"Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear - not absence of fear. Except a creature be part coward it is not a compliment to say it is brave." ~Mark Twain, Pudd'nhead Wilson's Calendar, 1894
Earlier this week I wrote about Two Obstacles Every Leader Must Overcome and I've been thinking about one of those obstacles a little more today. Fear! Fear is a pretty large topic. I thought about the things that I have been afraid of in life and realized that the list would be better if I broke it down into childhood fears and adult fears...
- Spiders ~ Anything that crawls around with facial expressions too small to read
- Shots ~ Blood tests, vaccinations, etc.
- Bleeding ~ One of my goals growing up was to not bleed
- Dentists ~ Obvious!
That's about it! Life was pretty simple as a kid. I know these may seem silly, but I bet they're at the top of almost every kid's list of fears. Things change as we get older though, most things anyway... Today my list looks like this.
- Spiders ~ My wife is the designated Spider Killer in our home and I'm OK with that!
- Shots ~ I avoid needles at all costs, and I look the other way when the doctor draws my blood, keyword "MY" blood
- Bleeding ~ Still a major goal in life ~ Don't spill any blood. It doesn't hurt if it doesn't bleed...right?
- Dentists ~ Duh!
- Failure ~ Fear of failure doesn't keep us from failure though. It happens and we survive it, but it's like being shocked with a low voltage jolt - it still makes you jumpy. We must not let fear keep us from attempting things though, not trying is failure. We can overcome our fear of failure by understanding that God's love and care for us are not conditioned on our being successful at everything we attempt.
- Rejection ~ Rejection is painful! I don't know anyone that enjoys it. I have met some that didn't seem to be bothered by it. I'm not one of them. Fear of rejection can keep us from our mission of reaching the world for Christ. I try to keep in mind that it's not really me someone is rejecting wheh I share the Gospel. And if I allow the fear of rejection to control me, I rsiking missing out on some of the greatest blessings in life.
- Getting Hurt ~ If you've ever put yourself out there and been hurt then you know what I mean. Whoever made up the whole "Sticks and Stones" thing was WRONG! I'd rather be hurt physically than emotionally any day of the week. The fear of being hurt causes us to put up walls to protect ourselves.
- Being Forsaken ~ As kids, some of the most dreaded words were "I'm not gonna play with you anymore". That thought still brings chills to us now and then. And the fear of being forsaken may keep us from doing or saying the right things. God has promised to never leave us or forsake us!
- Loss ~ The fear of losing something or somebody is huge! I hate losing my keys, wallet, phone, etc. I seem to have more instances of this the older I get. As a parent, one of the greatest fears we have is that of losing a child. I remember one day thinking I lost my middle daughter, Alyssa. She had got upset and hid under her bed, sending us into a panic looking for her in the neighborhood. We found her and practiced Biblical discipline (i.e. she got a whoopin') Of course, one of the worst things to lose isn't a thing at all but someone we love. I can't even imagine what it would be like to lose my wife, or one of my children. But we never really lose them, they're waiting for us in Heaven. We should never forget that none of these things are ours to lose...they belong to God. We are blessed to enjoy so many things in this life but they are just on loan to us. We shouldn't spend our lives fearful of loss.
- God ~ This is the only fear on the list that I don't really think we should try to get over. Our fear of God isn't the crippling kind of fear, it's a sense of awe, wonder, and amazement. It is to respect and reverence God in His power and majesty. We need a revival of the "fear of the Lord" in America. This "fear of the Lord" is a good thing...It produces good things in our lives.
- Proverbs 8:13 (ESV) "The fear of the Lord is hatred of evil..."
- Proverbs 9:10 (ESV) "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom..."
- Proverbs 10:27 (ESV) "The fear of the Lord prolongs life..."
- Proverbs 14:26 (ESV) "In the fear of the Lord one has strong confidence..."
- Proverbs 14:27 (ESV) "The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life..."
- Proverbs 15:33 (ESV) "The fear of the Lord is instruction in wisdom..."
- Proverbs 16:6 (ESV) "...by the fear of the Lord one turns away from evil"
- Proverbs 19:23 (ESV) "The fear of the Lord leads to life..."
"The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man." ~ Ecclesiastes 12:13
OK, So tell me, what are some of the fears that you wrestle with? Share your thoughts. I'd love to hear what you have to say...