You know, fear has been such a big part of my life thus far that I do not think it is, in itself, as horrible a thing as it is made out to be (just hear me out). For instance, I work as hard as I do not because I am this super ambitious, determined being, but because I am afraid of failure, of not panning out to be anything in this life. Admittedly, that’s a flawed system: being more afraid than determined. I mean, what happens when I am no longer afraid? Will I have the gust to keep going? Will I not? I do not know. But I also cannot deny that feeding off fear has gotten me places I could have never imagined reaching. And if you really think about it, a lot of us are that way. We are more afraid of not making it than we are determined to do so, more afraid of not panning out great than we are determined to become something. To most of us, the two have become so synonymous that we can hardly tear them apart, is it fear or ambition driving us? Is it both?
But then does it really matter though? At least for now, does it matter whether we are afraid or ambitious if we are getting the job done anyway? Is fear such a terrible thing if it pushes us to better ourselves anyway? I don’t think so. I would argue that it is how we react to being afraid that is the real issue. I think that the real issue is how we have been taught to be more afraid of fear than we are taught what to do when we are scared, what to do with it, how we are taught not to allow ourselves to be afraid. We are told to “not be afraid” as though fear were not a natural human reflex, as though to be afraid were a choice. We are taught to be afraid of fear, that being scared is cowardly. None of that has ever stopped me from being afraid. All the “do not be afraid” talks only succeeded in making fear this block over which I more often than not couldn’t get over. It felt as though I were doing something wrong by being afraid, as though my being afraid were already a sin in itself. So I froze when I got scared. I ran whenever I felt afraid. I did not do it when I was scared. So is it really the fear or our reaction to it?
Look, the point is, it’s okay to be afraid. It’s okay that you are scared. Fear in itself is not a bad thing. It is what you do when you are scared it what really matters. You are not a coward just because you feel scared. What’s bravery without fear? It is a natural human reflex, this fear. You do not choose when to and when not to be afraid. But you can choose how you react to it. You were probably not taught that, were you? You were probably told to never be afraid, to be fearless?
There is no such thing as “fearless” human beings. Everyone out here just does it despite the fear. And you should too. So go ahead… be afraid. Allow yourself to be scared. It’s okay that you are. But learn how to do it all despite the fear. If you are scared, do it scared then. If anything, do it because you are scared. The best moments in this life lie on the other side of fear.
Even though the Bible implores us countless times to not be afraid, I do not think that God frowns down on us in the times that we do get scared. I think that He realizes that we are human and probably expects us to be. What we do in the moments when fear rages on become the topic of contention with our God, not the fact that we are afraid. So do not let anyone convince you that to be afraid is wrong or cowardly. One of my favorite Bible verses is the 3rd verse of the 56th Psalm, “What time I am afraid, I trust in thee.” If David could be afraid, so can you. But when you are, trust in Him.