Don’t be afraid.
The statement is repeated numerous times in the Bible. We are told, despite our natural instinct, not to fear. Fear, to me, was never paralyzing. It is more a cold, blank sensation.
When Aiden was born, I stood in the delivery room and watched the nurses clean him off (a scheduled c-section). They hooked him to an oxygen monitor and I watched as his numbers started at 96 and gradually fell to 80. In this span of minutes, a NICU doctor was called in and they decided to give him a bed in the NICU.
He stayed almost a week before the fluid was clear from his lungs and stomach.
I’ll never forget watching those numbers fall and the glances the nurses exchanged with each other as he struggled to breathe. The fear in my heart implanted the images in my soul.
Fear can be a catalyst. When you stand at the Red Sea watching it part, you have two choices. You can stay in danger or walk forward, facing the perceived greater danger, and see what happens. The unknown, even between walls of water, can unleash greatness on the other side.
Fear can be a dream. I remember having nightmares growing up. One night a pair of cats were fighting outside my window. The growls, scratches, and screams were surreal and seemed to be getting closer and closer. The darkness itself can bring condemnation and anxiety. For some, dark nights carried the promise of no heat or electricity, hunger, or an abusive spouse or parent. In dreams, remember you will wake up. The sun will split the night and rise in the morning.
Fear can be control. This is the most dangerous. You are called. Maybe it is a mission trip. Maybe a friend whose marriage is failing, maybe a family member mired in addiction. Maybe it is the business you are meant to start, the product that will change the world, the idea that can make a difference. God puts this on your heart and you look in the mirror.
The small voice tells you that you can’t do it. Not you. Not now.
What if you fail? Think of the laughter, the condemnation, the wasted time, money, and effort.
What if it all falls apart?
This fear is vanquished through community. Find friends and colleagues making the same journey. Look for resources in person and in the digital universe. Find hope in a mentor who has been there already. Find power in the permission to let yourself chase your dream.
Break the control of fear. The failure of not trying is always greater than giving it a shot. Step in the ring. You’ll be surprised at what can happen when fear is beaten down and destroyed. Even if you need to do it every day, it is worth the fight.