Thursday, June 13, 2024

Facing Fear

The conventional wisdom is that the answer to fear is courage. All it takes is just "20 seconds of insane courage." Or maybe 10. But I swear, I love that movie. 

This wisdom tells us that we just have to set fear aside and do whatever it is that we're afraid of, step into the unknown. Jump out of the plane. This, the world says, is the way to overcome our fear. isn't. 

If I jump out of the plane this time - or if I give someone permission to push me - then I have acted against my fear and I have done the thing that I am afraid of, but I am no less afraid of it the next time. Put me right back in the plane, and I will have the same hesitation, the same apprehension, the same fear. I will come to the same precipice when that plane door opens, and I will have to choose, again, to act against fear in some way. 

There is no struggle in this world for which "just doing it" solves the complication that made us hesitate in the first place. It may accomplish the task, but it doesn't resolve the tension. Faced with the same scenario, we will have the same questions. 

And you can't make a life by always forcing yourself to act against your instinct. It's not healthy and, despite what the world might tell you, it's not wise. 

The answer to fear isn't really courage. It isn't really finding enough strength to push through and force yourself to do it anyway. It isn't "choosing with your head and not your heart," as it is sometimes presented. 

The answer to fear is confidence. 

It's knowing who you are, knowing who God created you to be, knowing who God is. It's knowing the truth about the situation, about all of the facets of it. Yes, it may be true that you are who you are, but there is another truth that you are fallen to some degree and so there is a real you and then, there is a real you. 

The answer is trusting that God is who He is, that He is good, that He loves you. The answer is knowing that you are fearfully and wonderfully made, that you are created in His image, that you are beloved. The answer is knowing that your greatest enemy is your own brokenness, which is the only thing that stands in the way and convinces you of things that only look true but really aren't. Not in the grand scheme of things. 

That's not to say that practical wisdom doesn't have its place. Of course you don't go running into a swamp with an alligator and declaring there's no reason to be afraid; there are times to be cautious and to be cognizant of the very real dangers of our world. You don't look a carjacker in the face and stare down the gun and declare your belovedness as some kind of protection from something bad happening to you. 

But insofar as something is in your control and you're in a position where you just have to choose between doing something that makes you feel some fear or not doing it because you're afraid, the answer to the tension you truth. You don't need courage; you need confidence. 

Because I'm telling you - if you can just for half a second believe what God says about you, another 19.5 seconds of insane courage isn't necessary. There's just something about knowing who you are - and believing it - that makes you stand a little taller, stand a little firmer, and step out a little bolder and do it. Because you know you can. 

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