Like brokenness, shame, and anxiety, fear is part of what it is to be human. We are afraid of endless things, from the very understandable to the bizarre.
I first encountered debilitating fear when I was a child. My father, who ruled our home with blanketing anger and sexual dominance made my very skin tingle with sheer horror.
But my deep and intimate knowledge of fear at a young age did not learn to help me master it. Instead, it sensitized me to it. Everyone and everything felt unsafe. Capable of real and terrible harm.
Is fear something we can overcome—and should overcoming fear even be our goal? We all have undoubtedly heard stories of people conquering fears, and we may have even done so ourselves. But in my experience, fear isn’t something I can ever fully shake.
While I’d like to be fearless, I’m not sure that lack of fear alone is the goal. When I look at the passages of Scripture about fear, I see something different from an instruction to knuckle down and overcome. God’s Word doesn’t seem to order us to use human efforts to banish fear. I see instead an invitation to trust, to be present, and to be aware of God’s presence where we might otherwise assume his absence.
God is not shaking a finger at us and telling us to try harder to not be afraid. He is telling us that as we lean into him and trust him, our fear will dissipate.
I am trying hard lean in… every day I get a little closer.