Fear At Every Turn

A good friend and mentor of mine often commented that fear is a terrible motivator and reason for doing something. I agree with this sentiment completely, but I find that I often have a difficult time putting that idea into practice. Fear is not always my main reason for my thoughts, actions, and inaction. However, I feel that fear is a constant companion perched on my shoulder and always quite willing to whisper in my ear.

It seems that fear is something that pops up all over the place. At best it feels like you’re playing whack-a-mole trying to drop the hammer on every fear as it pops from its hiding place. At worst it sometimes feels like your drowning. You don’t want to succumb to the fears that you have, but feel powerless to fight them off in any meaningful way.

These fears go into various aspects of life. There are the ones centered around home. I often fear what people think about the fact that I’m a stay-at-home dad. I fear that I’m not a good enough parent or husband. I fear being a bother to pretty much anyone.

I have fears centered around church and faith. I fear a lack of acceptance. My views tend to be a left (to use that imperfect way of putting it anyhow) of a decent number of conservative Christians, but a right of the more liberal or progressive strains of Christianity. I fear there will never be a place that I can fit in. Not that I mind disagreement, but have often found that most people do. Sometimes it even feels like fear shouldn’t be such an issue if my faith was strong enough.

I also feel fear about this little blog. I fear I’ll never impact much of anyone with my writing here. I fear that I’m wasting my time, that my thoughts mean nothing. However, I also fear success. I fear the negative attention that comes with popularity. I fear not being myself in order to chase success and popularity. I fear both irrelevance and relevance, it maybe sounds strange but I do.

To be honest I wish I knew what to do with all of these fears. No matter how hard I try to shake them off, they seem to cling on with their tiny little claws and endure. I’m fairly confident that I’m not the only one that struggles with these little, or not so little, fears that seem to pop up at every turn.

I know that fears will always persist and so I don’t have some sort of dream of never having fears. What I wish I did better with was pushing past the fears and moving forward. That’s something I don’t always feel I do a good job on. Sometimes it’s because of the fact that there are fears on both sides of an issue. Other times it is simply not knowing what move to make to push past the fear in question.

I even think that lacking any kind of fear can lead to recklessness. It reminds me of the idea of not being able to feel pain. It may not feel like it is hurting or affecting you, but you may be doing harm to yourself even if you don’t directly feel it. Fear and pain may not be enjoyable feelings, but I think they do serve some purpose. I don’t want to be paralyzed by fear, but I don’t think wishing it all away or brushing it aside is a healthy option either.

I don’t want fear to have control over me. As I said at the start of this post, fear is a terrible reason and motivation for doing something. Fear is something I think everyone faces in some way or another. Know that you are not alone in that. Maybe like me you don’t really know what to do about it, but at least take some solace that you aren’t alone in your fears.

We might be surprised how many people around us are fearful of something. That could be the reason they put on the show on the outside. It could be a show that pretends everything is wonderful, or it could be a show that pushes people away with harsh words and bad attitudes. We can often think we’re the only one afraid, but the truth is that fear may be at every turn for each person. It may look different from person to person in both what the fears are and the way the fears are handled, but they are still there.

Some people probably handle fear better than others. I want to face the fears I have and trust in the grace of God while doing so, knowing I’ll probably fail in it more than I’d like. Does that sound good to anyone?

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