Sunday, August 2, 2009

Fear is a Choice

Fear can be an evil thing. It grips us. It controls us. And it can destroy us. It can weave its way into almost any aspect of our lives. It creeps up on us and gnaws away at our confidence and our ability to think rationally. It can completely incapacitate us if left unchecked. Many people are so controlled by fear that it becomes central to who they are. It dictates their every move.

Why do people stay in a job they hate? Why do they believe they could never be the hero they dreamed of as a child? Why do they stay confined to one tiny area when there is a magnificent world out there waiting for them? And why do they spend so much time worrying and stressing about life? It’s often rooted in fear; the fear of failure, humiliation, and being less than someone else. The fear of not achieving our goals. But why? Fear isn’t real. It’s just an emotion. It’s a choice. We can choose to be happy in a sad moment. We can choose to be sad in a happy moment. And we can choose to let fear rule our lives or not.

Fear is most notorious for absolutely wrecking relationships. We fear that our partner will leave us, cheat on us, humiliate us, and any other multitude of crimes of the heart. We worry ourselves into a tiny little chasm of debilitating fear. We are no longer able to make rational decisions because everything we do is influenced by a tumultuous fantasy we’ve created in our heads. And often times, your partner is completely oblivious and helpless in the situation. They have no idea what is going on in your head. They believe you have committed a crime, and all the while, you have no idea. And there is nothing you can do to change their mind because their fear is not based in reality. I have seen fear break up many otherwise wonderful relationships, and typically, it was totally unfounded.

But I believe fear is a choice. By the same method we train ourselves to wake up at a certain time, ride a bike, or master the piano, we can train ourselves to not allow fear to control our lives. We either choose to entertain our fears or we choose to live beyond them. I believe that the presence of fear is often a reflection of our lack of faith. Do you believe God created us all to be great? Then why do we fear we are inferior or inadequate? Do you believe God created someone out there specifically for you? Then why do you allow fear to wreck your relationship? Do you believe God will never give us more than we can handle? Then why do you fear you will never get through this?

A healthy level of fear is just that…healthy. I am not asserting that fear should be absent in our lives. I am simply stating that we choose to let it control us or not. Fear can be used for just as much good as bad. It only becomes a problem when we let it control our actions to the point of debilitation and destruction.

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