Fear is a weird emotion, it causes me to over think things I wish I didn’t, and it tends to hold me back from things that I wish I could just do. Whenever I’m trying to get a trick on film at a stair set or a handrail, I tend to over think everything that can possibly go wrong in the process. I think things like, “the ground is rough, it will probably scrape up my elbows and hands real bad; I might land primo (which is when you land on your board sideways) and mess up my ankles or wrists; my hip hurts, what if I fall on it and make it worst?” And all this thinking and analyzing, which is just a result of fear, just ends up getting in the way and making it harder for me to “just do” the trick. When I can finally get the courage to try the trick and overcome the fear, I soon realize that all the silly fears I had are really nothing to be afraid of, the ground doesn’t hurt as much as I think it does, landing primo doesn’t hurt as much as I think it will, and my hip can take more falls than I think it can. My fear of pain just gets in the way of the things that I really want to do or accomplish on my skateboard, and when I can get the courage to finally try the tricks, I soon realize that the pain I felt like I was going to experience was blown way out of proportion in my mind. I’ve come to realize that fear is a type of captivity or cage that we find ourselves stumbling into, and finding the courage to overcome is the key to get out.
As I’ve been thinking about all this, I came across some things in my relationship with God that entail the same problems. When it comes to sharing my faith, or even just letting someone know in a casual conversation what I’m about as a follower of Christ, a lot of the time I start thinking too much and start developing these fears of, “what if they think I’m lame? Or what if they won’t like me anymore?” When I finally do work up the courage to tell someone what I’m about, or share with someone the joy that I’ve found in Christ, I soon realize that they either do still accept me, or being outcasted isn’t as bad as I thought it would be. Once we get the courage to overcome fear, it will almost always be followed up by the phrase, “hmm, that wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be.”
I saw a picture a little while ago that had a phrase written on a wall that said, “fear is a liar,” and that is basically what all this boils down too. Fear causes us to think and behave in an irrational manner, it causes us to blow things way out of proportion, and it tends to hold us back from the things that we really want to do. Once fear is overcome, and we can work up the courage to just stop over thinking and do it, we will soon come to grips with reality and realize that there was nothing ever to really be afraid of. As a skateboarder, if I know I can do something, than I should just face reality and do it, the over thinking and the fear is just a lie that holds me back. As a Christian, fearing rejection for sharing what I’m about is silly, and it holds me back from growing in my love for God and people. If I loved God, I would love his people, and if I loved His people I wouldn’t hesitate from sharing the joy and peace that I’ve found in Christ. Paul says in 2 Timothy 1:7, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and a sound mind.” Fear gives us a distorted view of things and of how we expect everything to pan out. Like children afraid to look under their bed or in their closet at night because the boogeyman is in there. Once we overcome our fears, reality sets in and we soon realize that we never had anything to be afraid of.
Think of a time when you were afraid to do something and how liberating it felt when you were finally able to overcome it? Were the results ever as bad as you thought they would be?
1 John 4:18 says, “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.” Has letting yourself be overcome with fear ever felt like a self-inflicted punishment? How can love help push us through our fears and to overcome that feeling?
How can we be aware when our fears are giving us a distorted reality and to make sure we overcome them before its gets to out of hand?