When I was little--scratch that, 'cause I'm still only 5'4". When I was younger, I was afraid of the dark. Any of you that know me will find this hard to believe since I am so rugged and manly, but it's true. At night, when I was heading to bed, I would turn off the light and sprint across my room. About three feet away from my bed, I would jump and launch myself directly into the middle of my bed. Why? Because I was certain there was something living beneath the box spring that would take out my feet and suck me under if I got too close in the pitch black. I am elated to report to you that this fear no longer holds me captive. I calmly walk to my bed and crawl under the covers every night--alone, without the use of a night light. You laugh now, but you would have developed the same fear being a small child and watching the movie Little Monsters.
We have a bad experience and, often times, allow it to shape and form the way we live our lives. All of our decisions in that specific arena of life are dictated by that one experience. That is what we call fear--a circumstance, situation, or outcome that causes feelings of dread or apprehension. Fear is the very thing that creates a paradigm shift and keeps us from taking similar risks again. To many, our fears may seem very plausible; and to a point, they may be. However, they move from the plausible to the implausible when we allow them to control and dictate the trajectory of the rest of our lives.
Fear is like a disease! It creeps in, often times unnoticed, and cripples us. It becomes detrimental and debilitating to our very existence. Granted, there is such a thing as healthy fear. To fear God is a healthy fear, according to Scripture. Healthy fear can keep us from making un-wise decisions. But most often, our fears would fall under the category of the unhealthy (even our fear of God has moved into the realm of unhealthy for many of us). As I already pointed out, fear becomes unhealthy when we give it control. It is this fear that makes someone sleep with the light on, never go outside, keep relationships on a superficial level, never commit to marriage, not share their faith. The fear of death would lie on the same playing field as the rest of these. I think you get the picture.
The sad reality is that this is where a majority of us live our life everyday. We live in a perpetual state of fear. This fear holds us back. It keeps us from pursuing things beyond ourselves--the very things we were created to do. When we give fear control, we live far less significant lives than we were intended to. Unfortunately, I am no different from the many. This is where my life has been spent the past several years. Far too long, I have allowed my fears to hold me captive. My fears have been determining the course of my life. Because of fear, I have been eeking my way through life, missing numerous opportunities. Well today, I say no more! No longer will my life be controlled by fear (and regret).
A big fear of mine has always been the fear of failure. By nature, I am a very competitive person. It is hardwired in my DNA. If I know I can't succeed, I usually won't even make an attempt. Knowing this, it is time I make a conscious decision to combat this fear. Here on out, I vow to take risks, even if they will inevitably end in failure. Afterall, I cannot predict the future, so I will never know the outcome until I make the attempt. For the last 4 years, this fear has kept me from pursuing the calling God placed on my life. What if I pursue my dream and fall flat on my face? Can I really make a go of it? Am I even gifted in this area? These are the questions that continually plague me. Please understand, I am not fishing for compliments or a pat on the back. I know the answer to these questions has less to do about me and my ability than my faith in God's ability.
My divorce brought a fear of rejection to the surface. Granted, most of us have this fear innate within us; but, for me, it grew exponentially when the one I vowed to give myself to heart and soul rejected me. Not that I'm the only one that has gone through this, or ever will go through this, but it hit me pretty hard. There was a sense that it was my fault; that I had pushed her away; that I was to blame. I lived with the tension of that fear and guilt for months thinking I wasn't deserving of love and wouldn't find it again. For the better part of a year I built up walls to keep any female at bay. I wasn't going to allow women to hurt me again. And to be completely honest, this is still something I have to be on the lookout for.
Again, these may sound like legitimate fears. But I want you to see why they are not ! In Scripture, John tells us that "perfect love drives out fear." The reason we fear is obvious—we lack perfect love. Since we are imperfect beings, we are incapable of displaying perfect love; however, you should know we are all capable of receiving perfect love that comes only from our heavenly father. If you and I would begin to trust that He knows what He is doing and has our best interest at heart, we could overcome our fears. The result would be phenomenal. It would change the way we make every decision (not to mention the way we see everyone else). His perfect love will drive our fears away. Then, and only then, can we face our fears head on!