That word fear is one of the most powerful four-letter words. Fear is unique to everyone. No one fear of things is alike. Fear is controlling. One thing that I admire about children is that they are fearless. I have witnessed infants more concerned with reaching for a toy more than the consideration of gravity. In the same example, I have seen fear rule every action of his mother. Adjusting every aspect of their lives in fear of being a neglectful parent.
Where does fear start? Just like hate, I believe that fear is taught. As I reflect on my committed relationship with fear, I don’t know how it started. What was the courtship like? Did I approach fear or did it approach me? What about me does fear find so attractive? I imagine we could ask ourselves about success as well. Now love would be a different story… a different explanation. We will discuss love in a different chapter.
Fear has a distinct ability to rule its host. Like any parasite, fear can only exist when the host is kept alive. How does one end the parasitic relationship of fear? Will Smith recently join the social media craze by creating an Instagram and YouTube channel. One of the most personal topics that he addressed was his fears. One may even assume that “Will Smith” could not or should not be afraid of anything, but everyone is afraid of something. Even after his posts, I can probably guess that he still has fears that plague him. As I watched a couple of the well-produced episodes, I began to wonder about my own fears. I am not sure if I consciously decided to pull back the layers of myself or if my circumstances forced me to, but it began to happen.
Growing up I observed my family and their obvious battle with “overcoming” fear. I saw my uncles have tremendous opportunities to go to college for free or better jobs. I also saw them began to drink when they experienced anxiety or stress. In ego, I judged them. I thought they were better than what they settled for. Wow, am I better than what I settle for? I am hoping the answer to that question arises as the unraveling takes place. Back to fear. In my family, being afraid was synonymous with comfort. Don’t take any chances for the risk of failure. I learned that failure is what happens to you when you don’t make safe decisions. You became a failure in the eyes of others if you were not able to achieve “something” with your life. No one ever explained
what “something” was, I just knew it existed. I learned from my family that I didn’t want to be a failure so I started not to fail at things. The catch to that is that I only tried things that I would be successful (which was not many things). My list included having good grades which gave my parents and family instant gratification. I also excelled at helping others. I was afraid not to try because I wasn’t certain about the success. This is probably one of my greatest regrets.
I regret it for several reasons. I am unable to truly testify about what it means to “overcome” fear in the sense that we tell our children. Don’t get me wrong, I have made some major decisions that I was a little scared to make, but not fearful. I believe that there is a unique difference between being scared and fearful. Scared is what happens when I see snakes or if I’m startled by a loud noise. With confidence,
I can say that scared me. Fear is deeper… different. Fear is crippling. Fear is an internal conflict of one’s ability or even God’s ability. I don’t do heights because I’m scared of falling. Fear happens when someone has a desire to accomplish something but they have insecurity about it. Maybe they feel unworthy, unqualified, or unable to achieve it. Fear of living life without the power of God. Living without the power of God is what I’ve been doing for my entire life. I want to live in the full power of God. The Bible says in Matthew 6:33, “seek ye first the kingdom of Heaven and His Righteousness and all these things will be provided for you.” This scripture which was spoken by Jesus gives us specific instructions about how not to deal with fear and anxiety. Seek ye first… How does one do that?
How many of us wake up with God on our mind seems simple. Well, I guess the statement is a simple one, but how does one execute it with fidelity and still take care of our responsibilities. Colossians 3:23 provides a foundation from the Old Testament by stating, whatever you do, do as unto the Lord. Raise your children as unto the Lord. Serve your community as unto the Lord. Work your occupation as unto the Lord. Give as unto the Lord. Take care of your body…whooo…. As unto the Lord. Now that’s a more complicated notion.
It’s easy to live a limited life that lacks the fullness of God. I have gotten comfortable living with fear… limited. But God is not limited. He can decide to use who and whatever he chooses.