Chapter Nine: The Fear
It’s not until now that I ever really knew about the fear part of faith. It’s worse at night. I can stay busy during the day, but when I’m supposed to be resting, the fear is there.
I go to sleep praying. I wake up praying. Sometimes I’m afraid that the prayers are just more busy work to keep me from listening to the fear. A layered cake of fear. My faith is stretching. It’s so stretched that I can see through it and I wonder if it’s still there.
BUILDING THE BUSINESS PLAN
There’s a resource for small businesses in my town that was put together by our local state college and the Small Business Association. Many of the resources are free, and some are paid. Back in January, I took a class to learn how to build a business plan. It was three hours, 80 bucks, and I got a certificate when I completed it.
I spent the next couple of weeks implementing what I had learned, filling in all the required elements, and I hit a point where I needed to enter numbers I didn’t have. Retail space lease, insurance, utilities. This is the second time in my life when I’ve met with a realtor. The first time, I was 99% certain that I was wasting his time, but I’m sitting in the house he sold me. This time, I was just walking in faith with zero expectations. I just needed the numbers to put into my business plan.
I chose the best spot in the whole brand new building. It was large and had huge windows. I chose not to edit myself on my business plan. I was making a plan for a dream salon. Isaiah 54 says to “Spread out!” and “Think big!” So that’s what I did.
With the numbers to plug into the business plan, I was able to do three years worth of monthly cash flow projections, details required by the SBA. I gathered reviews people wrote about my salon, an article from our local lifestyle magazine where they featured me, and anything else I could to show that the community was interested in and happy with the business I was doing so far.
All I needed was the right credit score and a hefty down payment. Two things I didn’t think I had. My divorce from 14 years ago was still haunting my credit score and I put all of the money my business made back into the business, so cash was not on hand.
OBEDIENCE AND HESITANT HOPE
Moving forward in something like this is an act of obedience and hesitant hope. I think that might be my current definition of faith. An act of obedience and hesitant hope. Peter walked on water. The 2000 got full on a little boy’s lunch. We serve a God who responds to faith in action. And I’m in the precise moment where I’m taking action and quickly hitting a point of no return.
I’m a little ruthless when I think God has given me direction. I remember when I was a new Christian and I was facing a financial hurdle that I couldn’t clear. I was a 20 year-old single mom and those hurdles came often. I don’t remember the details, but I remember having $213 to my name, more than I was used to, but needed about twice that much. Knowing that I was facing an impossible situation, I just kept hearing “give it to God” in my head every time I found myself worrying.
Here’s the ruthless part: I got so fed up with the worry, that I wanted to literally give it to God so that He could do what He does in these situations. I was sitting in church watching the offering plate make its way to me. I didn’t want anyone to see what I was doing, so I sat there with my tightly folded $213 getting sweaty in the palm of my hand. When the plate passed by, I dropped the whole thing in there… giving it to God. The relief and excitement replaced the fear. It wasn’t mine anymore. The situation worked itself out without bells and whistles, so I don’t have a fancy tangible to give you. My point is that sometimes God asks you to do something super scary in an effort to trust Him.
PASSING THROUGH IMPOSSIBLE
I submitted my Business Plan and loan application to a bank in my home town. I figured that, when they denied me, I would find the holes in my plan and work on them before I tried again. The thing is, they didn’t deny me. My credit score made it by a single point. And you know how those scores fluctuate based on the day you’re looking at it. It just so happens that they looked at it on the right day. I’m still shaking my head over that one.
I’ll tell you about how I was able to come up with the down payment without any actual money next time. I’m not kidding. I needed more money than I’ve ever had in my life to put down on this loan and I was able to do it without actually coming up with the money.
Before I go, though, I wanted to bring up something about fear. I’m learning to live with it without letting it steer me. I don’t think that fear is a bad thing. I think it’s normal, especially when you’re following God into the “Great Unknown”. I’ve learned this: In the face of uncertainty, most people will stand there and wait for someone else to go first. They want to see if it’s safe and if the other person makes it across. Leaders are the ones who go first. They believe in the vision. They believe in the value of the effort. And they are the ones everyone else is watching “go first”. Leaders walk through the uncertainty, knowing that fear often accompanies faith.