Fear

I love the fall.  I know it is an odd thing to post in the midst of summer, but I love the change in seasons.  It is one of the perks of living in the northeast. We get the leaves changing, the crisp air, and the Starbucks Carmel Apple Spice. I love the high school football games on Fridays, going to the playground in a sweatshirt, and the smell of the first fire in the fireplace.  I also love Halloween.

I’ll admit, I can carve a pumpkin with the best of them. As kids we would go on hayrides every year.  The farm that hosted the hayride also had a “haunted house.” I would always stay as far away from the thing as possible as I never liked being scared.  Fear, even so young, is a primal and powerful force.

It is something we battle daily, some more than others, and it can paralyze our personal and professional lives.

In Scriptures we constantly have angels telling people, “Do not be afraid.” Jesus gives the same advice.  He tells us he will be with us until the end of the age. That statement hits home to a major point.  For many people, fear equals being alone. It can be the first date that never calls back, the friend who drifts away, or the family member that suddenly stops sending text messages.  Fear is rejection, it is confrontation, it is stepping out of your box to see what you are capable of. Fear is the voice of doubt telling you to forget about it, that you can’t do it anyway.

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Fear is a liar.

In high school I took a public speaking class.  I have no idea what caused me to take it. I hated speaking in front of people, as do the majority of people in this country.  As I went through the weeks, I found it getting easier. As I spoke, the nerves would gradually fade.  I progressed on from that class, years later doing a semester of student teaching and speaking in front of a hundred tenth graders five days a week.  I would have never found that point without taking that first step.

Here are three things that have helped me whenever I faced my own fear:

1/Compartmentalize: Break down the obstacle into smaller parts and a smooth process.  Mountains can seem much smaller with a clear trail up the side.

2/Conceptualize: Look at the situation. Really look at it and define what you are facing. We add our own emphasis to many of the things that end up in our path. If we take a step back, it can be beneficial as we finally make a move forward.

3/Catalyze: There’s a point where you just have to do it, where all thinking stops and motion begins.  When you start something, the nerves will flare and the voices will creep but, gradually, they fade away.

Here’s a fact that I’ve repeated to myself daily over the past two weeks: when you start with just you, you can only go up. There is no loss. I started this writing business with a kitchen table and a computer. I’ve heard the voices and had my mind wander over all the possible futures.  In the end I lean on what I know:

Faith conquers Fear.

Have a great weekend,

~Matt

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