by Dr. Ashley Anderson
Do we truly pursue anything audaciously (with boldness and without fear)? I start this piece with this question because I have experienced fear of completely “selling out” in pursuit of a goal; mostly because of fear of failure.
In my second year of competing for the title of Miss Kentucky, I recalled placing 1st runner up or 2nd runner-up the previous year. I knew in my heart that year the crown would be placed on my head on final night. I spent the entire year focused solely on that goal. I fine-tuned every skill I had, increased the difficulty of my talent routine, and hit the stage that summer ready for my reign! Low and behold, I did not even get my name called in the Top 10! You can imagine how devastated I was. Was this all in vain? What happened?
After the competition, while I was trying my best to maintain poise and composure, I was approached repeatedly by people telling me I should try again and asking if I’d come back for my last year. In my mind, I had already decided to give up. That winter however, the University of Louisville announced the Miss U of L competition. Being a big U of L fan, I could not resist entering the competition. The winner would receive a free semester of tuition! I signed up knowing that if I won, the road would lead back to the Miss Kentucky stage. I won and this time around, I still trained hard, but I was not totally into it as I had been before. I was scared to “fail” again. I was scared to say out loud that I was going to win or that I truly wanted to be Miss Kentucky. That year, I placed in the Top 10 and it is the only regret I had in my life up to this point. I should have pursued that year audaciously. After reflecting upon the three years of competition, I realized that I did not lose anything at all. I had become a much better version of myself, a version that my child self who lived on 18th and Hill Street in the West End of Louisville would have never recognized.
We all have goals and dreams (owning a business, financial freedom, finding true love, etc.), but only some of us truly pursue them. Why? Often our pasts are so flanked with pain and disappointment that we have a hard time thinking that our future can be any different. We succumb to the "this is how it will always be" mindset or to donating a significant amount of lip service without action because we are fearful. You may also have someone or several people in your life pumping your ears full of doubt and speculation. Royalty, understand this: Fear and audacity cannot coexist. It's impossible and not at all what God has intended for us. The Bible clearly states that God did not give us a spirit of fear. That is a fact. We are instructed not to fear 365 times in the Bible. That is one time for every day of the year! Do not allow your fear of failure or disappointment to rob you of the joy and excitement you will feel if you just go for it!
My challenge for you today is simple, live in victory and not in regret. Allow yourself to pursue things in your life audaciously. When you hear negative thoughts creeping into your mind or have negative people giving you poor advice, recognize the fear and block it immediately. Walk in the spirit of the Lord knowing that no matter how uncomfortable and uncertain we are, He knows best and is with us. Trust Him, don’t fight His will…Your future truly depends on it!