“Don’t run away from things just because they scare you. If you do, you’ll always be afraid. It’s a bad way to live.” – Ben Reed (Don Johnson)- Paradise
For years and years (and sometimes still today) I let fear stop me. Stop me in my tracks – as if it were a solid brick wall. Some dark fear showed up and I shut down. I didn’t ask any questions, I didn’t investigate any further, I just stopped.
Oh, I made attempts to feel the fear and do it anyway, and sometimes succeeded, but often, fear felt way too big, too strong, too powerful. The benefits of moving forward just didn’t seem to outweigh the horrors that fear promised would meet my efforts.
And, sure enough, I discovered that always being afraid was, indeed, a very bad way to live. Depression, self doubt, feelings of failure, all haunted me.
I had to ask myself, “How can you be used by God and live a life of purpose, if you’re allowing fear to have its way with you? Is this really the way you want to live the rest of your life?”
My answer was no. I had to recognize how important it was for me, for my soul, to be “driven by faith, not by fear.”
You have to recognize that letting fear win, time and time again is harming you in untold ways. You have to decide that you want to choose to follow something greater than fear. You have to recognize that if you’re living your purpose, you WILL be scared and uncomfortable a lot. And, you have to figure out if you’re willing to go through that. Sometimes you will be – and sometimes you won’t. But the more you do, the more you’ll get comfortable with discomfort.
When fear does show up, just recognize it and stop. Stay still for a minute. Take a few deep breaths and just acknowledge the fear. Don’t let your fearful thoughts overtake you with their whispers of doom, gloom, and disaster.
Figure out what you’re really afraid of. Notice the thoughts you’re thinking, the pictures you’re imagining of the horrors at in your head. (Looking like a fool? Being absolutely humiliated in front of a crowd? Having to skulk away in shame?)
I found that part of why fear felt so big was that I got a bundle of smallish fears all tangled up together. Then I hit that solid wall – where that fear seemed just too daunting. Instead, if you tease them apart, ask yourself a few more questions, you can face them more directly and see the truth of the situation.
When you can see what you’re really up “against,” you can make better choices, choices that will serve you much better than cowering in fear.