The choices that we make rely heavily on whether we see the signs–the red flags.
How many times have we been warned by a loved one about a circumstance that may spell a certain disaster? We proceed with caution. We may even step back to get a clearer view the situation. We survey. We ponder. We ask questions. We may even do a risk assessment. But in the end, the decision to proceed is one that we make on our own.
Sometimes we throw caution to the wind. Other times we charge-full speed ahead! Our confidence level is what propels us. Here’s the thing about confidence though. Like courage, confidence derives from experience, knowledge, and the perseverance to be successful–to boldly go where others would not.
Things get in the way of success. Things like… a bad experience. Things like knowledge of how things work (and how they don’t). Observing how others have proceeded can only enhance our own perception. What about perseverance to be successful? How badly do we want success? Do we want it badly enough to take some risks?
This is called “taking a leap of faith.” But be cautious! There’s an un-ignorable ingredient. Faith! Not everyone has it. Not everyone knows how to get it. In fact, there are a plethora of evangelists who profess it. It’s more than passion. And it can’t be had by simply harvesting positive energy. Faith is as much internal as it is external. We’ve seen it manifest in various scenarios. A mother who jumps from a burning building with her infant swaddled in her arms; or a policeman who runs into that same building to rescue someone’s grandpa. In those moments of uncertainty, it is faith that overcomes doubt.
Fortunately, we are not always faced with life or death circumstances. We make decisions based on their urgency and the risk. Face it. Most of us don’t make brash choices when there is a safer way to get the job done. But what about professional decisions where there are other people involved? How about personal decisions that impact our loved ones? The more important the outcome, the more devoted we are to the process. All the while, we are assessing the risks. We identify the red flags. Each flag represents a problem that must be considered. Ignoring any red flags is perilous.
Faith verses function. We know the way the world works. We’ve experienced enough failure to have an intimate knowledge of how not to proceed. And yet we ignore these facts. We are willing to take the risk. We will ignore the red flags if we can be assured that what is on the other side is a reward great enough. That’s not faith though. That’s a calculated risk. We can function without faith. Most of us do. This probably why we don’t succeed as often as we should.
There are so many red flags! Previous personal failures, short-falls of others, and a that pessimistic feeling that we are not worthy–these all prevent us from achieving our goals. And then there are the red flags that others are waving right in front of us. They couldn’t hide these warnings if they tried. Any time we can see that there are pieces missing from (what would otherwise be) a perfect puzzle… that’s a red flag! When we can see clearly why things haven’t worked out for anyone else in a similar circumstance, that a red flag!! The moment we can tell why we should NOT proceed–red flag!!! Is it the quest for perfection or the recognition that we should not settle for less? Although perfection may not necessarily be obtainable, we certainly have expectations of more than…
What we lack is faith. Generating faith in something greater than ourselves is certainly a step in the right direction. Faith that we can proceed without worry is how we overcome the red flags. Faith does not ignore the red flags. To the contrary, faith enables us to go boldly where others could not because they lacked that one ingredient. Faith is akin to love in that it does not boast, and it is not proud. It does not dishonor others. It always trusts, always hopes, and always perseveres. Much like love, Faith is strong enough to ensure overwhelming success.
With faith, there is no red flag that can stop us. With faith, those red flags become victory flags. Without faith those red flags become white surrender flags! We are surrounded by folks that have surrendered their effort, their time, and their devotion. What they see as a red flag can be nothing more than a warning. For the rest of us it can be an invitation to try harder, go harder, be bolder, and have FAITH.