I’ve always been scared of things. Not just scared but terrified. Due to my extreme personality, I don’t feel things in small doses. I feel them completely and entirely. Fear included.
As a child, I was terrified of 4 things: traffic, storms, getting lost, being left out. I remember the experiences like they were yesterday. If we were ever stuck in traffic, I would sit in the back of our rusty old station wagon paralyzed as the fear began gripping my tiny body. My insides would shiver as if I were cold, yet I was sweating. If we were ever lost, I would become silent with terror. My mind would race thinking my tiny little thoughts (that now make no sense at all.) “We will never get home.” “Did our house move?” “If mommy doesn’t know where we are, we have no hope.”
I have never liked the unknown.
Traffic = when will we get home?
Lost = how will we ever get home?
Storms = will home still be there?
Left out =Where is everybody?
As I grew up, those fears became exposed for their irrationality and slowly faded into oblivion…
Then I got my drivers license. Since I had no money, I drove a car with broken windshield wipers for a year. Through rain and snow. After several terrifying experiences, I developed a full blown phobia. I would cancel plans, call out of work, arrange social gatherings around weather conditions… I did that for years. I simply would not drive in the rain. Then I moved to Florida… the land of unpredictable hurricane-like conditions which I had no choice but to keep driving through and hope to make it out alive. My phobia was somewhat cured because I had no other option. However, this one is still a struggle.
Then there are the deeper ones that have resulted from experiencing sudden loss repeatedly from an early age. I won’t get into those.
Basically, I am one big bag of fear.
I could literally live my life as a robot who never leaves the house, never takes any risks, never try’s anything new, never loves, never lives, and certainly never trusts – because that is what all my fears tell me to do.
That is the life I would live if I were stupid enough to listen to them.
I have made choices not to let my fears rule me, but there has to be an overriding reason someone chooses that. I believe fear is part of the human condition. Since we are not invincible beings, we can be destroyed. We can die. We can get hurt. So to ignore all your fears is silly. Healthy fear is a divinely built in protection designed to alert us to danger, both physically and spiritually. But as is the case with all good, there is the potential for evil. Fears that are allowed to exist outside of their appropriate boundaries end up harming us instead of protecting us.
Over time I realized fighting my fears was a losing battle. There were too many. But facing them seemed to work. I used to be terrified of plane landings. Until one day I made myself look out the window as the plane touched down. From that point forward I was never scared again. My fear of being scared won out.
I wish it were more romantic, but the truth is: the strongest fear wins.
My fear of being mediocre overcomes my fear of failing. So I take risks.
My fear of never building a family overcomes my fear of being left. So I choose to learn to trust.
My fear of being weak overcomes my fear of rejection. So I choose to develop relationships.
I tried to use self-gratification as motivation to face my fears, but it didn’t work. It did the opposite. Only when I accepted that I had a unique God-given purpose that I was compromising by choosing my weakness over His strength – did I begin to change.