“More often than not, being brave means doing it scared” (Dn. Michael Hyatt).
“Perfect love expels all fear” (I John 4:18a NLT).
When we were very young, fear helped to keep us alive. When those who loved us threatened consequences for disobeying, fear kept us from running into a busy street. At the time we probably didn’t interpret those threats of punishment as love but looking back we recognize those warnings were motivated by our parents’ love for us.
Thanks to fear, we survived childhood and are now reading these words.
Fear of punishment, however, is only the beginning.
As we’ve grown older, we’ve learned fear can also be debilitating, hindering us from being who we are created to be and from doing the things we dream of doing. The New Testament quote above (I John) about perfect love expelling “fear” is referring specifically to the fear of God’s judgement. The verse goes on to say, “If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced His [God’s] perfect love” (4:8b).
Choosing to love and to trust is the ultimate remedy to almost every fear. As the founder of Christian monasticism wrote: “Now, I no longer fear God. I love Him” (St. Anthony the Great, 4th century). If I believe a loving God is ultimately in control and has my eternal best interests at heart, then fear need no longer control my reactions and decisions.
Recognizing and naming our fears is part of moving toward trust and love and toward healing – healing that leads to growth and maturity.
Here is more on fear from a colleague, Rhonda Hess, a Master Certified Coach who co-authored the CTA Coaches Training Manual (from “Coaching Compass”, July 13, 2021):
Fear can be a great ally. It puts you on notice that you’re at the threshold of realizing more of your potential. If you step through the threshold, despite your fear, you’re likely to never look back because action replaces fear with inspiration.
Your creativity and motivation take over and propel you forward.
Sometimes fear speaks loudly and literally paralyzes you, even though some part of you knows you were meant for this next step.
When I’m afraid, I want to run away! If I slow down long enough to be with what I’m feeling, I realize that what I’m running away from isn’t tangible at all. It’s merely a thought.
“It’s fear of outcome, not the outcome itself that causes pain.– Larry Crane, The Release Technique
Fear is inevitable. Everyone feels it. So the goal isn’t to stop feeling fear, but rather transform it and be back on your way as soon as you can. Try this quick step-by-step process to get your mojo back online.
Five Minute Fear Buster
1. Greet fear as a friend.
Make the shift. See fear as an old friend, just passing through. It doesn’t want to move in with you any more than you want it to. A brief visit will do the trick.
2. Hear fear out.
Invite fear in for a short cup of tea. Listen to its story. What’s the worst possible thing? And what else? Oh my, yes, and what are all the convoluted details?
Get it all down on paper. Validate it all as real feeling rather than seeing it as THE TRUTH about you and your future.
When the dreaded “what if’s” and “how to’s” start flooding in, remember, fear just wants to be heard. It doesn’t expect you to abandon your path or let go of your dreams. It certainly doesn’t expect you to know all the answers right now.
When the time comes for action, you’ll “Do all you can, with what you’ve got, from where you are” and the Universe will do its part too. (As Mike Dooley says.)
3. Surround fear with light.
For now, realize that you don’t have to “take on” fear’s story. Instead, put some love on it. Surround fear’s story with light. Let all the hard edges grow fuzzy. Let wisdom float in as fear stands, grateful for this time, ready now to move along.
4. Open the door.
Give fear a warm hand and bless it on its way. You’ve given it all it wants and needs.
5. Take decisive action.
Whatever you were afraid of, skip lightly into this new territory. Be okay with not knowing everything. Let yourself be “bad” at it until you’re good at it. After all, you know how to grow. You’ve been doing it quite well for a long time.
Then, the next time fear drops in, you’ll know how to hear it out and move it on its way.
Want to talk more about your fears with your own Life Coach?
Choose “Contact” at www.syngerylife.coach
“Do one thing every day that scares you” (Mary Schmich).