“What if I fall? Oh but my darling, what if you fly?” ~ Erin Hanson
Sometimes it’s a nagging sensation of unease in my belly. Other times it flat out wakes me in the middle of the night from a sound sleep and won’t let me rest. It makes me do crazy things, like fight with my husband over money and contemplate leaving him. Too often it keeps me stuck, small, and afraid to take risks.
“It” is fear, and I’m convinced it’s the devil in disguise.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve lived with some level of chronic fear. In an attempt to analyze why, I’ve concluded that the opposite of fear is faith. Apparently, I don’t have as much of the latter as I thought, and that’s the problem.
When it comes to faith, whether related to pursuing my dreams, leaving a job that’s draining me, trusting my husband to provide, or turning hobbies and passions into a livelihood, nearly always I let fear win out over faith.
Part of me wants so much to believe that God will swoop in and catch me as I take a leap of faith, and the angels will sing, because finally I have stopped being afraid and trusted in a higher power and purpose. A larger part is convinced that if I step off the edge my entire world will come crashing down.
I don’t think I’m alone in this. Too many of us let fear rule our lives. We play it safe, stay stuck, reason and rationalize our God-given talents, gifts, and dreams away.
Living with fear is the equivalent of letting the devil rule our lives. It keeps us small and in check by keeping us frightened. Each time we give in to fear, we let the devil win and take one more piece of our soul.
Faith, on the other hand, is trusting in a higher power to guide us to our greatest potential. Each time we act with faith, love and courage, in spite of fear, we let God win.
Recently, I was reminded of this when I found myself on an online forum after Googling “How to get my husband to support my career change” (as if the Internet can answer this question for me). A woman had posed a similar question about leaving her job, and received dozens of responses. The vast majority of them were rooted in fear-based “what-ifs”.
What if, someone said, you leave your job and then your husband loses his? What if one of you gets sick? What if you need to go back to work and can’t find a job? What if, what if, what if…
This woman was miserable in her job, longing to be home more to care for her small children, and seeking the support of her life partner in creating a life worth living – and she was being told not only that she shouldn’t even consider taking a step toward her soul’s calling, but that she was selfish for wanting to do so.
Too many people are living lives of misery and/or mediocrity, not fulfilling their potential, and encouraging others to do the same, all based on a bunch of hypothetical, fear-based “what-ifs”. How crazy is that?
We need to stop the madness, one person at a time, beginning with ourselves.
Let’s each pick one thing today that we’re afraid of, however large or small, and start working hard to overcome it through faith. Let’s trust in a higher power and purpose, and in the beauty, bounty, and goodness of the universe. Let’s believe with our whole heart that loving arms will catch us when finally we take the leap.