So, if you’re not to afraid to admit it (pun intended). Have you ever been scared? I mean really scared. The kind of fear that prohibits you from moving? Maybe, so freaked out that you caused an all out scene? A few weeks ago now, I was thinking about the subject of fear and the role it’s played in my life. I then began to stroll down memory lane remembering times when I was nearly scared out of my mind!
Let me see…there was the time I was over at a friend’s house and the group left to run to the store but I stayed behind. Next thing I know, all the lights in the house go off, and I hear a door open. I am sitting in a chair in the living room, remaining as still and quiet as possible in hopes that I will not be detected by whatever intruder has just entered the house; while praying that the pounding of my heart is not actually audible as it’s just about to beat out of my chest! Turns out my friends really hadn’t gone to far and had returned unbeknownst to me, to flip off the circuit breaker and have a laugh on me! Hilarious guys!!
Then there was the time, a certain friend of mine, who shall remain nameless (you know who you are) snuck up the basement stairs that led to my kitchen and put one of his eyeballs up to the crack in the door. I’m working in the kitchen and sense something a little weird, continue working and then look around again, when my eyes hone in on the whites of someone else’s eye peering at me through the door slit! I lost my stuff!!! I mean it was a scene! I started screaming, dancing in circles and pretty much going out of my mind for a good few minutes. Fits of laughter were heard from the basement while my hysteria continued. I certainly gave him the reaction he was looking for!
Or…there was the more elaborate scheme that some friends and my very own siblings were in on. I had gone camping with a group of friends from college fairly close to my family’s home and they decided to pay me a visit, only I didn’t know it. My friends and I were all sitting around the campfire talking and having fun, when I saw a shadow in the trees. “Nah”, I said to myself, “your just imagining things”. Then I see another shadow…my anxiety begins to build, but I remain quiet, now keeping my eyes fixed forward to see if I can detect anything else. Next thing you know, a dark figure is moving closer to the fire, and I look to the right and see another shadowy figure. At this point, I know this is not my imagination, so I whisper to a friend next to me, telling him, “there are people over there in the trees coming this way”! Hoping he would sense my urgency, but he states, “No, I don’t see anything”. “Ok”, I think, but I’m not convinced and sure enough I see the figures continuing to approach us. I lean over again to my friend, who states he’ll go check it out. I think to myself, “I’m not sure that’s a smart thing to do, but better he than me 🙂 He walks over to the exact area where I can see the figures of these shadow people and he appears to see nothing!! What?? He comes back and loudly states there is nothing and no one over there. Now, I don’t know what to think? I clearly see what I see, the figures continue to approach and while my friends act oblivious, my concern intensifies because I know that we are about to be attacked by a group of shadowy figures and no one believes me!! My internal fear and anxiety continue to grow with each step this group of shadowy figures takes in our direction, to the point that I begin yelling out loud attempting to warn my friends, while beginning to think, “maybe I’m losing my mind?!” Next thing you know the figures are close enough that the light of the fire reveals their faces…I’ve been duped! My brother, sister and some friends have big ole’ grins plastered across their faces and it takes me quite a few minutes to find any humor in the hoax!
Then there was the time and boy do I feel dumb admitting this one. I was home on a Saturday morning, no one else around, the phone rang and I ran to the nearest phone in my parent’s room, jumped on the bed and answered it. After getting off the phone, I lied there on the bed and heard a noise. I don’t quite know how to describe it, but it was a cross between rattling and scratching and I immediately froze in place. I just knew that there was something in that room and therefore my body was going to stay still, my breathing would remain controlled and my feet were definitely not going to touch that floor because of course as soon as they did whatever this beast was would grab my ankles! People, I laid on that bed frozen in fear for over an hour!! All the while considering my possible courses of action, hoping someone would come home and rescue me, but too paralyzed with fear to move. Turns out, my brother’s iguana had escaped from his room and gotten in to a box of De-Con my dad had placed in a corner of his bedroom (for all you iguana lovers, he survived).
After reminiscing about some of the fearful moments in life, I started to think about other areas of my life, where maybe my fears weren’t based on clear and present danger, but something even deeper and maybe not so apparent, at least to myself. So follow me here and see if you may be entertaining a fear or two.
- Have you ever turned down an opportunity that you would’ve really loved to pursue, but what if you were to fail? F-E-A-R
- Have you ever withheld or even lied about yourself because people won’t like me if they know the real me? F-E-A-R
- Have you ever refused to leave the comfort and convenience of the known in exchange for chasing after your heart’s deepest desires? F-E-A-R
- Have you ever sat out, shrunk back or maybe not even shown up because you didn’t want to chance the rejection? F-E-A-R
- Have you ever spent countless hours thinking about the unknowns of life and fretting about all possible outcomes? F-E-A-R
- Have you ever settled for the guarantee because you were afraid of waiting for the possibility or the promise? F-E-A-R
You see my friends, I have learned a few things about fear:
Fear is a Liar – many of us have heard the acronym and it fits. Fear is False Evidence Appearing Real. It has you convinced that it’s truth until you find out it’s a big phony.
Fear is a Prison – it binds you and keeps you locked up, when you live in fear there is no freedom.
Fear is a Thief – it takes your peace, steals your joy and costs you, your dreams.
I wish I could say there was an easy way to deal with fear, if there is I haven’t found it. You know that old adage, “face your fears”, well that’s the out and it’s no easy out, it’s downright scary! As I have begun to face some of the fears in my life, I am realizing that as I face one, I find the strength to stretch myself and take on the next one.
The strength to face the next fear doesn’t come because I am courageous, it comes because as you to take a step of faith and look fear in the face, you begin to realize, fear is a lot of hot air, the imagined is a whole lot bigger deal than the reality of it all. The really cool thing is that as you face a fear, it’s gig is up, the game is over and you begin to discover all that lives on the other side of it.
I am finding that on the other side of fear is freedom and freedom is a beautiful thing! On the other side of fear is growth, I am not relegated to be the way I’ve always been, I can discover and become all God wants me to be and live the life He’s called me to live! On the other side of fear comes peace of mind, no more torment of the unknown or the lies and my mind can rest. On the other side of fear you just may find new and exciting opportunities waiting for you. As I face my fears, I let go of the limits others have placed on me or I’ve placed on myself and new hopes and dreams begin to appear.
Facing fear, is scary for sure, but the scare is temporary and the dividends are so worth it! If you are struggling with fear and it has caused you to be stuck, to give up. If fear is holding you back or keeping you down, I want to encourage you in this. Take a chance, face your fears, there may be some pain and discomfort, but the goodness is on the other side!! Go for the goodness my friends!
I’ve picked you. I haven’t dropped you. Don’t panic. I’m with you. There’s no need to fear for I’m your God. I’ll give you strength. I’ll help you. I’ll hold you steady, keep a firm grip on you. – Isaiah 41:10 (The Message)