Letting Fear Keep You Safe
Fear. We all experience it. A few nights ago my husband and I were out on our deck chatting. It was late, almost bedtime. We were looking at the stars and chatting about our day. The lights were on in the kitchen and I could clearly see one of my eldest daughters doing something at the sink. Suddenly, I ran up to the glass door and slammed my hands and face against it. As expected, my daughter jumped out of her skin. Then she did something I didn’t expect. She slinked down behind the countertop and disappeared. After I stopped laughing, I go in to find her. She was nowhere to be found. Somehow, without being seen, she managed to run up the steps to her bedroom and retreat to her own safe haven.
Recently, I have come to realize how fearful I am. I am scared stiff, paralyzed with it. I hate it, and yet, I allow it to be my best friend. I allow it to stay close to me because it keeps me safe. There are worries about life, money and what will happen tomorrow. That is not where my fear resides. I think God will take care of me in those areas. My fear is in personal rejection. I am so scared that if someone discovers who I really am, they will turn away and reject me. In order to keep me safe, I don’t allow anyone close. If you are close to me, then you have won a hard battle. I am scared to offer myself to help with anything, for fear that I will not be wanted.
Last weekend a member of our church admitted she was an alcoholic. Having shared a similar path, every instinct in me wanted to go embrace her and whisper words of encouragement to her. But fear kept me safe. I stood with my feet firmly rooted, because what if my words weren’t welcomed? How could I be the one over hundreds of other people to be encouraging or even helpful. For about an hour I stayed safe. Then I finally went to her. I stumbled over my words and told her not to feel alone.
This weekend there is a women’s retreat at our church. I had not planned on going. Why? Because I am afraid of being rejected and alone among a large group of women. So I wanted to stay safe, inside my own home, not giving anyone the option to reject or accept me. With my husbands encouragement, I nervously have decided to attend.
I don’t want to give people to opportunity to reject me, so I let fear keep my back. I let fear keep me safe.
I know that everyone struggles with feeling accepted. If I want to truly minister, I cannot do it from the safety of my own bedroom (except for this blog). I have to truly reach out, take the risk and ask, “How are you today?” I have to (gasp) let people get emotionally close to me.
I want to know what it would look like if I was not afraid. What kind of Kingdom work would I be able to accomplish? I know that fear is a snowball in itself. When I was a vocal student at Trevecca, I hated recitals where I had to solo. I hated them because I did awful at them. I did awful at them because I was afraid. It is not that I can’t sing, it is that I was scared of being judged on how I sing. Because I felt judged, my voice would wobble and get off-key and I would sound horrible. But it was because I was afraid that fear led to the very thing I was afraid of. So I have to ask myself, am I producing the very results I am afraid of?
What are you afraid of?
What holds you back?
Dream about what it would be like to be fearless.