"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.