When is the last time you let fear rule a decision?
Was it this morning? Yesterday? A week ago? A month ago?
Merriam-Webster defines faith as “belief and trust in and loyalty to God.” It also offers an alternate definition: “firm belief in something for which there is no proof.”
Which Wolf Wins?
As Christians, it’s easy to think about faith through the lens of the first definition. You either trust in God or you don’t. But the alternate definition offers a new perspective on faith. Michael Kitces’ recently interviewed Diane MacPhee on the Financial Advisor Success Podcast, and Diane shared this related Indian fable:
One evening, an elder Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside all people. He said, ‘My son, the battle is between two wolves inside us. One is fear. It carries anxiety, concern, uncertainty, hesitancy, indecision, and inaction. The other is faith. It brings calm, conviction, confidence, enthusiasm, decisiveness, excitement, and action.’
The grandson thought about it for a moment and then meekly asked his grandfather ‘which wolf wins?’
The old Cherokee replied, ‘the one you feed.’
When you succumb to worry, you acting in opposition to faith. Alli Worthington’s book Fierce Faith offers guidance to Christian women who struggle with fear. She discusses the five unhealthy ways we respond to fear, common types of fear (i.e. rejection, failure, betrayal), and she offers battle plans to fight fear.
Of the ways we typically respond to fear, the one that most resonated with me is busyness. I am a mother of three young boys, owner of two businesses, wife, daughter, sister, friend, and volunteer. One of the mothers from my son’s baseball team frequently comments that she just doesn’t know how I do it … how I seemingly have it all together.
Truthfully, I don’t have it all together. Faith allows me to put trust in God, that he will open doors of opportunity that need to be opened and shut those that aren’t a valuable use of time. Faith also beckons me to rely on my husband, Bryan. He cooks the majority of our meals, cleans the dishes, coaches t-ball, and listens when I need to vent about a difficult day.
When the busy pace of life seems out of control, lean into faith. Here are four examples when I intentionally moved away from fear and boldly towards faith:
1. Leaving Matter Family Office
About five years ago, I was at a crossroads. My oldest son was three years old, and we had another baby on the way. Bryan and I were sitting on the Victoria Clipper, taking a day trip to one of Seattle’s neighboring islands. We were debating whether I should return to work after our next son’s birth.
Fear got in the way. It told me that I was stupid for giving up a position at a company I respected and enjoyed. Fear also urged me to keep the steady paycheck.
It took three times to “quit” Matter Family Office (fear is persistent), but I ultimately left about 9 months after our middle son’s birth to spend more time with family.
2. Starting WorthyNest®
In 2014, it was clear that I wasn’t a great stay-at-home mother. I missed the professional interactions with adults and wanted to help clients. Then I heard about a group called XY Planning Network. The thirty founding members were experienced, fee-only financial advisors who opened and operated their own financial planning firms.
I wanted to start my firm through XY Planning Network but lacked the confidence to make it happen. Instead, I worked part-time for other wealth management companies while growing SV CPA Services. It wasn’t until my husband lost his job in 2016, due to downsizing, that I realized jobs are risky. Technological advances are happening at such a rapid pace; this Huffington Post article says 85% of jobs in 2030 haven’t been invented yet. Entrepreneurship may, in fact, be more stable.
Faith enabled me to stop looking for other positions in 2016 and start a wealth management firm aligned with my values.
3. Booking a ticket to Las Vegas
Continuing education is mandatory for CPAs and CFP® professionals. The AICPA hosts an annual conference whereby credits are available for both licenses within the same class. This is rare! Usually, a sponsoring organization offers credit for just one professional license. Historically, I’ve participated in the AICPA’s virtual conference. Staying home is easier, and the cost is considerably lower.
This year was different. I was nominated for AICPA’s Standing Ovation award. If a recipient, I would be publically acknowledged at the annual conference in Las Vegas. Fear said, “Stay at home. It’s cheaper, and you’re not going to win the award anyway.”
Faith won. I booked my conference and airplane tickets and am so happy I did! Networking with other conference attendees was wonderful. Also, of the seventeen individuals selected for the Personal Financial Planning award, I was one of three women.
4. Writing a Book
According to I Am Self-Publishing, 90% of Americans want to write a book but a far smaller percentage actually go on to write one.
Putting my first few blog posts out into the world was scary. Would anyone like what I had to say? What if they disagreed with me? These concerns still run through my head each time before hitting “publish.”
But I faithfully put my message out there – every other week to be exact. And I feel called to share an even bigger story. One that can’t be told in a thousand world blog post. I have a solid book outline and am committed to finishing the first draft by the end of the summer. If you’d like to be part of the book’s focus group, please let me know. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Where to Go From Here
If you’ve let fear rule your decisions in the past, don’t let it guide your future. Allow faith to direct future decisions. It starts today!
Please share one way – big or small – you will walk courageously forward. Sharing it may motivate someone else or help you with accountability. Either way, it’s a win-win!
Deborah L. Meyer, CPA/PFS, CFP®is a fee-only financial planner and investment advisor based in greater St. Louis, Missouri who helps conscientious parents achieve their financial and life goals. As the owner of WorthyNest, Deb empowers faith-filled families nationally to grow, protect, and share wealth. Find Deb discussing family-minded finance on LinkedIn, Facebook, or Twitter.