Hello Reader. Sometimes we don’t step out to speak up, to break out of a routine, to start something, to follow through with something or to revisit something all because of…you guessed it fear.
How big of a deal is fear? Well, one recent survey[i] categorized the top 10 fears of Americans, where on average 50% of people fear a few of the top 10 items, things like corruption, terrorism and identity theft in the top 3 while only 8% of those surveyed had fears of clowns or zombies.
On the other hand, fear isn’t a big deal to 50% of the people according to the same survey. See what I did there?
Me? I vacillate depending on the fear-ful topic. I used to feel afraid of things like speaking up, not being liked, or clowns. Yeah I was in the 8% for a little while after a certain movie came out. It’s ok, I’m not afraid anymore.
Really. I’m not. I was shown “when fear doesn’t matter anymore”.
So how did I get there? And how can you? And lastly, why is this even important right now?
OK…first question first.
How did I “get there” and how can you?
Start with what fear is and where it comes from. Start with the fact that fear is an emotion fueled by the human desire to be safe along with either past hurt from the feared object or future pain rooted in imagination or anxiety. Everyone fears. Everyone wants to be safe. Since we are all in relationships we have all been hurt yet there is hope for healing also in relationships. Everyone has dreams or at least had dreams or hopes at one time as well. Think of the song, Psalm 126 of those who once dreamed and then began to dream again when fear wasn’t an issue anymore. I have to remind myself of these things as fears continue to be revealed so they can be dealt with too.
Realize there will always be fear but it doesn’t have to remain with us. Some people say embrace your fears and let it fuel you. I say resolve those stinky fears or kick ‘em in the teeth and tell them what’s true. You see fear doesn’t always speak the truth. Fear is mostly fueled by neuro-chemical reactions and spiritual reactions. There are some rational fears that help us avoid danger or pain—like my fear of touching the oven, again. Ouch. Those rational fears can be resolved by addressing where it felt like we were hurt, comforting that hurt, and allowing our brains to re-set so we are not triggered again by anything that looks like the feared thing. Yes, fear can be resolved. An applicable resolution question for relational fears is to ask “what’s so bad about this/that?”. This question reveals the actual fear so you can deal with it squarely in the face. Then once it’s identified you can help yourself see the evidence supporting the possibility and allow yourself to either receive comfort for past hurts fueling the fear or provide peaceful direction to avoid future anxiety.
Yes, there are some fears that come from intense or repeated trauma and those fears can also be resolved with the healing power of God, work, grace, truth and much time in healthy relationships—often with the help of professionals focusing on whole-person care.
Focus on the desire or hope. One secret of highly productive and focused people is that they flip fears. I LOVE flipping fears. I actually imagine myself flipping the fear ninja style and watch them sputter on the floor. Sure it’s a little violent, but no more so that the violence of your life being suffocated by a fear that can be resolved. The quick description (without the ninja moves) of flipping a fear is to ask yourself “what do I really hope to see happen here”. The answer could be the desire on the flip side of fear. It might take some time as you ask yourself the above “resolution question” which will eventually lead to revealing the desire. Once you have the desire, focus on helping the desire to become reality.
Why this is helpful NOW
Plan for the healthy Desire or Dream become reality—ever learn to ride a bike? Sometimes we hear “don’t hit the tree or don’t go off the sidewalk”. Well our brains focus on that and we eventually do just that. Oof. But if we heard “stay straight” or “keep pedaling”, well we did just that. Yay! Fears and desires are like that. When you focus on what you hope to see come to reality, it’s much easier to take the first step. Often the desire comes from a God-given relational need that can be met through healthy relational interactions.
You’re not doing this alone—so the image in the blog photo is from the Lego Movie. Have you seen it? Basically, without giving away any spoilers because I know you’re curious now, it’s about a guy who has been living a life that truly isn’t his. He didn’t realize who he really was and what he was capable of doing. In the movie he meets others and as a team they band together to do crazy things. You have those people too. Who is in your life that is healthy, supportive and can help you stay focused on the desire or dream? Share your plan with them and invite their support or specific help.
You have a voice to be heard—remember that time you told somebody something and they were like, “yeah!” and the person next to them was like, “I have been telling you that forever!”? Well, you have things that people need to hear and while they might not be original, they still are timely. Your voice needs to be heard so don’t let fear stop you. Whether your voice is audible or visual—you really have been created for such a time as this.
The Bottom Line of when fear doesn’t matter…anymore
When we put these things together we realize fear just doesn’t matter anymore. The importance of the voice of fear doesn’t stack up to the reality of who we are, who is with us, and what we are here to do.
If you are interested in finding the evidence to these truths about your identity, authority and power, send me an email and we can chat about a few helpful scriptural studies.
Check in next week as I follow this post with “You Didn’t Screw Up. There’s Still Time.”
Connect with me and let me know how it goes!
Liz Lawrence, MA, LPC-S is counselor, coach and creative who is passionate about people. She directs a counseling center in Austin, Texas and co-leads the non-profit Renue.Me whose mission is to invest in the dreams of leaders in underprivileged communities around the world. Connect with her at www.lizlawrencelpc.com or www.renue.me
Photo from Pascal Renet curated by Pexels.com free stock images; Graphic by Author on Canva, free graphic tools
[i] The Chapman University, 2015