An Encouraging Word – Limited by fear

Father J. Ronald Knott
Father J. Ronald Knott

Fear is useless. Luke 8:50

It still happens after all these years. I get on a plane by myself heading out to some far-flung diocese to face hundreds of priests and realize that I am overcome with fear and doubt — fear of rejection and doubt about my capabilities.

Even though I haven’t had a disaster yet (on the contrary, I’ve received appreciative acceptance), I have to talk myself up and my demons down every time I take off on another speaking trip.

I can still remember being paralyzed by the same fear and doubt before opening the box in which my first published book arrived — fear of rejection and doubt about my ability.

I have come to believe that many never become all they could be because of two things.

(1) They are intimidated by the judging voices of others.

(2) They are intimidated by their own self-doubting voice.

Both voices say basically the same thing: Who are you to do such and such? Who do you think you are, anyway?

These demons must be slain or we will end up “settling” for a life marked by dullness. Angelina Jolie said this, “If you ask people what they’ve always wanted to do, most people haven’t done it. That breaks my heart.”

The secret is to face your fears, stand up to your own cowardice and do hard things for your own good. I have learned — from years of doing this — that you end up amazed at the great things that can happen to you!

Another thing I have learned is that it takes an amazing amount of concentration of the will to overcome imbedded negative messages from childhood, but with dedicated practice it is indeed possible. I believe I am where I am today because of my determination not to allow fear and doubt to control me. I am very happy that I did.

The third thing I have learned is that there is wisdom about overcoming fear and self-doubt that others can share with us. As you know, I collect motivational quotes and I regularly share some of my favorites on this subject in hopes that you can learn from them as well.

Fear probably defeats more people than any other one thing in the world. I once read that F-E-A-R stand for “fantasy events appearing real.” I read somewhere that, statistically, about 90 percent of the things we worry about never happen; so Jesus was right, fear is useless, what is needed is trust.

How we handle fear determines whether we experience adventure or whether we are limited by the fear of it. Without being scared, we don’t get to be brave.

I would say that my life has been enriched every time I have gotten up the guts to look fear in the face and say, “No, you are not going to run my life. I may fail, I may get hurt, I may be laughed at, but again I might not, so be gone!”

Father J. Ronald Knott

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