Fear: “a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain, etc., whether the threat is real or imagined” (Dictionary.com).

Fear is one of the strongest emotions.  The strength of fear fuels the horror genre of film and literature in this present time when entertainment thrives off of the emotional.  Most people will probably remember the popular TV game show “Fear Factor,” in which contestants were forced to go to ridiculous lengths to see how much they could face before their fear overcame their desire to win/earn money/succeed/whatever their motivation was.

Fear paralyzes people.

I have a strong natural inclination towards nostalgia.  It’s not that I’m very old, but I always find myself looking back on my past and my childhood (as if it were so long ago, as if I won’t look back on the present and think just as nostalgically of how young I am now).  One thing I recently thought wistfully as I turned my thoughts backwards in time was how bold I used to be.

If you know me, this is a laughable thought.  I’ve always been timid and quiet.  I used to spend so long debating whether or not to say what was on my mind that it became a moot issue because the time was long passed.  Yet now, I was seeing that challenge I underwent, the internal debate, and the times when I defeated my fear and said or did what I knew I should, and I was rightly equating that with boldness.

I realized that now, I had stopped fighting my fear, started ignoring the urge to speak or act, started going with the flow.  “Stick to the status quo” (ugghh, I’m ashamed that the phrase comes to mind in the tune of the High School Musical song.  Why? I groan in shame) has become my unspoken motto.

Thankfully, realizing that is the first step in changing.

Why do we let ourselves be ruled by fear?  Even more: Why are we afraid to be bold?  What legitimate reason do we really have to be afraid?

I thought about those questions, and decided I have no valid reason to fear.  Then I wrote out some Bible verses that say I have every reason NOT to fear, and here are just a few:

-Deuteronomy 31:6, 8. “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you…. The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”

-Joshua 1:9. “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

-Isaiah 41:10-13. “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. All who rage against you will surely be ashamed and disgraced; those who oppose you will be as nothing and perish. Though you search for your enemies, you will not find them. Those who wage war against you will be as nothing at all. For I am the LORD, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.”

-Isaiah 43:1-5. “But now, this is what the LORD says–he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the LORD, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior; I give Egypt for your ransom, Cush and Seba in your stead. Since you are precious and honored in my sight, and because I love you, I will give men in exchange for you, and people in exchange for your life. Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bring your children from the east and gather you from the west.”

Write a list of all the things you would do if you were not afraid of anything.  I did.  Here are a few of my (very long list of) points:

1. I would talk to my teachers and get to know them.

2. I would go to Barns and Noble (my dream job at the present) every day until they hire me.

3. I would pursue my dreams of becoming skilled in archery and sword fighting (not fencing, real sword fighting like in the days people actually fought with swords) and learning Greek and Hebrew.

4. I would take a semester off of school to do something crazy, like traveling the country or publishing a book or starting a non-profit organization to help homeless and orphaned teens.

And the most important one, which pretty much sums up everything:

5. I would dream big, love strong and easily, remember all of my past, work hard, think deeply, speak up, and help freely.  I would change the world.

Now that you’ve written what you would do if you were not afraid, you have a choice.  Keep on being a slave to your fear, or kick that fear into the next century and DO all the things you said you would do if you were not afraid.

Did your heart almost stop at the thought of actually facing up your fear and doing those things you want to do?  It’s okay; mine did, too.

Can you imagine what the world would be like if people were honest, loved deeply, and carried out their dreams without fear?

Honestly, I probably wouldn’t have written my list if it hadn’t been my sister (who is very wise) who told me to write it in the first place.  But now, my list is written, and it’s an empowering thing.  I can do all those things.  And, by God’s grace and power, I will do the ones I should.

So hello, world.  Be prepared to be changed. :)

6 thoughts on “Fear Not

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