I know you have fears you don’t tell people about. I know that you probably even have fears you don’t like thinking about. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Let me explain.
Here are some things I’m scared of:
– the dark
– that I’m not actually that smart of a person
– that I’ll never accomplish what I think I can
– that people might think I’m foolish
– that I am foolish
– that the Bible isn’t inerrant
– that Jesus didn’t get out of the grave
Those are all (very real) things I get scared of sometimes. I don’t know why I get scared of dogs sometimes, but I do. And don’t judge me about the dark thing either… you can’t tell me you’ve never sprinted into bed after turning off the light from across the room just to bundle up in your covers. (I mean, I guess you could tell me that… if you want to be a liar.)
(I’m also scared of sharing things about myself on this blog… that’s a weird one… anyways.)
When I get scared, I want to run from what I’m scared of. I want to avoid it at all costs. Maybe it’s running to my bed, maybe it’s getting in a defensive position from a dog, maybe it’s not putting myself out there, maybe it’s only taking on “challenges” I know I can conquer, maybe it’s not asking difficult questions about the Bible, maybe it’s avoiding conversations with skeptics, maybe it’s not praying for things I really care about.
Maybe I do all of those things from time to time. Maybe you do to.
My biggest fear is that Jesus didn’t actually get out of the grave. My biggest fear is that I believe in a fairy tale… a really elaborate, 2000 year old fairy tale.
Maybe it’s not the biggest fear you have, but if you believe in Jesus it should be. If Jesus wasn’t raised from the dead, we’re all a bunch or jokes. Really sad jokes.
So what should I do with this fear? What should we do with it? We should run. We should run as hard and as fast as we possibly can. We should run until our legs are sore and our lungs ache. We should run.
Right into it.
Fear tells us that Jesus isn’t the real deal. Well if he wasn’t the real deal, I want to know about it. I don’t want to waste another minute worshiping a fairy tale.
If the Bible isn’t inerrant… if the Bible has errors… I want to know about it. Why should I trust my life to a book that isn’t true?
If I’m not as smart as I think I am, I want to know. Do I really want to live all my life trying to be something I’m not?
If there really is someone in my room when I turn off the light, I need to find out. (I mean, he might have come over to hang out and it would be rude of me to leave him hanging.)
In running toward my fears I find out if they are true or not. When I ask difficult questions of the scriptures, I find them to be up to every test. When I pray for things I care about, I find a caring God who loves me. When I turn the light back on, I find an empty room and nothing to fear. When I test the limits of my intellect, I find bounds that allow me to be who I was made to be.
We think of fear as weakness. We think that fear is this great gaping hole in us that we should cover up and hide. “No one can ever know my fears.” We think fear is embarrassing. But that’s not true. Fear isn’t a liability, it’s an asset. Fear helps us find what is important. It clarifies and focuses. Fear is healthy and good. Fear is a tool.
But only if you use it.
Running away from our fears and allowing them to live on unexplored keeps us from doing what we were made to do. It can be paralyzing and oppressive. Unexplored fears keep us from achieving and trying
But if we chase down our fears, if we explore them (which can be scary (!!)), we find them to be true or not
If we find them to be true, we can prepare and adapt – I mean: if there really is some fatally dangerous event on the horizon, I need to start preparing now
If we find them to be false, we can promptly scratch them off our list of worries and laugh in fear’s face. (I think that’s a minor superpower or something.)
But you can do neither of those if you run away from your fear.
Too often when we are faced with fear we choose to run in the wrong direction. Choose differently today.
When fear shows up, run right at it. There isn’t a fear in this world that’s better left unexplored. Not one.