“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.” -Marianne Williamson
Fear of change. Fear of death. Fear of spiders and snakes. Fear of food touching on the plate. Fear of heights. Fear of failure.
These are truths for so many people, including me (mostly snakes and heights.) We are so easily led down the dark path of fear and away from the light path of courage in our daily lives. Our current media cycle is perpetuated on increasing the divisive fears in our citizenry. Our economy is fragile. Our family lives sometimes held onto with a sliver of thread. Our relationships thinned by more technology and less depth.
AND YET, we have so much in which we can find joy and courage. We have promises in faith and resilience. We have light in small moments–children’s laughter, dog tail wags, a delicious glass of wine, a real hug, a passed peace, kneeling at the altar, the changing leaves of autumn, espn college gameday, a Packers win….Our gratitude can help erase our fear. When we live a life of joy and gratitude, we don’t have time for fear.
Scripture gives us so many examples of conquering fear:
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”-John 14:27
“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” 1 John 4:18
“An anxious heart weighs a man down, but a kind word cheers him up.” Proverbs 12:25
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6
As does literature:
“Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself. And that no heart has ever suffered when it goes in search of its dreams, because every second of the search is a second’s encounter with God and with eternity.” ― Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist
“I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.” ― Frank Herbert, Dune
“Fear doesn’t shut you down; it wakes you up” ― Veronica Roth, Divergent
“We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.” ― Plato
“Scared is what you’re feeling. Brave is what you’re doing.”
― Emma Donoghue, Room
“Courage starts with showing up and letting ourselves be seen.”
― Brené Brown, Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead
We must not be afraid to enter the arena of our fears and bravely move forward in faith. If we focus on gratitude, on moving forward, and on courage–we don’t have room for fear.