Other than being one of my all time favorite Taylor Swift songs (shoutout to the "old Taylor") the word "Fearless" has made a name for itself in our generation of yolo'ing and treat yo'selfing. Yes, I made those into verbs. Yes, I know I am grammatically incorrect. No, I do not care.
If you scan any Barnes and Noble self-help or faith aisle, there are probably a handful of books upon first glance relating to overcoming fear, living fearlessly, or being bold and brave and living your best life. To preface this conversation, I AM ALL FOR THESE BOOKS. I too want to live my best life, dance around my apartment blasting my favorite song, and eat Taco Bell at 2am. #LIVING.
My only issue with the messages that these books often imply or promote is that fear is just a mindset - one that can easily be replaced and overruled by positivity, good vibes, and a little tough love. I am here to argue, or even just encourage you today, that fear is normal and that none of us are completely without fear. Fear is often rooted in something much deeper, past hurt or insecurities, and while I think the idea of a fearless life is inspiring, I think we have the definition slightly wrong.
Living fearless isn't living without fear, but just simply fearing less. Fear-less. Get it? Whether you identify as a Christian, follower of Jesus, an atheist, or a believer of another god or higher power, I think that we can all agree that as humans, we are flawed. Our foundation is in no way perfect and not one of us will ever walk through life without making a mistake or failing. Another foundational truth to the human nature is that every single one of us are afraid of SOMETHING. Whether anything immediately jumps to mind or not, there has been and will be a point in your life where you feel afraid. For some, your fear of clowns, heights (right here!), or spiders may be your daily demise, but for others, fear has become a lifestyle. The constant chains that keep you from starting that business you always wanted to start, from asking that person on a date, from moving cities, or even from allowing yourself to do and be all that you are capable of.
I don't think God calls us to live "fearless" lives. I think true obedience is when we respond and engage regardless of the fear. We're scared but we do it anyway. That is what I feel like God is calling us into. In Him, we know we are taken care of. Our confidence, hope and trust is in Jesus and the power that He gives us, but that doesn't mean we will live completely without fear or worry. There will be times when we feel inadequate, unprepared, and just plain terrified, but God isn't looking at any of that. He just wants to know if we are willing. He is asking for the available, not the fearless.
A couple of days ago on my weekly Target trip, I noticed a man parked in front of me with the hood of his car propped up. I was getting in my car to leave to go meet a friend for coffee but I felt like I needed to stop and just ask if he needed any help. Guys, I know literally nothing about cars but my dad did teach me how to jump a car and I have cables so I thought if anything, I could offer a little battery juice. Let me also say, this is not me bragging or sharing how I helped a stranger. Continue reading, please.So I pulled up, rolled my window down and asked if I could give his battery a jump. His car was pretty old and he said he felt like it wasn't the battery but that he would definitely give it a try. We hooked up the two car batteries and when he turned the key in the ignition, slowly his car gave a little rumble. Voila! His car started. He kept thanking me and honestly, I felt like I didn't actually do much, but expressed to him that I was glad he didn't have to tow his car and that I hoped he could make it to the mechanic now. He seemed very grateful. We shook hands, I got in my car, and I heard God tell me that I needed to ask if I could pray for him. This was a moment God was asking me to step into, right here and right now.And guess what? I didn't. I drove away, second guessing myself, my power and whether or not this man would reject my offer or think that I'm just plain crazy. I fought and wrestled with God as I pulled out of that Target parking lot and I knew immediately that I had missed out.
I missed an opportunity to step into this moment, something that God had orchestrated, something that he wanted to do THROUGH me, and I let fear stop me.Let me tell you guys, there isn't much worse of a feeling.But I'm sharing this because I learned a valuable lesson that day. God reassured me that my fear was okay, but that He needed me to look past that human logic and to just engage anyway. He never said this would be easy. He never said that this lifestyle would come without discomfort. I know God wasn't mad at me, but I was mad at myself. I allowed fear to rule and although I know I will never be completely without fear, I can fear less. God gives me the power to do that.
Whether you are religious or not, I hope that today, you truly grasp that life can be scary. It can be scary to fall in love for there is a risk of being hurt. It can be scary to start a new job for risk of failure. But today I hope you also realize that most all of us are unqualified, insecure, and a little bit scared. Are you willing to step out, drown out those little voices telling you that you can't or won't, and engage in a moment or opportunity that you might never get back?
I encourage you today not to strive to live fearlessly, but to instead live a life where you fear less. There is real and true freedom on the other side of fear, but fear it isn't a hurdle that can be jumped over or avoided. Fear is dark room with a closed door. The door may be closed but it is not locked. It's an open invitation that if you are willing to walk through, if you are willing to be available, to step out or in, beautiful things can happen.Crack that door of fear. Let the light in. There is new opportunity waiting in the next room.