There are hundreds of self-help books and motivational speakers who have all shared on the topic of not living in fear. So what makes my message different? Well, I’m not going to sell you the same euphemisms and impassionate pleas to not let your fears run your life. I want to draw your mind’s eye to how our ever-changing world can bind and blind us to our fears. We live in a time where we can easily become prisoners to our thoughts, our concerns, and the far reaches of our minds.
I have experienced the death of clients, supervisees, seen mothers struggling to hold on to their parental rights only to lose them, and experienced the unmitigated fear that causes many to regress, relapse, and simply lose faith in existing. Yet I still persist and continue in that very same line of work because I have seen what bravery in spite of being broken can do. So how do you live life in such a way that fear does not rule your life? How do you break the chains of fear?
You begin by acknowledging that fear does indeed exist. There will be challenges. There will difficulties. There will be concerns of failures, concerns regarding being judged and not favored, and there will be concerns of simply living in this lifetime. However, I am reminded of a devotional I read in which the author draws the reader’s attention to David and the life he lived filled with adversity and despair, but yet he persisted and found the courage to turn to God and face each of his trials. I am reminded that in this world that we live and until Jesus comes to reign eternally, there will be difficulties and there will be fear. However, we do not have to live in fear or in defeat. When we acknowledge that fear exists, we give ourselves room to breathe. We give ourselves credit and the motivation to be brave. We give ourselves the opportunity to step out of the way so that the true conqueror of all fears, who understands perfectly what we are going through can ultimately fight our every battle.
You also have to be willing to unlearn the habits and ideology of perfectionism. If we take a moment to be honest with ourselves, we have all held the belief that if we do not get it right, if every “I” and every “T” is not dotted and crossed then we have not arrived. After years of combing through scholarly literature and bouncing back and forth in editorial dialogue regarding my research study, I emerged with data that was so far from perfect it broke me and I became disillusioned with research and everything that goes with it. For years I had been groomed into visioning what my data needed to look like and what true research analysis needed to reveal about the given subject. But it took one wise scholar and my acceptance of that even in the imperfections of data, the research, and analysis that I did though severely imperfect still held practical wisdom and guidance, and was I able to finally push through to complete the last steps of my degree requirements. It was a bitter pill to swallow, but perfection is just that, an ideology and a systematic way of thinking that has been used to hold us captive and chained to our fears. We are created in the image and likeness of God and my bible tells me that after everything God created he declared good and pleasing in His sight. In our mortal and sinful nature, perfectionism is not an achievable goal. However, when we align ourselves with Christ, our imperfections he uses to His perfect will and good.
In our imperfections, our failures, and our struggles, comes the building of character and the strengthening of our mind. Strive and work hard at being brave rather than being perfect. It is in our bravery that we become bold and begin the habit of speaking up and speaking out. When we start talking, we allow ourselves the opportunity to ask and answer those questions such as “How are you feeling today, really? Physically and mentally.” and “What’s taking up most of your headspace right now?” When we start talking, we quiet the voice of self-doubt and fear. We don’t always know where to start but if you can identify that one person who will truly spend the time listening to you, seek that individual out in confidence. However, you can also use these resources as avenues of speaking up:
- Available 24/7 and free to all by text message or phone – 1-888-NYC-WELL (1-888-692-9355)
- The COVID-19 Response hotline sponsored by the Northeastern Conference and Greater New York Conference – 866-414-3258
- For those who are employed, utilize EAP assistance offered by your employer
- If you are medically insured, your insurance carrier through member services can also provide you with a list of carrier approved resources.
- If you are tech savvy, try Headspace or Calm in the App Library of your phone
- If you have access to the internet take a look at LoveIsLouder.org.
This is not an overnight process and change does not happen all at once. It will take time and practice to get in the habit of embracing bravery, speaking up, and living above your fears. But once you start, you will be creating a movement toward living in joy and peace.