I want to discuss an emotion that we’re all aware of but try not to think about. It’s an emotion that is present within us from the day we’re born until the day we die. It hinders our ability to do what we know should be done.
This emotion is the primary reason for procrastination. It’s impossible to ever really conquer this emotion, primarily because it rears its ugly head in different forms and in different ways.
Most of the time, its appearance is so subtle that we don’t even recognize it as being present. It keeps us from saying what needs to be said to people that we love, and to various other people that we interact with.
It keeps us from dealing with issues that need to be dealt with, and it often hinders our ability to think rationally about a topic that requires rational thinking and analysis.
What emotion am I referring to?
It’s the emotion of fear. The dictionary defines “fear” as “an unpleasant often strong emotion caused by anticipation or awareness of danger.” Synonyms for “fear” include anxiety, despair, dread, fright, alarm, panic, terror, worry, and trepidation.
At our very core, we desire to be loved, accepted, and respected by others, especially our family members, friends, acquaintances, and colleagues. Fear sets in any time the approval and validation of one of those individuals is threatened.
In his book Fearless author Steve Chandler pointed out the following:
Every human is born with a creative drive. You were. And as a child, you expressed it every day. When someone brought out the crayons you weren’t frozen with fear, you eagerly filled the pages with color.
When you played, you made up stories freely. You didn’t worry whether you were a published playwright. Then you sang. You danced around, without having been taught to dance. In the sand, you built a castle, even though you had not been certified [as] an architect. What were you thinking? You weren’t.
Michael Kelly, the author of Living Every Day with Passion and Purpose, pointed out that the phrase “Do not be afraid” appears in the Bible more than 1,000 times. That’s more than 1,000 messages from God that we have nothing to fear.
So how are we supposed to handle fear? What’s the most effective way of dealing with it?
Fear has an insatiable appetite. It is fed with destructive thoughts. The person who is seized with fear focuses on the worst possible outcome. He wishes he could go back in time and change things. He complains and talks about all the things that could go wrong. He blames others for his problems.
The more we think and talk about what we could lose, the greater the fear becomes. It can become so powerful that it paralyzes our ability to think and act rationally. It shuts down all our creativity.
Contrast the behavior of a fearful adult with that of a young child. How does a child think and behave? He’s willing to try something new with no guarantee of success. His attitude is, Why not? I have nothing to lose.
He’s not worried about losing money, his reputation, or the love and acceptance of his family, friends, and acquaintances. That’s not even on his mind. He’s focused on creating new possibilities for himself. If what he’s trying to accomplish doesn’t work, so what. His reaction is, I’ll just try something else.
In the eyes of God, we’re all children. Do we really trust Him like a child trusts his loving father? Do we really believe in our heart and soul that God will be there to assist us, guide us, protect us, and if necessary, bail us out?
Whenever we procrastinate, make excuses, or avoid necessary conflict, our behavior can usually be traced to fear. Regardless of how we feel, we must be willing to acknowledge our fears and move forward with humility, courage, and creativity.
That’s what a true child of God does. When we move forward in that way, we are emulating Him. And we’re behaving as though we really were created in His image and likeness.
It’s important to embrace and deal with our fear rather than attempt to fight it or run away from it. Fear is part of the human condition. We should view it as a catalyst for new growth and creativity, and an opportunity for greater understanding and wisdom.
The key to overcoming fear is to humbly acknowledge that you are a child of God and that He has allowed you to experience the fear for a good reason. You may not know what the reason is, but you can be assured that it is to bring you closer to Him and His heavenly kingdom.
Finally, regardless of the fear you are facing, you need to lighten up and have some fun while you navigate through the challenges you are facing. Use the creative drive you were born with to eagerly fill your day with color. Tell stories. Laugh, sing, dance, and pray.
And understand, it’s only a matter of time before you will join your Creator in Heaven for eternity, where instead of fear and trepidation, there is only love and joy.