How many decisions can you list that you didn’t make because of fear?
Because something was holding you back?
Because you were afraid to fail?
To lose money?
To find out it would not turn out how you expected it to?
Fear is powerful. Incredibly powerful.
Fear breeds more fear. It causes inaction and it paralyzes us rather than help us take action or move forward. In that sense, fear keeps us from reaching our potential, to just try, explore and experience.
Fear can have an enormous place in our lives. Yet, it hardly ever helps you do the things you are meant to do. Your calling, that calling you have on earth, might be obstructed by fear.
But it’s time not to be submissive to fear.
We have no spirit of fear!
Fear is not of God. God gave us a mind of determination. Of love. Of power. I’m not making this up, 2 Timothy 1:7 (NLT) says:
For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love and self-discipline.
Isn’t that an amazing gift from God?
In the end, what should we be afraid of? We have nothing to fear. Nothing to lose in this world, because Jesus died for us and took our sins upon Him. He beat darkness and granted us grace. God is with us. He sees us. He’s the one we will eventually be held accountable to. He is the only one we should fear.
If I stop fearing, will all go well?
Probably not. Walking the path of life with God doesn’t necessarily mean things will go well. Not at all if we look at Job, Paul, and Peter for example. But He promised to be with us, ALWAYS!
Luckily, God can use any situation to point things out, even though, during the darkest days you might not see what.
Let me share with you this passage of my diary: God might show me: “Jane, you wouldn’t have listened to me if your business was financially successful. Yes, I’ve given you the experience of running a business, and I don’t want you to give up on it but there’s a different priority waiting for you. Something for which you really have to embrace who you are. And to brace yourself for.” It could be an answer. But I don’t fully understand God’s ways. I have to trust Him as I go. And that also means trust when I don’t know the answers. But I do know FEAR never is an answer from God. We can fight it because of God, because of Jesus’ sacrifice and resurrection.
For God has given us a spirit of love, self-discipline and power/strength, not of fear!
What you’re missing out of because of fear
1. Letting go of fear is releasing your creativity
I think, living a life without the restraints of fear, is something we have to practice.
We’re not used to it.
We’re trained to not fail. But we’re not trained to be creative.
These two are related.
Since I started to research the concept of creativity, and creativity itself, it became clearer every day that it’s a true and precious gift that we’ve been given.
The past decades, however, we’ve done a great job at making ourselves unfamiliar with this characteristic everyone biologically has!
Of course, I get it, for understandable reasons, in an industrial age, we thought it was unnecessary.
OK, I’m not going to dive deeper into the topic of creativity. But I want to be clear on the kind of creativity I mean. Creativity as I’m talking about right now, I consider: “A combinatorial force: it’s our ability to tap into our ‘inner’ pool of resources – knowledge, insight, information, inspiration and all the fragments populating our minds – that we’ve accumulated over the years just by being present and alive and awake to the world and to combine them in extraordinary new ways.” — Maria Popova, Brainpickings.
Fear holds you back.
It limits your thinking.
It limits your actions.
It doesn’t encourage you to try (and potentially fail).
Yet, that’s all you need to do to become more creative.
2. Letting go of fear will bring you closer to God and His calling for your life
Remember what 2 Timothy 1:7 said? That powerful spirit, not of fear, is God’s spirit! Letting fear in means you are preventing that spirit from working. Can you imagine if you let that spirit in you work? Can you imagine how it will connect with the Holy Spirit? How it will give you boldness? How it will make you trust God more? How it will guide you in your calling in life?
So, up to you: Do you want to live a life in fear or boldness?
How to deal with fear. Step 1: Admit fear(s)
Admit what you’re afraid of. That’s OK. Admitting them makes them real which helps to deal with them. Pray about it, talk about it and discover what you can do about it.
How to deal with fear. Step 2: Discover the source
Sometimes fear can be unsubstantiated. We might have built up this fear for something – flying for example – and limit ourselves by thinking it is true. Where did this fear come from? Was it because a parent told you that flying was a very scary thing to do? Discovering the source of your fear might invalidate the fear.
How to deal with fear. Step 3: Write down what you haven’t done
Realize how fear limits you.
Think of what you haven’t done because of fear in your life.
Just think about it for a few minutes…
Fear is incredibly good at letting you come up with excuses like:
“yes, but I don’t have the money”
“yes, but I’m too old”
“yes, but I’m not sure this is what I want to do or meant to be doing…”
If I, personally, had listened to fear I…
…wouldn’t be living in Toronto
…wouldn’t have written and published a novel (especially the latter one is scary!)
…wouldn’t have played the cajón in church (I didn’t even know how to play it!)
…wouldn’t have sang in front of people or played in a musical or tried to enter the film industry
…wouldn’t have started the Born to Fly community…
I’m not saying you should never listen to fear – fear can give you a sense whether things you’re about to do are safe. That’s a different fear. That might be fear of excitement. Knowing you’re moving in the right direction. Fear cheering you on, although it might be slightly out of your comfort zone.
The fear I’m talking about, is the one that you shouldn’t permit to hold you back from the desire(s) that has/have been put in your heart. Know the difference.
How to deal with fear. Step 4: What if…
I know, everything in this blog might sound easy while in reality it’s so hard to put in practice. I know, because I’ve been there.
I had a huge fear of failing.
A fear for not being good enough.
A fear for people judging me. That they would think I was a fraud or an imposter.
I started to stop doing things because I was afraid of the potential consequences.
But then something changed.
I read about the power of fear.
That a lot of our fear is in our head.
That we need to think about fear differently…
That I needed to reverse my thinking:
What if I don’t fail?
What if I am good enough?
And what if people like me because of who I am?
Doesn’t that sound hopeful?
It becomes a totally different story, right?
This “what if”-exercise that I’ve learned at a workshop of Alvin Pilobello, is so powerful! If we can be convinced that we’re going to fail, we can also be convinced that we won’t. There’s no assurance of failing. There’re only assumptions. I need to constantly remind myself of this. That I’ve got nothing to lose.
Now try this exercise.
Write down what you are afraid of.
Then use the what if-method.
I’m afraid when I post this blog, people will think I’m weak.
What if people think I’m not weak but inspiring because of sharing a vulnerable side in this blog?
How to deal with fear. Step 5: Learn how to fail
Creativity, that marvelous aspect of human beings, can’t be used to its full potential because of us being afraid to fail.
Fear and failing go hand in hand.
Have you ever come across someone happy to fail? Those are people who understand the importance of failing and of creativity, and know how to balance it. They know beautiful things come at a risk, and they’re happy to take it. They know failure will shape them and make them a better person.
Read this: There’s nothing wrong with failing, but we’ve programmed our minds there is.
And thus, people judge us by doing so.
It’s a vicious circle.
But, it is one we can get out of actually. It just needs practice and boldness.
When you encounter fear inside you that stops you from doing something because you are afraid to fail, write this down:
1. What if it fails? What can you learn from it to do it better next time?
2. What if it fails? What are the consequences? Is it too high of a risk? Or can you build in a safety net?
3. What if it doesn’t fail? Well, you fill in the blank.
Rewire your thinking
I know we are not wired for this kind of thinking because even as I’m writing this I’m thinking of you, reading this blog, and that you might think, “Jane, this sucks. This doesn’t help me. What do you know?”
Or perhaps you’re more supportive but your inner critic says, “OK, gotcha. But still, if things go wrong, what will happen with so and so?” (FEAR-ALERT!)
So, I feel for you.
But if I’m dealing with it and so can you!
Go for it.
Don’t let fear get in the way of where you need to go. Where you are destined to go.
A great example of someone who overcame fear
Get to know Joze Piranian; a stuttering public speaker and comedian. And a good one too! How much fear do you think he had to overcome to step on that stage? Or to even start a conversation with people? So much that he can actually coach people on it now.
People find him inspiring… For a reason. Because he does something they don’t dare do. He has something that they haven’t mastered yet: the skill of neglecting the wrong type of fear and letting the risk catapult them forward.