Fears. We all have them. And we let them hold us back from doing scary things.
Some of those things, like touching a hot stove or diving into a shallow pool, are good. We definitely shouldn't do those things. We all know that.
But some things, like writing a book, starting a new business, or beginning a relationship, are good things that we shouldn't let fear hold us back from.
We let fear paralyze us when we believe its lie that tells us we're not good enough, smart enough, accomplished enough, thin enough, pretty enough, popular enough, rich enough, important enough, loved enough, or any other version of enough.
But what would our lives look like if we felt the fear and moved forward anyway?
FEELING THE FEAR
We can't completely shut down our fear. Fear does warn us of potential dangers. It would be irresponsible to completely silence that little voice inside of us that tells us, "Stop! This is dangerous and scary!"
But that doesn't mean we have to live every moment of our lives in fear. We can acknowledge it and see what it has to tell us and yet not let it control us.
Fear is just like other emotions in that if we don't acknowledge it, we won't be able to deal with it and move through it. If we're in denial about our fear, we're already fighting an uphill battle.
I'm learning that it's so much healthier for me to be brave enough to call my fear by name, admit what I'm scared of, and pray for the strength to face it.
I can't even express to you how freeing it is to admit my fears to trusted friends. In naming my fears, I take away some of their power over me. It's like saying, "I know you're there. I see you. I hear you. But you aren't going to win today." Welcoming fear into the conversation like another person seated at the table makes it so much easier to address because I'm no longer hiding from it or pretending it isn't there.
And by engaging in this kind of vulnerable dialogue with close friends, I get the support, accountability, and advice I need to work through my fear. Some of my friends have been where I am and can give practical advice. Some continue to walk by my side and regularly ask how I'm doing. And some just listen and pray for me. All of those things are so powerful, and I wouldn't have them if I didn't name my fears and be brave enough to share them with others.
(And if you're looking for friends to provide that kind of support for you, I have good news! I have group coaching packages available where you can meet with like-minded women to set goals, create plans to achieve them, learn from others, gain greater perspective, and have the kind of support and accountability we all need to accomplish our goals and live lives we love!)
FIGHTING THE FEAR
Sometimes fear keeps us from doing stupid things, but sometimes it holds us back from taking risks we should be taking.
For instance, I was scared to move home after college without a job lined up. I would have loved to stay in my college town and avoid moving home into a completely unknown world, but I didn't. I chose to do the hard thing and move home anyway. And I'm so glad I did! That season of life and lack of a full-time job was what allowed me to jump in and help start Clarity Church, and I wouldn't trade that experience for anything.
Once I've acknowledged my fear and shared it with friends, I have to choose how to respond to it. In many cases, that has meant moving forward anyway. Now, I'm a naturally cautious and anxious person, so I don't say this lightly. I know it can be incredibly difficult to feel the fear and move forward anyway, but I'm telling you that the results are so often worth it!
Of course, I'm not talking about making stupid, reckless, or downright dangerous decisions. Our fears in those situations are well-grounded and should be listened to (I'm talking about abusive situations, facing bears head-on, and playing chicken in cars). But there are also times when our fears just mean we should slow down a bit and be careful and intentional in our approach (things like quitting a job, starting a new business, beginning a new relationship, or moving to a new city).
We don't have to live in fear. Our fears certainly don't have to control us. But they are there, and they are real. We feel them for a reason, and we aren't doing anyone any favors when we completely ignore them. So let's start listening to what they have to teach us and move forward anyway.
How do you fight fear in your life? I'd love to hear from you in the comments!