satisfy “that man.” -The picture of “that man” scares me to death. And it motivates me to positively respond to all of these fears.
So… if you want to know what makes Eric Starkey “tick.” There you have it, or at least a big part of it.
*What are you afraid of? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.
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