I was sent "Adventures in Saying Yes" - Carl Medearis by Baker Publishing Group to read and review. "Adventures in Saying Yes" is a biographical account of a Christian missionary working in the Middle East who learns that "saying yes to Jesus always leads us on an adventure", and shares graphic tales which he hopes will "encourage people to work through fear". Carl speaks colloquially about his travels in the Muslim region, and the obstacles he & his family faced in order to share the message of Christ in the Middle East. Carl explores three main themes: fear; failure and faith. I have pooled together key quotes from the book, and also the quotes he used in the book, to convey the overriding message in the hope you're as moved & inspired as I was.
"A hero is an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles" Christopher Reeve
"We are continually faced by great opportunities brilliantly disguised as insoluble problems" Lee Lacocca
FEAR - "Fear is anything that potentially threatens your sense of safety and security", and "Worry (fear's half-brother) brilliantly masquerades as helpful information...worry is based on worst-case scenarios". "Fear that breeds worry...will lead to paralysis, hatred, anger, irrational decision, and avoidance of those you're called to love". If a thought or action leads to those results, you need to learn to distance yourself from it by adopting these 3 helpful steps: "Step #1: identify and confess your fears; Step #2: identify where these fears came from; Step #3: Jesus works". "Helpful information and Godly wisdom will lead to positive action, freedom, loving others, faith, and hope". Learning to look fear dead-square in the face can help you triumph over it, or sometimes, even use it to your advantage; "fear is a powerful motivator"
"Perfect love...casts out fear" C.S. Lewis
"I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it" Nelson Mandela
Canal Walk, Shoreditch, London
"I've failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed." Michael Jordan
FAILURE - "Failure is part of everyday life" and if "Jesus came for failures", then you can rest on the assurance that you'll be picked up after falling from divine strength rather than your own. "We can either allow ourselves to get stuck in our own rigid expectations or we can ask and look for the greater good" but "sometimes the greater good comes in a cauldron of disappointment". Discerning what is 'from God' is difficult, but we learn from "each embarrassing situation [we] survive [because it] makes [us] less scared about what [we]'ll face in the future".
"Pain nourishes your courage" Mary Tyler Moore
"There are some things one can only achieve by a deliberate leap in the opposite direction" Franz Kafka
FAITH - "It's the sick who need a doctor, not the healthy", so understand that falling flat on your face, and losing every ounce of respect, dignity, or hope even...is all part of the plan. God isn't a masochist, but He's powerful and needs us to acknowledge it. That sometimes requires shedding us of everything we hold on to for support & identity, and wholly "com[ing] to him with our fears and insecurities...[to] get the needed affirmation" of who we are in and to Him. It may sound messed up, but think about it from a loving parenting relationship perspective; sometimes a stubborn child needs to run away and fend for themselves to see just how good they had it at home. Prodigal son anyone? "Don't be afraid to fail" because God's got your back; "God doesn't give up on us". It may not look like it cos the chips are down, your account's dried up, your social life is barren, your looks are withering and your dating life is non-existent, but it's all happening for a reason. "At the feet of the Father is where we find courage again". Carl drums home that we shouldn't psyche ourselves up with positive mantras because when you're down, you just don't want to hear it. Live in it! Bask in your woes and recognise your failure. Don't paint it as anything else. Instead, know at the back of your mind that whatever happens, was meant to happen. "There is an answer to failure. It's not giving up".
"Unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds" John 12:24