Fear is a mind killer.
It’ll push you into decisions you don’t want to make.
Talk you out of the ones you do.
Freeze you in a moment in time,
in your own brain.
I can’t think of many times in childhood that I was physically inhibited by fear. At least from what I remember, which could very possibly be distorted by nostalgia; I think I felt pretty self-assured. Admittedly though most things came easy for me. I lived a comfortable life devoid of many dangers or challenges that would induce fear.
Despite an environment of ease, I can still remember being a cautious child. Always reserved in approach, slow to act, quick to avoid confrontation or risk. But I never really considered that caution as a form of fear. As I move up in age and my ability to reflect becomes more fine-tuned and astute, I realize fears has been there all along.
I’ve come to realize my life was defined by a low hum of fear. So subtle I was able to call it caution. So subtle was the fear I wouldn’t call it by its actual name. I was able to coast through facing few challenges, jumping minimal hurdles. Challenges were met and achieved, new challenges arose, and those were conquered as well.
But now in adulthood the fear is more profound. It’s no longer a hum, it’s much louder and unapologetic. It comes in many forms and brandishes many names. It abrasively confronts me in the form of new ideas for businesses, as an inner desire to try something new, as an unpredictable future, or a reflection on an under-performed past. It greets me as a friendly invitation to join a community org, serve on a committee, or partner in a start-up. Fear now challenges me at every turn, it pressures me with a burden, a call to action, a prompt to start something huge; and I am paralyzed
In my *cringe* late 20’s, I have finally had to acknowledge the role fear plays in my life.
Standing here on this cliff, having accomplished so much, jumping into an unpredictable, unreliable, volatile landscape is terrifying.
Biggest of the current forces inching me towards the edge, is the call of entrepreneurship. Starting my own business, something bearing my name, my reputation, my intended legacy. Failing at THAT doesn’t feel like a risk I’m prepared to take. Fear feels too big. Failure feels too likely. I don’t feel ready.
Greater than the fear of failure though is it’s brother, my fear of underachievement, close relatives with fear of missed opportunity making me quite acquainted with a family of fears that I felt only operated at a hum prior. Twenty-seven, thus far has been a full court confrontation.
And I’m not writing this to assert that I have the answers, or a solution to facing life’s terrors, whether imagined or very real. Moreover, to suggest the power that confronting them has had for me. Even as a first step, calling my fears by name have pointed me in the direction of resolution. Allowed me to take baby steps to move in spite of fear. Pointed me to Bible verses, and books, conversations with friends and decisions that ultimately free me from those moments of feeling paralyzed. You can’t very well fix it if you don’t call it by name.
Giving it a name frees you to give it a solution. My current solution is adding a BUT and tacking on possible alternatives. Lol walk with me here….
I’m afraid of starting a business, BUT I’m more afraid at missing out on opportunities and not living up to my potential.
I’m afraid of not living up to my potential BUT I know I’m capable of making this thing happen.
I’m afraid of failing at making this thing happen BUT God would not give me this idea if I wasn’t meant to do something with it. I don’t believe he brought me this far to fail.
And so for however many fears arise I’m mastering the skill of pushing through that moment into a but alternative outcome moment; and that is a space where action happens. That is the space where fears dissolve. I want to encourage you in moments of fear to call it by name, and push yourself into a moment and space of change. AND reflect! How many times have you tackled hurdles before, how many times have you stared fear down and won!? A little nostalgia could be a stepping stone.
We’re all struggling here, don’t let fear convince you you’re alone.