What do we miss when we’re afraid of fear?
What kind of things become possible when, instead of freezing along the way with fear, we learn to listen along beside it? Instead of not doing something because it scares you, think about why it scares you. Because fear happens. God never said we wouldn’t be afraid. He just told us not to be. He never said you will not be afraid, He just said do not be afraid. Because of Him. Of course. Because we cannot change our fear into anything else without His help.
So fear happens, but what is its purpose if we’re not supposed to be afraid? How can we reframe fear a little? What could this fear be doing in your bigger story? What strand of narrative is that fear influencing? It may appear all dark and scary but the undertones can paint a deeper and richer scene, or story, or character.
I’m not going to say fear is bad, or good, or ambivalent. All I know is fear happens. But what if instead of always recoiling from it we learn from it? Can we move ahead a little stronger and wiser because of things learned from it? Why not weave a tapestry with the learning and guiding that it can bring…without getting all tangled up in the threads that are only pieces of the whole? Can we use the varied pattern to uncover hints of understanding of God’s plan?
What if my fear of being wrong or disagreed with is allowing me to see a bigger picture of who God is? With my fear as it is, instead of speaking up in immediate and rigid defense of my own softly-held position, I can be stuck in silence because of a little knotty bit of hesitation. The moment, or day, or year, or decade, of stuck gives the weaver time to settle in and focus on the process and the pattern a little more than before. I can stop and ponder all the opinions with freedom. I can pause and wait. Then thoughts even out and my own opinion forms.
A little bigger than before.
And the words can come out with a little more grace and delicacy.
A little more seeing of both sides.
A little more equanimity.
A little more peace.
And then speaking from somewhere in the middle, after time, becomes a natural endeavor rooted in experience with the process rather than fear of the outcome.
The fear that keeps me silent might also help me to offer the grace of settling with another cup of coffee and listening well instead of always offering my small opinion.
What if that fear leads to bridges instead of deeper caverns?
In refraining from choosing, and picking up, and pitching my two cents, I can, instead, draw people in for a thoughtful reflection on how uncertain any two cents are and just how certain God is. I can put less stock in any words I can throw together.
God is bigger than we think.
And that is a crazy thought.
What if fear takes us on a circuitous route to a better understanding of everything, and after that to confidence in the only thing we can ever have complete confidence in? What if fear pushes us toward God in ways we don’t even realize?
God is bigger than we think.
What your thoughts on that last phrase?
What about fears and dreams? Can fears be used to shape our following? Or are they always a hindrance to following?
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This post was written in response to a prompt from my Writers
(In)couraging Writers group. Catch up with us next session here!