I just finished watching the 1997 movie “Good Will Hunting,” where a young math genius is a troubled man with a history of criminal activities and abuse from his foster families. Matt Damon’s title character (Will) meets a psychologist named Sean (played by the late great Robin Williams) to help Will find direction in his life. The plan was made to help Will find a career that can showcase his mathematical ability, but Will doesn’t go that route. Sean was more concerned for Will’s emotional well-being than his career path. Sean wants Will to stop being so quick to push back the people who are trying to get to know him and stop using his intellect as an excuse not to pursue the things that can better his life.
As watching this movie, I began to reflect on my own life. I look at the times I didn’t pursue things because of “the worst-case scenario.” We as Christians are told not to live in fear, but the moment we are faced with a significant opportunity to do things that can advance God’s Kingdom or even our personal bank accounts, we get scared. We allow other people’s opinions to sway us, or we allow our past hurts to push back on things that can better our lives.
God gives us wisdom and understanding to avoid pitfalls, but He also gives us strength to do things that seem irrational. The reason why Paul was able to write a good chunk of the New Testament was that he was willing to bow down to God’s will and risk his life and his reputation as being “a good jew” to become the ambassador to the Gentiles for the Gospel during the 1st Century. Paul wasn’t the most eloquent speaker, and he didn’t come from a wealthy background, but Paul was willing to preach Jesus all throughout the known world at the time, and it’s because of Paul we have 13 very important New Testament letters. Had Paul overthought his missionary work for Jesus, we wouldn’t be reading some of the most powerful words in human history.
We were not to be made to live in fear. We all have things in our life that scare us, but through The Holy Spirit, we can do God’s will. I’ve done foolish things in the past that seemed to be out of faith, but I look back at all the losses I’ve had just in the past 5 years. I sometimes feel a sense of regret when I think about the mistakes I made in trying to pursue writing, but at least I can say I tried something. Most people will never even think about taking some of the risks I took. One risk I don’t regret is moving back to Jacksonville, not just because I can finally work but because I can reconnect with my church again. Although my life isn’t the best at the moment, I feel more at peace here than I did back in New Jersey and North Carolina.
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.”
– 2 Timothy 1:7 [NLT]