I watched Merlin Mann’s presentation on being scared earlier today. (The title and talk are laced with profanity but once you slice through all that, there are some profound thoughts). He talked about some of the things that scared him in as a child and as an adult. The death of his father, Doyle, the school bully, and the divorce from his first wife. He also had some of the other presenters write out some of their fears. Prolific writers who feared their best work was behind them. Musicians who feared people would find out they were a fraud. Others who were scared to love.
This got me thinking about my life and specifically the last 4-5 months. I have wrestled through some depression/being scared/fear. I have redoubled my efforts recently to find a full-time ministry position. Despite the many resumes I have sent out, I have failed to get a phone call let alone an interview. There is a part of me that’s scared that I’ll never find a ministry position. That 20 years from now I’ll be warming a pew, failing to have a “successful” ministry. The other part of me is scared I’ll fail miserably if I do get one. Frightened I’ll never get married. Fearful I’ll be a bad father. Petrified that if I left for a week, people would fail to notice. Afraid that my friends are merely putting up with me, but don’t actually love me. Terrified I will leave no lasting impact on this world.
I’ve often thought about where many of these fears come from. I can’t pinpoint one particular thing, but I do know I’ve had these fears for a long time. One of the earliest evidences happened when I was in the fourth or fifth grade. It was near the end of the school year. I began to wonder if I moved away, would any of my friends care. So I concocted a scheme. I began telling my friends that my dad was being transferred. What I didn’t foresee was that my friends would tell their parents and their parents, who some were my dad’s coworkers, would talk to my dad. I remember getting in trouble and vaguely him asking me why I did it. I don’t know if my young mind really grasped my true motivations. But I know that this fear of being unloved cropped up early and is a fear I have to beat down on a regular basis.
The concluding point of Merlin’s talk was that you have to walk through the storms of fear and uncertainty. In the midst of that, you realize you’re still scared but you can keep moving. If I continue to be paralyzed by my fear, then I will accomplish the end results of my fears. Fear is common to everyone. I cannot necessarily control what I’m scared of, but I can control how I deal with it. Do I allow Christ’s power to be made perfect in my fears or do I try and face my fears on my own and fail? Will I rejoice in being scared so that Christ’s power may rest on me?
Even with the promises in God’s word, I’m scared. That’s ok. But will I stay put in my fear or will I step out in spite of it? What do you think? What fears have paralyzed you?