A very special someone gave me a copy of Living Without Fear for Christmas, one of the books on my Amazon wish list. I’m reading it not straight through, but more like a devotional. Little bits at a time. Giving me enough to chew and think on for a while.
I realize that I live much of my life with fear. And many of my actions are taken in response to fear. Fear of being hurt. Fear of failure. Fear of not measuring up. Fear of not having enough. So very many things of which to be afraid. Rationally, I know that most such fears are baseless. Either the risk is so small it’s not worth considering, or the result so unimportant in the grander scheme it’s foolish to let it shape my life.
My life is littered with missed opportunities and with second-bests, because of fear. At the root of much of this fear is worry about what others think, about how I measure up in their eyes. In that way, I live not for myself, but for them. I let them tell me of what I should be afraid.
There is no easy way, that I know of, to simply cast out that fear. Even knowing that it is irrational does little to remove its power. I know that the more I rely on my own inner sense of worth, the less fear I feel because the less I look to others for validation. But that only works for some fears.
What if I could live without fear, what would I do? Even though I cannot eliminate fear, just thinking about that question for a few minutes is liberating and powerful. I can, for a moment, contemplate life without fear.
What would I do? I would be more bold, more friendly, speak out more, have more pride. I would plunge wholeheartedly and without reservation into going back to school. I would take an art class. I would dance. I would stand up for myself more.
Life without fear is pretty impossible. But stopping to think about what it might be like gives me a vision of the true potential of this one human life. Maybe, if I can remind myself of this, I can begin, bit by bit, to live into this authentic vision of who I am called to be.