As many of you know, I’ve struggled with an anxiety disorder most of my life. However, I’ve never wanted fear to hold me back from having experiences or from living life to the fullest. I would frequently challenge myself and push myself out of my comfort zone. For example, I’m scared of heights and my uncle has this pond in his backyard. Various family members were jumping off of a thirty foot tree into the pond. I was terrified, but I did it. I guess I liked the feeling of facing my fear more than the feeling of not doing something cause I was too scared. This doesn’t mean I’ve never given into my fears. In fact, the older I get, the more I sometimes feel myself settling into my comfort zone, especially in social situations. As a teenager, I would challenge myself to sit with the kids at school or church who were sitting alone. I myself was deathly shy, but I felt convicted to do it. Now, it’s actually harder to push myself to talk to new people at parties or gatherings. I think it’s common as we get older to settle into our own ways and not push ourselves as much; as to why that happens is another post altogether.
After my son Joshua died, I recommitted myself to trying to live fearlessly and with moxie. However, I’ve noticed, the world and society in general, don’t want you to live fearlessly. In fact, they frequently try to scare us to get us to buy certain products or act in a certain way. Even if you tell someone you don’t live in fear, watch them cast you as irresponsible or reckless. I see examples of this all over in the pandemic culture. But you may ask, is there a line when fearlessness does become recklessness?
We like to think we are in control. We like to think that what happened to that person couldn’t happen to us because we take precautions. I’ll never get cancer because I take vitamins and eat organic “clean” food and exercise. I won’t get coronavirus because I wear my mask and never leave my house. These things, these are all just veiled attempts at control, thinking you’re immune. I have had “the worst” happen to me and guess what? They were completely out of my control. People like to think that every evil or sickness can be eradicated but the evil in people’s hearts and the nature of the world we live in (like natural disasters and disease) makes that an impossibility. You are in control of very little. I know who is in control, and even that is not always comforting because, as I’ve said, my worst fears have still become my reality. At the end of the day however, I realize my limited control, do my best with what I know, and give up all the rest to God. I rest in the comfort that no matter what happens here, I have heaven to look forward to. My decisions will be based on my faith in God and facts, not fear, even if that means some people perceive me as reckless. This all doesn’t mean I don’t struggle with fear and anxiety, it just means I try every single day to not let that fear overtake me and drive my choices in life.
You can be fearless and still make what other people might consider dangerous choices. It’s a bit of a balancing act. However, each choice we make ultimately holds risks. It’s our job to decide if the benefit outweighs the risk. We need to educate ourselves, take necessary precautions, hold true to our own convictions, and then hold firm. A risk I’m willing to take might not be one someone else is willing to take, and that’s where you have to stand firm in your own conviction. I’ve had doctors try to coerce me into making medical choices for my children by instilling fear in me and that’s unacceptable. The media does this on a constant basis. Give me facts, not fear and then let me decide how to live my life. Fear should not be a deciding factor in any choice we make. Safety is one thing, but even that can be taken too far. As a Christian, God calls me to not be afraid. I haven’t counted myself, but it has been said that the Bible says “Fear not” 365 times. Fear often holds us back from doing riskier but good things, such as missionaries going to foreign countries, risking their lives to spread the gospel. There comes a time when we need to throw off fear and take the risk. Many of the most successful or influential people in the world didn’t get there by playing it safe.
So what does it mean to live in faith and not fear? It means educating yourself on the facts and taking any necessary precautions into mind. It means never letting fear be the primary motivator in your choice, and ultimately trusting that God is in control. He is sovereign and even if “the worst” happens, this life isn’t all there is. That’s a comfort I have that many people don’t. They cling onto this life as if , this is it. I know, there is so much more. This life is only the beginning. I know that can sound like hogwash to people without faith in Jesus Christ, but then I challenge you to do your research. Search for the truth in a world that loves to deceive us.
What about you? Are you making decisions based on fear? Do the “what if’s” take the driver’s seat in your life? If so, there’s freedom in Christ. There’s freedom in letting go. There’s freedom in the phrase, “Que Sera Sera”. Let me leave you with my life verse, inspired by my little warrior,
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid, do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9
You’ve got this. Now go out and live fearlessly!