07.11.2016

Becoming A People Beyond Fear

Fear is like a disease. Have you ever noticed yourself becoming more anxious when you’re around an especially anxious person? It’s the same with fear. We become more fearful when we’re around fearful people. Fear spreads like wildfire, turning what was abundant and thriving into ashes. And our rash attempts to ease our fears only adds fuel to the fire until, eventually, our fear consumes us.

The climate of the world we live in (and I don’t mean the weather climate) has become, among many other things, a climate of fear. We are afraid of the “other,” afraid of ideas that aren’t our own, afraid of people who don’t look like us, dress like us, or practice religion like us. When we are steeped in such fear, it not only spreads but it multiplies, becoming bigger and stronger and more powerful as it picks up speed, like an avalanche.

I am not fearless, as it turns out.

I too, look at the reality of the world we live in and wonder how I could possibly raise my children in a place where the collective fear and hatred seems insurmountable at times. I listen to the political rhetoric and wonder what kind of leaders will usher my children from adolescence to adulthood – will my children even know what an honest, just, and moral leader is?

But we must be a people beyond fear. A community of people who does love. Love isn’t just a fuzzy feeling inside. It’s not a spectator sport. It requires full participation, dirty hands (sometimes literally), and these things: tolerance. empathy. understanding. grace. endurance.

“If we want to be a community of people unafraid of the future, unafraid to change the world, unafraid of doing the right thing—and here I’m going to define the “right thing” as being thing one that brings more peace, more patience, more goodness, more gentleness, more kindness, more joy to any situation—we need to be people who love well and love often.” -Melissa Camara Wilkins

Engaging Our Fear

We must operate out of a different space, a space of bravery. A space of humility and acceptance. We must step outside of our private, safe bubbles and into the world. Into conversation with our brothers and sisters. Into the (often) harsh realities of the communities we live in, regardless of how uncomfortable we feel about homelessness, drug addiction, politics, domestic violence or immigration, all of which stare us blankly in the face and ask, “What are you going to do about it?”

Progress never comes without difficulty. Peace never comes without tribulation. But the question should never be, ‘Is this easy or is this hard?’ The question should be, ‘What is God asking of me in this moment?’ tweet

How many times has fear held you back from fully participating in your own life? You hear the quiet whisper telling you to move (or rather, to stay put), to quit the job you hate, to speak up for that cause you care deeply about, to talk to the stranger on the street corner – but fear holds you back. Your fearful mind tells you that it’s not practical or wise or the right timing (news alert: it will never be the right timing), while your spirit tells you that it doesn’t matter.

I’m not fearless. I’m not. But I’m trying more and more these days to stare fear in the face and do something about it.

How are you overcoming fear? What are you going to do about it?

BECOMING A PEOPLE BEYOND FEAR

About Erin

I’m a thirty-something, coffee-loving mom of two living in a funky neighborhood in Seattle….all while seeking a balance between keeping up and slowing down.

Comments

  1. FEAR – is a tough one. There is so much talk about FEAR being “False Expectations Appearing Real” but I argue that FEAR is very real sometimes and the question is what we do with that fear that separates us. Great thoughts in your article!

    • Heather – you are absolutely right, there are times when fear is very much real and valid, and what we do with that matters. That’s worth a whole other post! What I am (mostly) referring to here is fear based on assumptions, mis-information, and beliefs about entire people-groups based on the action(s) of one. Thank you for your insight – I really value it!

  2. Thank you for this reminder! I long to be a little more fearless!

  3. Thank you so much for being so brave as to post something like this. I find that I do tend to take on the emotions of those that I am around, more than sometimes I realize. I’m grateful for finally finding good friends and confidants to have in my life to help when the fear seems crippling. Great post!

    • Thank you, Krysta! I can totally relate to adopting the feelings of those around me, which applies to so many different emotions – not just fear. As I get older, I find that being intentional about who I surround myself with is oh-so important. These days, I’m all about quality over quantity!

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