How to Fight Fear with Fire
“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing which you think you cannot do.“~Eleanor Roosevelt
I have a very brainy nephew who delights in wearing tee shirts sporting highly intelligent humor. For example, one of his favorites is “Coulrophobia. It’s no laughing matter.” If you don’t have an unabridged dictionary handy, coulrophobia is an irrational fear of clowns. Mensa humor, Frasier humor.
But any deep-seated phobia is nothing to laugh about. Does fear ever stop you? Have you ever been frozen in terror? Does being afraid ever keep from doing something you know you should do? It’s normal. Still, we can feel very ashamed by our fears and that alone can make it even worse. Too often it’s shame that makes us hide our qualms and avoid facing them.
What Scares You?
I’ll go first. I’m terrified of going to the doctor and that makes me feel really ashamed. I know I’m not alone because there’s a name for it, iatrophobia. The very process of just making an appointment makes me queasy. My pulse races and my blood pressure sky rockets. I value my good health and want it to last as long as possible! I completely embrace the importance of regular visits and staying healthy but my fear makes it a miserable experience every time.
Why would ever we put off doing something that will help us achieve a result we want with all our heart? Why do we lock ourselves behind mental bars? Quite often, fear is the thing that imprisons us and holds the key that keeps us stuck. For you, it’s probably something entirely different that shackles your progress toward becoming the best version of the person you were created to be. So what can we do about it?
What can unlock the door?
We overcome our fear when we embrace our “why.” The pursuit of what matters most to us is an incredible motivator. When you begin to live every day with the burning desire to become the very best version of the person you were created to be, nothing will stop you!
It’s been a very long time since I read Susan Jeffers’ book, Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway but I’ll never forget how I was inspired by her encouragement! Here’ one of my favorite quotes from all those years ago! “Feel the fear and do it anyway! The only way to get rid of the fear of doing something is to go out and do it!”
“Fear not.” “Be not afraid.”
Those short sentences are the most often repeated words in the Bible. Some have said they appears 365 times, once for every day in the year. Actually, that’s not quite accurate but fear is mentioned some 500 times in the King James version. Clearly it is a very human emotion but one we are told to let go. Fear does not serve us well, no matter the circumstances.
In order to live fearlessly, our desire to become our best has to be a fire that burns in us so strongly it casts out fear. How? It makes us so focused on the desired result we don’t even notice the scary what-ifs along the way. My wise young friend Molly sent me this quote months ago, “Be fearless in the pursuit of what sets your soul on fire.” Too often it’s our fear that keeps us from moving in the direction of our most cherished desires.
The better question
Don’t ask yourself what scares you. Instead, ask yourself what sets your soul on fire and drives your decisions. When you know what matters most and what you love most in life, fear is extinguished. It’s true what the Bible teaches, “Perfect love casts out all fear.” What do you love, what matters most to you? What sets your soul on fire? I’d love to hear from you, see you next week!
“The most powerful weapon on earth is the human soul on fire.”~Ferdinand Foch