The Fear Factor


In the scheme of things, the last couple weeks have been pure bliss.

I went to the beach with Leigh and chilled, came back to work a day, then I went back to the beach with 10 girls for a bachelorette weekend, and then I got to come home and speak Sunday which is something I enjoy.  Awesome.

The thing is that no matter whether you are at the beach, with your friends, at work, or with your family, there is always one thing you have to factor in to every situation.

Fear.

I think we often forget to factor it in to the equation of life.  It’s always there.

I mean for example, I am STOKED about the Appalachian mission trip I’m leaving for on Sunday.  However, if I want to go, there are certain things that have to be done.

Therefore, I ended up in the doctors office ready to have a tetnus shot.  As I am in the waiting room, I can almost feel the pain in my arm before I even go back there, and I started to squirm.  Then the lady comes back to give me the shot.  She talked to me like a little kid.  Then, she realized, oh wait, I (the one on the verge of tears over a shot) am the one LEADING this mission trip.

Yes.  I am fearful of shots.

The shot actually didn’t hurt that bad, but I do currently have a feverish painful lump on my arm as a side effect.  I have no problem “looking ahead and pointing the way” and envisioning youth ministry for the next year.  I have no problem standing in front of lots of people talking about God, reading, and telling slightly embarrassing stories.  I have no problem driving 6 hours by myself.  None of those things scare me.

Shots.  That is the fear factor for me.

Another example, I somehow ended up baracading myself in my bedroom “suite” of sorts.  I had towels stuffing the cracks in the doors.  I had bug spray all over the place.  All because a HUGE spider was in my humble abode. I am still on the look out for it actually.  The thing is I fear large spiders. Small ones, I can handle. If they are 1/2 an inch or bigger…I am out of there.  I basically had this 2 inch insect/spider/whatever controlling me for a whole night. I know! It truly is ridiculous.

You know what?  You can make fun of me if you want.  However, we all have things we fear.  It is pretty normal actually.  I mean, even super heros have people or things they fear.

Fear can keep us paralyzed to where we don’t go on with life.  It keeps us afraid to go help do a home repair in the Appalachian Mountains.  Fear keeps you tip toeing around your life (or apartment) because you are afraid you will step on some toes (or something).

Fear causes normal life circumstances to become abnormal.

One thing I have learned is to factor in the fear.  Call it as you see it or know it.  I know fear is going to come. It may be big.  It may be small.

Can I trust that person?

Will they reject me?

There is a spider blocking my door, so will I ever get out?

What if she says no to a date?

What if I fall down doing my herky during tryouts?

Would I still make the squad?

Should I snatch that person from in front of the bus even if I were to get hurt?

If I defend that person will I be made fun of?

Fear is going to happen.  You have to be prepared for it.  The problem is when you don’t factor your fear into your life.  If you recognize that it will be coming your way, then you can accept it and go on with life forcing yourself to action.  You have to make a decision beforehand what you are going to do when you become fearful.

On the flip side..if you don’t over come your fear…

You never trust anyone.

You don’t give yourself a chance.

You stay at home forever.

You could miss a great first of many dates.

What if you do make the team?  What if you find a different hobby that better suites you?

You may not have a funny story to tell in a sermon.

You would miss saving a life.

You may never find out who your true friends are.

Women would not keep having babies if they succumbed to fear.

If Jesus had succumbed to all His fears, then we probably would not have a relationship with the most high King.

The fear factor is something you have to factor in every day.  You overcome fears all the time.  I now know that if I am fearing something to voice it.  It is amazing how people will raise up around you in support.  Sometimes, people even tell you how they fear the same thing or how they have overcome that fear.  Also, when you factor in the fear you can better prepare your heart to overcome it.

I have been working through one of Holly Wagner’s God Chicks books.  She talks a great deal about strength.  What strength is and who it comes from.  God gives you the heads up on your fear factors if you will listen… Sometimes it’s almost like I get a little nudge saying, “Ok,  Caroline, I know there is something coming up that will freak you out a bit and you won’t exactly understand what is going on and why, but don’t worry, I have never left your side and nothing is going to change that.  Just trust me.”

I know where my strength comes from…not me.  It comes from my Lord.  I know that God gives me a peace even when I am stressed, worried, or confused.  He has a spirit of power, love, and a sound mind.  Sometimes you just have to tell your fears that factor into your life how they should be fearing something bigger than what you fear.  Maybe even tell you fear how big a factor God is in your life.  You know, “Don’t tell God how big your storm/fear is; tell the storm/fear how big your God is.”

I may have fear to factor in, but I also have a factor for fear.  And that is good enough for me.

Be fearless.

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