“Ooh, that sounds scary!”
“That concerns me.”
“That freaks me out!”
“I don’t think I could handle it if that happened to me.”
“I don’t know how they do it!”
"I could never do that."
The quotes above are possibly thoughts that cross our minds when we encounter something hard in life. When we listen to the stories of the struggles others have gone through, or we anticipate an imminent danger to come in our own lives, there are a number of ways we can respond. Sometimes (maybe most of the time?), our self-talk reflects one of the above statements.
But here’s the thing we have to remember: We have been through hard stuff before.
We’ve been through hard stuff and made it through. It didn’t feel good. It wasn’t fun. But somehow we made it through. And we probably learned a thing or two along the way. On some level it seems, then, that courage is retrospective.
“I didn’t know I had it in me!”
“Wow. I didn’t think I could do that.”
“I was surprised I made it!”
We may surprise ourselves with our innate survival-instinct, wisdom or resiliency. Reflecting on the times that brought us the most pain and struggle and sorrow not only elicits emotions held in our bodies from that time, but also can serve to reinforce those strengths that we were unaware of until we had to go through the hard.
Conversely, I believe, we can DECIDE on the front end of the hard times that we will face whatever is to come with courage. We can choose to live fearlessly.
Living fearlessly is a constant decision. It doesn’t mean our hearts, minds, our lives, are void of fear or anxiety, it simply means we choose not to allow those feelings to make our life-decisions for us. We will move ahead, press on, survive and thrive despite the fear.
And we MUST choose every time. The fireman must choose whether or not to run toward the fire. The mountain climber must choose which hold to take next to move up. The married couple must choose whether or not to seek counseling for their troubles. The child must choose to raise their hand in class to offer up their answer. Courage is always a choice.
So in these days of unsettling situations; in these days of shelter-in-place and social distancing; in these days of uncertain economy and unknown outcomes, we must choose to live fearlessly. We must not allow our fear to consume us, to direct us and make decisions for us that will lead to our mental, spiritual, and physical destruction. Fear and anxiety deplete emotional resources, steal from the immune system and weigh so heavily on the spirit of faith and hope that the soul soon reaches the point of desperation.
You can live fearlessly! Not devoid of fear, but with the courage to move forward despite that fear. Let us choose together to live fearlessly: boldly making decisions that benefit our personal wellness and that of our communities and our world!
For a Spiritually-Centered Deep Dive into thoughts very similar to these, with a Scriptural focus, I encourage you to watch the following Elevation Church service where Pastor Steven Furtick talks about living in the midst of fear.