Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Scared.... And Not Afraid To Say It

It's the week before Halloween and everywhere I look there are scary things: Ghosts, skeletons, witches, gravestones, spiders and their webs. Can I just say right off the top, I don't really care for Halloween. There are two reasons really. The first is that, being in the theater business, I'm dealing with costumes and dressing in character all year round. There's nothing really enticing for me to get into some kind of character or costume. In fact, I find it kind of weird that adults get so excited about it. When I answer the door for the Trick-or-Treaters, its just as likely that the parents are as dressed up as the kids. "Whoo-hoo" for them (Darth Vader and Marge from the Simpsons) but there's always that awkward moment of whether I should throw a Snickers or Skittles into their bag too (and why do they have a bag anyway?)
The second (and main) reason I'm not a big fan of Halloween is because I don't like to be scared. My boys will attest to the fact. I DO NOT LIKE TO BE SCARED. I avoid scary movies. I hate it when someone sneaks up on me. I don't like being in scary situations. On Friday, I am putting myself in a very scary situation by going to a play that I already know is, as my son Daniel put it, the "scariest play I've ever seen." I'm already really scared and it's still 3 days away. The play, titled, Woman in Black, is a ghost story that requires only 2 actors assuming various roles. I asked Daniel to send me the synopsis of the play, thinking if I read the plot, I would know what to expect. Wrong. I read the synopsis and now I am more scared than I was before. Thankfully, Isaac and Andrew (who, oddly, LIKE scary things) are coming with me. Their hands will be crushed by the sheer transference of fear from my hands to theirs by the end, I am sure. (You may be wondering why I am going at all, if I am so afraid. Its a long story but the bottom line is, its something I want to do to support someone who showed me a great kindness recently).
The funny thing is that the traditional form of scary fears I am referring to doesn't hold a candle to the fear I felt today. I got myself so worked up with fear, I actually threw up. No kidding.
Why? What was I so afraid of? Well, I had to make a few cold calls. That's all. My non-profit, Christian Arts and Theatre, is in the first few days of our 50 Day Year-End Challenge to raise $50,000. The Lord laid it on my heart to launch this challenge and so we did 3 days ago. I'm praying every day that the Lord is going to find a way but the truth is that clearly it is for me to do the work. Man, it's so easy on paper or when I am talking to my staff or board members. It's even easy to write about it (See, I am NOT scared now!) But this afternoon, I needed to call a businessman I had met last week to see if he had made a decision whether or not he wanted to help with the challenge and I was paralyzed. I was so afraid. I called my friend, Mary, who had introduced me to this very nice man and told her I was afraid. "What's the worst that can happen", she asked? Of course, I knew the answer (all together now),"He could say 'no'". That's right. The worst thing that could happen is that he could say no. What is so scary about that? Well, it will mean that I have failed. That some how I didn't use the right words to convince him of the value of helping CAT or the very real need we have or how sure I am that God wants him to give us a donation. I just didn't want to blow it. And I didn't want him to say no. And he was just the first call I wanted to (theoretically) make.
1 Chronicles 28:20 says: "Then David continues, 'Be strong and courageous and DO THE WORK (emphasis mine) Do not be afraid or discouraged for the Lord God, my God is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you." BOY! Now that's a fear-slayer of a verse, isn't it? Doesn't that make you feel confident? I have been given this task - this task of the 50 Day Challenge and I need to face my fear, pick up that phone and talk to everyone about it and leave the results to the Lord. I cannot control what Mr. Very Nice Businessman decides to do. I can only DO THE WORK.
[By the way, I did make the call and was sent through to his voice mail (maybe he was avoiding me, maybe he really was in a meeting....) and now I will need to call again tomorrow. So I get the chance to face my fear ALL over again. ]
What scares you besides the ghouls and goblins waiting behind every bush and tree this time of year? Hey, God's promise is for us all - he's with us and he won't fail or forsake us. So come on, join me in buckin' up on courage. I'll make more cold calls and you do your scary thing. I'll work on raising that $50,000 and you tell me what God helped you do: We've got 50 days to accomplish something big. I can't wait to hear your story and I can't wait to tell you the end of mine!

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