There was once a time in my life where I felt, for an extended period of time, that my life was being physically threatened. Whether this was in fact the case or not is up for debate, I suppose. Regardless, it was unsettling. I would avoid certain places at all costs. My knees would quiver uncontrollably. I was constantly either thinking about the situation or trying to figure out ways that I could avoid thinking about it.
But it was through this and other situations like it that I have come to believe that fear is NEVER necessary. For some of us, if we really think about it, this probably sounds ludicrous. Fear is so common, heck – we use it as a tool to make us do things: “If I don’t go to work I’ll lose my job and be out on the street”, “If I don’t wear deodorant I’ll be a bachelor forever”, etc.
But I’m telling you, I believe living fearlessly is possible, and I’m going to give you the lowdown on what I’ve learned.
Now, there can be different ways to understand fear, but the kind of fear I’m talking about here is what you get when you feel like you’re going to experience pain of some sort; most often, it’s related to the possibility of losing something. This could be money, could be a relationship, maybe even your life. It could also include things that you don’t even have yet.
It’s simple enough, and the best way I’ve found to combat the fear of losing something is to put my trust in something that can’t be taken from me. Cue Braveheart music – “They may take our lives, but they’ll never take OUR FREEDOM!” If the most valuable thing in your life is something that is unchangeable, you will never fear.
What sort of things could be unchangeable, you ask? Well, for me, this is being loved by God. I do not understand this love completely, but then again, who ever did understand love completely? It may not always seem tangible, but I sure feel like the fruit is.
Does this mean that I never had my heart rate quicken or terrifying thoughts cross my mind when I was going through scary stuff? No. It’s like Nelson Mandela said, “I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”
As you probably figured out, the imminent death I had potential to fear didn’t really happen. Perhaps the acronym for fear (False Evidence Appearing Real) was correct. But it wasn’t having faith that I’d stay alive that got me through it. It was realizing that even if I didn’t live, I’d still be loved by God. See how it works? I mean, anyways – “every man dies, not every man truly lives!” (sorry. Braveheart will stop interrupting).
That’s really the basics of it, but I’d also like to point out that we gain a lot of comfort in knowing that we did all we can do in a situation. Check out the diagram on the left to see what I mean. We tend to inherit a lot of problems from watching the news, for example, but we often don’t stop to ask ourselves what exactly we’re gonna DO about them. Are you going to drop out of school because of rising tuition costs? Gonna fight wildfires in California? Fly overseas to give dictators a piece of your mind? Good. Then stop worrying about it. Like Jesus said, “Who of you by worrying can add a single day to his life?” (Luke 12:25)
If you’re dealing with fear somewhere in your life, I suggest you ask yourself what you’re really afraid to lose. Is it possible that there is something bigger for you to depend on for your happiness than that thing? Because if you can find that, not only will the fear leave, but without that pressure to keep something, you’ll actually treat that thing better and increase the likelihood of keeping the thing anyways.
I’ll wrap up with some of the lyrics from a song I wrote during the aforementioned time that I was battling fear. I hope that you too will be inspired to catch this mysterious peace that comes from being okay no matter what happens. “What will you do with that freedom? Will you FIGHT?” (Sorry. Braveheart music was still playing. Bagpipes out).
But now I’m standing here again
I got nothing to lose
They can steal all my money
Take my life if they choose
But they can’t ever take away a single ounce of peace
They can’t take away the Spirit in this sweet release
They can’t touch me here
They can’t get inside
Here I will always be safe
I can always hide
No fear in here.
In God I trust, I will not be afraid. What can mortal man do to me?