When we approach transitions in life, events in life, shall we prickle at the changes handed our way or seek to find how God is making our path?
It wasn’t too long ago where I approached a complete health transformation with the mindset of “me against it” kind of thing. “It” being my body, the world, processed foods, whatever it was. “It” wasn’t really anything but a make believe enemy in my mind that I was going to punch in the throat.
As I’m attempting (maybe my 5th attempt in a year) to get my rear up off the couch and jog again, to prep my meals again, and to throw some weights around here and there I think about this aggressive mentality I once had. I’ve been reading this crazy awesome book called “Big Magic” by Liz Gilbert and she wrote about the topic of fearlessness.
Being fearless is a thing that many athletes or motivational people will just tout out and throw in your face (I’ll admit I probably posted a few “fearless” memes on my Facebook page in years past). Think of things like:
Once you become fearless you become limitless.
Being fearless isn’t being without fear. It’s being terrified but you jump anyway.
That kind of stuff…
Gilbert writes, “Bravery means doing something scary. Fearlessness means not even understanding what the word scary is.” She goes on to say, “It isn’t always comfortable or easy – carrying your fear around with you on your great and ambitious road trip. I mean – but it’s always worth it, because if you can’t learn to travel comfortably alongside your fear, then you’ll never be able to go anywhere interesting or do anything interesting. And that would be a pity, because your life is short and rare and amazing and miraculous, and you want to do really interesting things and make really interesting things while you’re still here.”
So I take a step back and I think about what we are supposed to glean from the scriptures (because even though we have amazing authors and personalities and people who we think know what they are talking about, we still need to go to the good book and see what we REALLY need to know). The Bible is LOADED with commentary on fear, but in all the translations I’m not seeing the word “fearless” or at least this concept of “punching fear in the throat.” The main passage that just resonates with me is this:
For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. – 2 Timothy 1:7
When I read that, I’m not seeing someone grabbing fear by the horns, whipping it around and tossing it away. That wouldn’t be self-control. I’m seeing someone going very inward and adjusting their approach to life whereby making fear diminish immensely.
Yet, over and over again we are told to come to our father as little children. Or we are sheep and he is our shepherd. What do children and sheep have in common? They need a protector. They need someone they can run to when they are afraid.
So, while Gilbert approaches fear as its own celestial being that she takes alongside herself and creativity (not allowing fear to control her path or make any decisions) she’s also approaching the thing in a very interesting way – by calling it out and moving on anyway. I would agree with her, that is not fearless but bravery… which takes courage. If you’re going to kick fear in the teeth, that’s not brave but violent. If you call fear what it is and tell it that it is being ridiculous, give it its rightful place in your psyche and continue on your merry way life can be much smoother.
We don’t have to “beat” anything. We aren’t here to “win” anything. We don’t need to punch anything in the throat either. Life is too short. Do it all with love.