You know that fear has kept you from trying things, meeting people, or taking chances. It may be blocking your way right now. The possibility of personal advancement gets thwarted because fear holds you back.
You know what to do; you’ve heard it all before:
- Deny your fears – The Bible says that “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” But what if you feel afraid anyway?
- Face your fears – Things aren’t as bad as they seem, so take courage. But what if it’s harder than you thought?
- Conquer your fears – Show them who’s boss! But what if you chicken out?
- Surrender to your fears – Cancel your plans and settle within your limits. But what if you don’t like them? What if you want more?
The problem worsens when people who look up to you ask for your help about their own anxieties. How are you supposed to help them if your stomach is in knots? Do you advise them anyway? Isn’t that hypocritical?
There’s another way.
On a family vacation a few weeks ago, two of my kids (my son and daughter) wanted to sign up for zipline course. Although an adult didn’t have to accompany them, I knew they’d want me there, so I signed up, too.
But soon my daughter began having second thoughts. She’s done rock climbing and ropes courses before, so she’s not afraid of heights. At least that’s what I thought. But apparently, the zipline was different.
So what could I tell her? Deny your fears, confront them, defeat them, or give up?
None of the above.
I told her to accept them. When you’re strapping on the braces, acknowledge your fear. When you’re climbing up the stairs to reach the top of the station, admit your anxiety. And when you’re jumping off the platform, take your fears with you.
It wasn’t what she was expecting to hear, but she bought into the idea.
She ended up completing the course and she had fun, too!
You don’t have to waste your energy fighting your fears. When you’re scared, accept it. And then take the next step. Even if the fear goes with you.
Sometimes, you discover that you’re no longer afraid; you don’t feel frozen. But other times, the fears seem to linger. You met the challenge, but you’re still nervous.
That was my story. When I was encouraging my daughter to accept her fear, I was also reminding myself. You see, the course frightened me, too. For the sake of my kids, I told myself that I’d go through with it.
So each time I felt fear, I acknowledged its presence. Fear didn’t keep me from taking the next step. And I succeeded. More than I knew.
We registered for a course that had three runs. We’d ascend one pole, and then zip to three different and be done. At least that was the plan.
However, since it was a hot day and attendance was down, the staff decided to keep our group out longer than we’d expected. Like about twice as long! And we did seven lines; not three!
Maybe this a hidden blessing. MMA fighter Georges St-Pierre asks, “What happens when you accept and embrace your fear? Fear becomes your weapon.” And author Jack Canfield insists that “Everything you want is on the other side of fear.”
But I didn’t find these sentiments to be true. And I don’t think my daughter did, either. (My son’s a different story. He took running leaps off the platforms; that’s his mindset!) Fear was no weapon we could use, and we never crossed over to the other side of being scared.
Yet we managed to complete the course.
So fear doesn’t have to dictate what you do. You get to decide. You might not be able to wave away your distress, but you don’t have to. Accept the presence of your fears, but know also that God is with you.
- He promised to never leave His own
- Jesus is with believers all the way to the end
- The Holy Spirit stays with you
Knowing that the Lord is with you, what can you accomplish?