Why are we always running from fear?
I knew it was a ridiculous question when my mentor asked it — because the right response to fear is always to run. But I was smart enough to know she really wanted me to ponder the question. Why are we always running from fear?
Because it’s scary
Because being afraid is no fun
Because fear paralyzes me
Elenor Roosevelt said, “You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face.”
Is she saying strength, courage, and confidence are just on the other side of fear? We all want strength, courage and confidence. But I don’t think we knew those characteristics are on the other side of FEAR — meaning we have to go through the fear to acquire them. Most of us see fear as a place to avoid, a place of pain, but when we rethink fear it becomes a place to run to — a place of power.
In discussions about fear we often hear the Bible quoted, God says, “Fear not.” Which we’ve all internalized as NOT FEAR — whatever you do, don’t do anything scary! We don’t believe we are supposed to feel fear. If we feel fear, we’re doing something wrong.
When we look at the word fear in Scripture, the word fear implies flight. God is saying over and over again, “Do not run because of fear.” When Joshua took over after Moses death, he had big shoes to fill. He understood he was being commissioned to do something the great Moses could not do. During this transition, God told Joshua to be strong and courageous multiple times, like a broken record.
You know why? Because Joshua was scared. Joshua was afraid. He felt the fear and God wanted him to face it. God knew if he ran toward fear, strength and courage and confidence would come to Joshua.
Don’t run from fear. When you face fear, the result is strength and courage.
Instead of running from it, we have to run toward it. If we’re going to embrace fear it has to become a place of power not a place of pain. This means when we feel fear, it’s simply an emotion pointing us in the right direction. Embrace it like it’s a mentor giving us pointers.
I have a colleague that loves to ask me, “What have you done today that scared you?” His point is if I’m not scared, I can’t possibly be fulfilling my assignment or purpose.
Rethink fear as an emotion to embrace — an old mentor giving you some clear direction. For me it sounds like, “Oh good, I’m feeling a little scared. I must be in the right place!”
Take Massive Action
To cultivate our brave and rethink fear. We must take massive action.
Most of us get stuck in a pattern of taking passive action – we consume massive amounts of information and spend countless hours thinking about our plan, desires, goals, without actually taking action.
The concept of taking massive action simply means commit to taking action until we get our desired results. This sounds deceptively simple. Do not underestimate how impactful it can be when we put it into practice.
When we take massive action we honor our commitment to our assignment or purpose and keep going no matter what. When we fail, or something doesn’t work out, it’s not a problem, it’s just part of the process. We need to be willing to recalibrate, shift gears, and keep going. Try, fall down, fail, try again. This practice will help us build both resilience and confidence. The best part is massive action eliminates failure as an option – we’re either succeeding or we’re learning.
Rethink fear as a place of power, not pain; embrace it like a mentor; and take massive action. When we do, we find strength, courage, and confidence are waiting for us.