Embarking on anything new can be exciting and downright scary. It's easy to recognize the feeling, like climbing the hill of a roller coaster.
'This might be fun.'
'No, it's a little scary.'
'But it's exhilarating!'
'No, it's really scary!'
I finally have a word for this feeling, thanks to fellow author and blogger Leo Babauta. It's called Joyfear. Leo experienced Joyfear during events like becoming a parent or running his first marathon. In one of the most profound things I've ever read on the Internet, he says, “every single defining moment in my life has been filled with Joyfear, with a mixture of intense joy and intense fear into one ball of powerful emotions that both lift me up and make me see things clearly when I hadn’t before.” [Thanks, Leo, for this brilliant insight.]
So my question is, what do we do with Joyfear? Do we jump in with reckless abandon? That could spell disaster. Do we run the other way? That could result in missed opportunities. The best approach to Joyfear in my experience is prayer and action.
You see, if we just pray... we get too comfortable in our sedentary ways.
And if we just act... we might not make the wisest decisions.
But when we pray and act, we join God's power with our power.
Looking back, I experienced Joyfear when I left the corporate world for ministry, when we brought our son home from Russia, and when I published my first book. Responding to Joyfear required faith since results are never guaranteed. But the risks were worthwhile. I can't imagine life without those fork-in-the-road decisions to act.
The next time you encounter Joyfear, embrace it. Then ask God for the eyes to see, the ears to hear, and the hands and feet to make it meaningful.
Michele Cervone Scott draws from her experiences to comfort, educate, and offer hope to others through books, events, articles, and her blog. Her book Praying Through Your Adoption: A Complete Guide to Creating and Nurturing Today's Forever Family (WinePress – 2011) has been endorsed by Bethany Christian Services and the Christian Alliance for Orphans. For more information, visit her website at MicheleCScott.com.