I remember watching a movie years ago called “Defending Your Life”. Albert Brooks and Meryl Streep’s characters had both died suddenly and were in a way station before heading to their next destination. Where that destination would be depended on them proving they had successfully overcome their fears and showed courage. Meryl Streep passes the test easily but Albert Brooks did not. At the end of the movie he finally “gets it” and overcomes his fear, ultimately sending him on his way to Heaven with Meryl Streep. He took a leap of faith even though his whole being was filled to the brim with fear.
Fear is something that has kept me from doing many things over the years. Some of those things were trivial and unimportant but others were not. It’s the latter that bothers me the most. Many things I really should have done for my own good I did not do because fear paralyzed me. Fear of failing. Fear of being rejected. Fear of being told no. Fear of being ridiculed. Fear coursed through my veins and made my heart pound out of my chest. Fear was a living, breathing part of me; an appendage I felt like I could not amputate no matter how hard I tried.
As contradictory as it sounds fear and comfort go hand in hand. Fear keeps you in your comfort zone where things are safe. That’s one of the jobs of fear; to keep you held down and prevent you from expanding your horizon. Fear doesn’t want you to know that there’s this big giant world out there full of light just waiting for you to see it. Fear wants to keep you locked away in the dark where it can have total control over you. That’s exactly what fear has done to me. It invaded my mind and my soul and kept me prisoner. I was too scared to do and say so many things because of fear. Fear breed negativity in my life that spread like wildfire.
Over the years the basis of my fears have changed from that of a child to those of an adult. I’d have to say that adult fears are much worse than child fears. As children our fears are more simple. We’re mostly afraid of monsters under the bed and the dark, just to name a few. As adults our fears turn to more real life situations; fear of relationship failure, fear of losing your job or your home, fear of dying from a fatal disease. I can add all three of those to my adult fears plus many, many more.
I’ve recently been faced with some fears that I’ve gone through before. I thought I was done facing those fears but they reared their ugly head yet again. Those particular fears shook me to my very core the first time and I did not want to revisit them ever again. My first reaction was to recoil and pull the blanket over my head. After much thought and prayer about it I’ve decided to change that. They say it’s insanity to keep repeating the same behaviors over and over again and expect different results so I decided to face this fear head on. To challenge it and not give in or give up until one of us dies. I’m determined to make sure that fear is the one that dies here, not me. I’m tired of letting fear control so much of my life. What’s the worst that can happen? I’ll be told no? I’ll fail or be rejected? I’ll be laughed at? I will never know the answers unless I try. If I do fail then I’ll just have to dust myself off and move on. But it’s taking that first step in the leap of faith to overcoming fear that will help move me in the direction I need to be going and that’s forward, not backwards. There’s nothing behind me I need. The only thing that matters is what’s in front of me and if I let fear keep me from that then there’s no point of going on. Fear is the Devil’s child, not God’s. His child is Bravery and that’s who I want to be instead. So from here on out I shall “Fear Not…..Take a Leap of Faith Instead”.