How to Talk Back to Fear: Tell it the Truth
I got scared last week. Like, out-of-mind scared. Like my skin might crack enough for my soul to leak out.
It happens whenever I’m about to try something new, take a risk, appear before a live audience, or share something that could result in rejection. Write a blog post.
I get stage fright — even without the stage. Last week, when fear gripped my wrists, I was still in my nightgown, alone, replaying worst-case scenarios. I wanted to cover my ears, but it like felt like fear was holding my hands down. Fear whispered accusing questions in my ears:
Who are you to write blogs or a book? If you were really who you say you are, how could fear get a hold of you like this? What kind of Christ follower are you anyway? Do you really believe your own PR?
I am a woman of contradictions–
I’m scared of failing,
and of succeeding.
I’m afraid of being invisible,
and yet I don’t want to be seen at all.
I want to hide,
but I want someone to find me under my rock and tell me it’s going to be OK.
I’m scared of being disappointed,
and of being a disappointment.
I’m afraid of admitting to you
that I’m afraid.
I’m scared of being disqualified, nullified, vilified, unidentified.
Dear Lord, I need sanctified.
In the dead-center of my fear, the culprit flashes like a warning beacon: Unbelief.
I’ve lived a lot of my life in the unpleasant state of disbelief. I have reasoned away people’s genuine praise of everything from my hair to my writing.
The first time a boy, with a shaky voice, told me that he really liked me — maybe even loved me — I laughed in his face. Even now, when the love of my life tells me I’m beautiful, I shake my head, like somewhere deep inside me, I think he’s saying the words only out of obligation.
I *did* believe what my journalism profs told me, when they demanded accuracy on our news stories: “If your mother says she loves you, double-check it.”
That’s good advice for a journalist, but a bad way to live life in the light of our callings. If we have to double-check everything, our default response becomes unbelief, breeding fear.
And fear is a bandit, stealing our God-given right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
I’m calling fear out today for what it is: a liar.
Fear finds a home in what I don’t believe, so I am evicting fear, by telling it what I do believe. And what I know…
1 – I believe that no matter what lies before me, God is already there, and we won’t make me go alone.
2 – I believe that it’s okay to risk messing up, and the most beautiful mosaics come from the broken pieces of what might — at first — have looked like failure.
3 – I believe that the psalmist was right when he said that this is the day the Lord has made. Therefore, I will resist the urge to remake it in my own image.
4 – I believe these words in Proverbs 29:25: “The fear of human opinion disables; trusting in God protects you from that.”
5 – I believe my mama loves me. And I don’t have to double-check it.
6 – I believe that from life’s first cry to my final breath, that Jesus — not fear — really does command my destiny.
7 – I believe that it’s my choice whether I will be controlled by my worst fears, or whether I will control them by speaking truth back to them.
8 – I believe that no matter what lies ahead of me, what befalls me, what tries to haunt me, or what fear rises up within me, God has still come. And He still is, and He evermore shall be.
9 – I believe that bravery looks a lot like … believing. And I believe that there’s really no such thing as failure, because there’s nothing unredeem-able in the hands of Christ.
10 – And I believe, just now, that fear is loosening its grip, and my trembling hands are free to praise, and my trembling voice is free to confess, and my trembling life is steadied in the grip of an Almighty God who knows how the whole thing turns out.
Recommended Books on Fear:
“What Women Should Know about Facing Fear” by Christin Ditchfield
“What Women Fear” by Angie Smith
“What Are You Afraid Of? Facing Down Your Fears with Faith” by David Jeremiah