I have a friend who once told me he had a fear of heights while we were standing at the top of the country’s tallest building overlooking millions of people and thousands of buildings. He explained to me that he had this fear as long as he could remember. He also explained how despite that fear he always wants to face it, so he rides roller coasters, goes to top of buildings, wants to skydive. After all of this explanation it dawns on him, “actually, I don’t think have that fear anymore! I always let it be a defining factor, but I don’t think it’s true anymore.”
He then turned to me and asked what my fears were.
I blanked. I didn’t honestly know what to say or even how to approach that question. What do I NOT fear?
Well, I don’t fear heights or snakes or spiders or tight spaces or clowns. I do fear the creepy basement in my house in Dunbar, but I don’t think there’s a label for that.
What I do fear perhaps is more abstract. Fear of man. Fear of screwing up or not measuring up. Fear of loneliness.
But what I don’t get is that though I fear man, I don’t fear public speaking or being on stage. Though I fear loneliness and isolation, I could voluntarily isolate myself and spend hours alone not talking to a soul.
But at the same time I fear screwing up or not measuring up so I become paralyzed with fear in making some decisions. What if I inconvenience someone or upset someone? What if I make the wrong decision? What if I screw it all up?
So what’s the deal?
What causes us to face some fears and not others? Some fears we allow to paralyze us and some we allow to fuel us?
Perhaps sometimes we face our fear to prove to ourselves something–either that the fear is legitimate or that we can take control of that fear.
To prove that maybe one day we won’t be afraid anymore.
“Do this thing you fear most and the death of fear is certain.” – Mark Twain
As I look into the future, I see darkness. It’s scary. Very scary. All of my fears are looming, not knowing where to go, what to do, how God will provide or where He’ll lead. I am not in control and honestly I’m not too fond it.
But God tells me not to fear. How do I not fear what I don’t know?
But knowing the love of the One who tells me not to fear.
“There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.” – 1 John 4:18
Not only does knowing the love of God cast out fear, but it now allows me to continue to face my fear, not just have it taken away.
When we repeatedly face our fears, we eventually realize those fears aren’t so big and scary after all. We realize that there is a Love that casts them out.
So I face my fears. I live loved. I can trust God.