Fearless vs. Fear Less
Fear. We don't have to look far to see this. It's something we all experience.
It's easy to say "Be fearless!" It's printed on athletic shirts and even sang in pop-culture songs.
And is that even required of us?
Does God require us to be completely fearless to follow Him?
This is a question I want us to dive into together over the next few weeks. The easiest way I know how to identify fear is by looking at your response. Do you feel locked down or inspired to move forward?
Fear will paralyze you.
But, faith will activate you.
What Culture Says About It
If you google this one word, fearless, you'll see the grip this concept has on our society. There are movies, shows, books, and an endless list of quotes on this topic. Quotes like,
"Once you become fearless, life becomes limitless."
"You control your destiny. Be fearless."
One even says, "Without God, I am hopeless. With God, I am fearless."
On the surface, it's easy to read this and think, "Sure, good thought." But when I think about these words for even just a second longer, I realize there's something about it that just doesn't sit well with me. Maybe they don't sit well with you either.
You see, I'm not perfect and there are times I don't give God the focus He deserves in my days, but I do try. My heart longs to be with Him. I know without Him, I don't have hope. Candace, even on her most prepared day, can't make it on her own. So I agree with the first part - "Without God, I am hopeless."
But, the second part of that thought is where I disagree. Stepping out in faith doesn't mean I feel completely fearless - it sometimes feels like the start of an old wooden rollercoaster.
You know the one where the sounds around you, the click-click-click of the tracks, is enough to make your heart pound and your stomach turn inside out?
It's the feeling of "What am I doing? I'm not ready for this. Ahh, can I just turn back and go ride the teacups? It's safer. It's calmer. In fact, it's carefree. No adrenaline rush. No need for a seatbelt. No twists and loops and creaky wooden tracks."
We're told, "Be fearless!"
But, is that really possible?
And a deeper question that may knot within, if I struggle with fear, does it mean that I'm not "Christian enough"?
I'm not sure what fears are surrounding you, but I know God does not want us to live in fear.
I simply have one suggestion as we find ourselves reading and hearing this word. Maybe - just maybe - there should be a space.
I think the problem with fearless as one word, at least in my interpretation of it, is that it seems to imply that fear is easy to overcome.
Like Nike's slogan, just do it.
It's something I could manifest with my own strength. In a way it implies if you're experiencing fear, you're not strong enough or mentally mature enough or even spiritual enough. And good grief, I just don't think that's true.
You see, the enemy knows our vulnerabilities. He knows which buttons to push. He knows how to get our eyes off of God and on our circumstances.
We know God is not the only power at work in this world. We do have a very real enemy who uses a very old tactic - fear.
The enemy comes to steal, kill and destroy.
And oh, man, can he ever with those arrows of his.
He's shooting arrows of fear all over the place, creating chaos and questions and doubt.
Habakkuk experienced these himself. He wrote,
I heard and my heart pounded, my lips quivered at the sound; decay crept into my bones, and my legs trembled.... - Habakkuk 3:16
Can you relate? Pounding, quivering, bones losing strength, trembling.
As we begin this series on fear, I think it's important for us to recognize the enemy is real. I say this not to create more fear within you but so we can identify the source of our fears.
But, the story doesn't end there.
The enemy may be real and active within this world, but our God is real and MORE POWERFUL and has already defeated the enemy.
We can have victory over our fears as we put on the armor of faith to protect us from the enemy's arrows. We choose to remember God's hand is evermore powerful than any tactic of the enemy to distract and dismantle us.
We see Habakkuk practice this. He pivots to faith, writing,
...yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior. The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to tread on the heights. - Habakkuk 3:18-19
You see, it's not about being fearless. It's about the "yet" in the midst of the fear.
It's about recognizing God's strength and being joyful in His power. We find peace that His power is at work within us, and we rest on the high ridges and cliffs of this life.
It's then - and only then - we can fear less.
Be mindful of that space - that's where God comes in and helps us press on to where He's taking us.
Be strong in mind. Be courageous in heart. Be full of faith. Resting in His resume of faithfulness, we can fear less.
P.S. All this talk about fear reminds me of the time I had to overcome my fear of fixing appliances and tackle this dishwasher for myself. I really hope you don't need this today, but I'd recommend watching and saving it for the day when you find standing water in the base of your dishwasher. Learn 4 simple things you can try BEFORE you spend money on a plumber. If I can do it, you can do it, too! Whatcha say? Let's try that...fix the dishwasher!
The good life, well it starts with a good day. Then another. Then another. Let's choose to live #TheGoodDay one day at a time.
I love hearing from you, so go ahead. Leave a comment. Be brave. Maybe your comment will speak life into someone else!
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