I was chatting with a friend the other day about our fears, both big and small, when she mentioned something interesting. She said that she’d noticed that it’s not the giant, scary fears that have the most serious repercussions in her life on a day-to-day basis but rather, it’s the small pebble in your shoe-variety fears that she struggles with most.
We all have our Loch Ness Monster-esque fears that occasionally rise to the surface, pull us under, and steal our breath away. We let our imaginations run wild as we panic about death and heartbreak and financial ruin, blindly accepting that all these worse case scenarios we indulge are destined to come true. We believe the lies.
Most of the time, though, it’s the less terrifying sorts of fears that hop on our shoulder and ride around with us all day. We worry about not getting enough sleep and being exhausted all the next day as we try to wrestle our little ones into bed and we wonder if we’re steering our older children down the right path. We fret about that awkward phone call we have to make as we do our grocery shopping. We agonize over that text we received from our spouse that seems just a little colder than usual. Is he upset about something? Did something happen at work? Is it me? And then we lay in bed at night, tossing and turning, worried about…well, pretty much everything.
I think sometimes we underestimate what a negative effect these pernicious little pebble fears have on our lives. We grow used to having them around and after a while it doesn’t even occur to us that their might be another way. We forget that it take energy to fret, energy that could be used to kiss round rosy cheeks, dream big dreams with our spouses, plant gardens, write books, and dance in our kitchens.
For many years, these sorts of fears ate away at me and cast a sort of muted quality upon my life as I took to staring blankly at walls, lost in my own anxious thoughts. As my friend was talking, though, it suddenly hit me that somewhere along the way, these anxieties lost their grip on me. I can honestly say that I am not often bothered by them anymore.
Which is not to say, of course, that I am never anxious or fearful, but simply that fear is no longer my constant companion. I still worry about things from time to time but I now know how to keep those fears from taking over my life.
As we enter this season of Lent, I want to share with you some of the lessons I’ve learned and steps I’ve taken to kick these pebble fears out of my way and off the path God has laid before me. And I want to challenge you to do the same. Because, honestly, if I can overcome my fears, anyone can. I mean that very sincerely.
Here’s the plan:
- Identify one small fear that has been eating away at you. (As a priest once told me, when it comes to the spiritual life, it is hugely important to take baby steps.) Then, bring that fear out into the light by naming it and resolving to conquer it.
- Register your name and share your fear. (First only, a nickname, or a pseudonym if fine!) Satan wants us to feel ashamed and isolated. He whispers to us that no one is as weak or worthless as we are. He is a liar. The truth is that we all stumble and fall and we are all lifted up over and over again by God. By sharing our struggles with one another, we will be reminded that we’re not alone.
- View the results after you fill out the form and commit to praying for the person whose name comes before yours on the list during Lent.
- Check back here each Monday morning (or sign up for my mailing list) to receive the 40 Days to Fearlessness challenge of the week.
- Share this challenge with anyone you think might benefit from joining us because the more people we can convince to join us, the more powerful our witness will be.
- Join me on Facebook, Instagram, and/or Twitter if you’d like to share your experience, get inspiration, request prayers, or ask for tips. We’ll be using the hashtag #Fearless40.
- Do a happy dance because life on the other side of fear is a beautiful thing, indeed.
Let’s do this thing. (Group fist bump.)