Monday, September 24, 2007

The pointlessness of fear


"For God has not given us the spirit of fear..."

-2 Timothy 1:7


For a while, my response to this passage would've easily been "Yeah, right. Whatever!"

You see, I'm what you would call a "wuss." Like many other people, I occasionally find myself victimized by the aforementioned spirit of fear. That fear often dictates the moves I make or -- in many cases -- don't make. I know. I know. Pretty pathetic.

For me, the fear of failure has always been most the predominent (although, as I mentioned before I also suffer from the fear of pain). Truth be told; the idea of falling flat on my face despite of my best efforts often leaves me afraid of trying new things. The conservative in me tends to like things being safe; even if it means the possibility of missing out on a great opportunity.

But fortunately, I snapped out of that at just the right time.

Last night, I had a conversation with a terrific young lady whom I just met. Interestingly, I met her online of all places (though she's only about a half hour drive away which, when you think about it, isn't far at all). We started our exchange over the 'Net, graduated to email, and eventually exchanged numbers. After playing the infamous game of phone tag, we finally connected last night. By the time it was all over, we had what I would consider a pretty good conversation. Our convo confirmed everything I initially thought about her. I mean, this girl really is on point! She's the real deal. She's accomplished, personable, God-fearing, and...well...just dope (see definition #2.1). Lest I be labeled as shallow, she's also incredibly beautiful. I dunno: another perfect 10, perhaps? Initially I was scared to death to make a move.

If it hadn't been for my sister and my homegirl Joslyn damn near cussing me out about being a wuss, I'm not sure if I wouldn't mustered up enough courage to stop pacing back and forth in my living room and finally hit the "call" button on my phone. In fact, as I think about it: this perfectly ties into a conversation Jos and I had shortly before I called. In our discussion, she recalled the message she heard from a pastor earlier that day. In his sermon he mentioned how God sometimes requires us to release something before we can gain something else. Though I didn't make the connection at the time, the same can be said of my exchange with this young lady. Before I could open up a dialogue and possibly cultivate a friendship, I had to first release the fear, anxiety, and trepidation that I clung to beforehand. And trust me when I say, it was well worth it in the end.

Now, I'm not expecting the world here. Truthfully I would love to date her. But even if we wind up just being friends, I would still consider it a major victory. It's one more friend to add to the roster (especially important to me since my friends' list has been growing pretty thin lately). Plus, evidenced by how much fun I had with her last night, it's clear to me that she's one of the types who could add a great deal of value to my life. And even if that doesn't pan out, at least I can say that I tried and failed -- but did so with no regrets. Sometimes being left with the lingering "what if" question is even more haunting than bombing.

Imagine how much I would've missed out on had I just stayed hidden under the covers.

Since I now crown myself a foremost authority on overcoming fear (I'm scheduling motivational talks over the next few months. Any takers?), my advice is simple: push the fear aside. While some fear is not necessarily bad (or even unreasonable), most of the time it serves as an obstacle that impedes our progress. Since fear is not of God in the first place, extracting it from our lives is bound to give us a more perfect peace.

Holla!

-ACL

20 "Insiders" spoke their mind. Join in...:

Joslyn said...

Andre,

I'm so proud of you! You nailed the point of the message right on the head. It isn't always about releasing something tangible. Sometimes we have to let go of relationships, fear, anxiety, pride, and a many number of other things to be taken to the level that God wants us to be. Kudo's to you!

....now if I can just get a date....

Andre said...

"It isn't always about releasing something tangible. Sometimes we have to let go of relationships, fear, anxiety, pride, and a many number of other things to be taken to the level that God wants us to be."

Well put, Jos. It's no suprise that every time I try to say something worthwhile, it's inspired by something you already said. Damn you! :)

"now if I can just get a date..."

If we both strike out, let's strike out together at Coldstone's Creamery. Yeeeah buddy!

HeiressChild said...

i have a giftcard to coldstone's in my wallet that i've never used. i've never even been there. i hope there's no expiration date on my card since i got it last christmas.

now, back to the matter at hand: While some fear is not necessarily bad (or even unreasonable), most of the time it serves as an obstacle that impedes our progress. Since fear is not of God in the first place, extracting it from our lives is bound to give us a more perfect peace.

you're right, fear is not of God, so saying "some fear is not necessarily bad, or even unreasonable" and that "most of the time, it serves as an obstacle that impedes our progress," sounds contradictory to God's Word. fear paralyzes and brings torment with it, among other emotions, depending on how long one yields to it. it also extends to so many areas of people's lives.

i think fear is a natural part of the human make-up, but not so much a normal part--natural in that we're born into it, but because it's not from God, it's not normal. anyhoo, i'm glad you took a step of faith with the young lady, and i hope things turn out well for you both.

Andre said...

@ Sylv: "i have a giftcard to coldstone's in my wallet that i've never used."

In that case, my address is... :)

Seriously, if you have a Coldstone's around you, go...NOW. You won't be disappointed. Jos and I both found spots close to our homes. Whenever we visit each other Coldstone's is one of the items on our agenda.

I don't think I clarified my point very well. When I indicated that some fear is 'not necessarily bad', I certainly wasn't implying that it was necessarily good either. Frankly, I don't that everything in the world fits neatly into a black & white, dichotimous package. While fear isn't necessarily good, it can keep us alert, vigilant, and aware of the things going on in the world; which isn't bad. Likewise, it can also paralyze us, make us cynical, and distruting of God which IS bad.

Even the Bible uses the term in multiple ways: (1) as a certain reverential response to greatness and awesomeness or (2) being straight up afraid. Admittedly, the latter explained my situation. That is, until I got cussed out. :)

J.Alex said...

Scared to talk to a woman. Man, your stock is dropping my friend.

HeiressChild said...

While fear isn't necessarily good, it can keep us alert, vigilant, and aware of the things going on in the world; which isn't bad.

sorry andre, i don't need fear to keep me alert, vigilant, or aware of what's going on in the world. i can think of other ways to keep me alert, vigilant and aware. there's just no room in my life or in my vocabulary for fear at all.

Even the Bible uses the term in multiple ways: (1) as a certain reverential response to greatness and awesomeness or (2) being straight up afraid.

but in the second definition, it's used to not yield to it, and not that it's ok to have. i guess i'm feeling so adamant about fear because it's been such a stronghold in my life, and it's not of God. you name the fear, i had it, and little by little, God has delivered me from this spirit (God has not given me the spirit of fear) and healed me, replacing faith and trust instead. the Bible doesn't say some fear is good. fear can't be rationalized; I John 4:18 talks about fear and torment.

Andre said...

Some levels of fear are pretty inherent to our being and can be used as a motivator for our actions; especially if done out of caution. If I heard on the news that a serial killer in looming my neighborhood, I'm locking every window and every door I can and keeping my eyes open for ANYTHING suspicious. I'm not gonna sit around, bravely leave my door wide open and just trust that God will keep the "bad man away." That's what I mean when I say that certain fear keeps us aware.

Now, when it comes to some of the trivial things in our lives (i.e. the 'dilemma' I cited in this post), exhibiting fear is unnecesaary and problematic. Especially if I claim to have trust in God for deliverance...

HeiressChild said...

i hear you andre, but just because i close and lock my windows and doors has nothing to do with me fearing, but more to do with taking cautions. i hear what you are saying, and i'll leave it alone now; however, i personally will not use the word fear for keeping me aware; i just don't need fear to keep me alert/vigilant. i pray for a keen discernment every day to help keep me alert, not fear.

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

From your blog, i wouldn't have thought that you were a wuss! Anyway, glad you drummed up the courage and thanks for sharing...it's encouraging to wusses all over the world. Peace, brother.

Andre said...

@ Sylv: While you and I seem to disagree with the extent of fear's existence in the world, we ultimately come to the same conclusion that it is not of God and is not to be given in to. At the end of the day, that's the important thing.

@ LGS: "From your blog, i wouldn't have thought that you were a wuss!"

Oh, I am my brother. I am. It's a little easy to be emboldened when you've got the cover of cybernetic anonymity. :) But, I'm not as pathetic as I may've come across. I promise.

"...it's encouraging to wusses all over the world."

You think they'll crown me as their King? That would be sweet!

Andre said...

@ Sylv: One more thing. If you'd like to continue this discussion, we should do over...let's say...Coldstone's.

*Drooling* :p---

HeiressChild said...

ok, i'll hold on to my giftcard until i get to michigan. sounds like a winner to me.

JJM said...

You coming out of your shell?! I'll believe THAT when I see it.

JJM said...

But I guess at least you didn't say anything about you finally trying to dance. That would've been WAAAAAY too much of a stretch.

Joslyn said...

Sorry, didn't feel like logging in...


Jennifer, I tried to teach him to dance once...


First and last time...

Andre said...

@ Heiress: I'll have my spoon waiting.

@ Jennifer/Jos: Fa real?

HeiressChild said...

i know this post is closed, but i just saw these comments, and i still can't believe you said you can't dance, but two other people just confirmed it. wow!

Andre said...

Sylv, on Inside Andre's Head, there is no such thing as a closed post. If you think of something to add after the conservation is thought to be over, do it! Who knows, it might spark another discussion altogether!

Now, to address your second point: don't listen to Joslyn or Jennifer. They're both full of it.

Joslyn said...

Yes, Andre....

Full of the truth!

Cynthia said...

Well your non-dancing issues aside (still pretty funny though!), you make a strong point in your post. It's hard to embrace things of God if you allow other things to weigh you down. Get rid of the fear and move on.