The Devil Disguised As Fear

“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.


This disturbing image of the devil and Jesus arm wrestling comes via

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.


22 thoughts on “The Devil Disguised As Fear

  1. Ahhh, fear. It is paralyzing, isn’t it. Like most people, fear enters my life on occasion but I have a strong faith in God and while I don’t believe He allows bad things to happen to us, I believe He is there to give us strength to move through this life. The one thing I never do after I make a decision, like a career change, is look back and say what if. If I made a decision, it was the best decision I could make based on the circumstances in my life at the time. No one can possibly know what would have happened if you decided not to make the decision you did so why bother speculating? The first step is filled with fear, after that you do your best and the chips fall where they do. Not everything in life is controllable. Good post…great advice.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s good you make the decision, George. Some people don’t make it that far because of what-ifs. I see this a lot in my college students and it’s my job as a counselor to help them move past the fear. Ironically, I’m much better at helping others do this than myself. Something interesting regarding what if we made another decision is that a friend of mine, a retired faculty member who is a physicist, told me that there are parallel universes in which we are living the decision we didn’t make, or to put it another way the other choice we made. My brain couldn’t quite grasp what he was explaining, but it was interested nonetheless. His name is Ron Mallett and he studies time travel.

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  2. What a good post, Kim! I know what you mean about chronic fear, and how it can hold us back from living the life we really want to live. I think, at some point, we have to just let go of that fear and step out. Sure, the results might not be good, but at least we’ll know that we tried. And I have gotten to the point where the trying is more important to me than letting fear dictate my life. As for faith, I agree. For me, it’s not so much believing that God will keep me from harm, but it’s more believing that God will be with me, no matter what happens. But that’s just my personal opinion, and I think everyone has to work out for themselves what they believe. Thanks for sharing this….

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  3. I have finally learned to listen to my inner voice, above all fears, and resist the urge to get my advice from other people. I’ve seen people project upon me their own fears and insecurities, and give me guidance that may suit them but be totally wrong for me. I am confident now that I will always have what I need, and that came through much trial, error, and fear. As you said, “loving arms will catch us when we leap!” Good post!

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    • You make such a good point about advice from other people. Even though I think most mean well, no doubt it comes through their own lens. I know I have to work really hard when my students ask me for advice to direct the conversation back to what they feel inside, what their intuition is telling them, so I don’t inflict my personal opinions on them. In this way I feel I’m empowering them instead of enabling them or telling them what they should do. Of course, I need to start practicing what I’m preaching more!

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  4. I absolutely love this post. I’m halfway through reading “Big Magic” by Elizabeth Gilbert and she talks about how fear is “boring” and it resonated with me so much because, as you mentioned, I feel as though I have chronic fear. It’s ruled my life for too long and has never served me – it’s never pushed me to go further in what I want to pursue, it’s never provided me solace or reassurance in what I love. Sure, it’s a great consult, and keeps us in check, but can you imagine how much it’s keeping us from!? I respect your journey so much, and wish you luck! ❤ Thanks for this wonderful post.


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    • Thanks so much for sharing “Big Magic”. I’ll have to check it out. I love the idea of fear being boring. It gives it so much less power. I wonder why so many of us live with this chronic fear? I suppose we could connect it back to our childhoods, but it’s probably more effective to just start where we are and move forward from there.


  5. Love it! So true- I keep seeing this picture that explains FEAR as this- FEAR= False Evidence Appearing Real. I’m not super religious but I have faith in myself and that things happen for a reason and most of all- that anything can happen if we work hard enough for it. So that’s what I’m working towards right now mainly…working towards working hard, I guess. The rest, I am hoping, will follow. Because I am still confused as hell- as a lot of the world is I think! Lol

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    • Thanks for your comment. You raise a great point that it’s equally important to have faith in ourselves, especially when it seems like no one else believes in us, which will happen sometimes. Hard work counts for a lot and definitely sets things in motion, although not always on the timeline we want. That’s the part that can be frustrating, and that’s where we really have to hang in there and have faith.

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  6. That post made me sad. In August last year I decided to put my notice in. My job no longer excited me and I had no more passion for it. It was not easy, everybody asking ‘where are you moving on to’ and me saying over and over again ‘I don’t have another job lined up, I’m just leaving’. I’m sure ppl thought I was crazyIt was tough but when my last day came, I was ready and I was happy. I’m six weeks out of work now, I had a few job offers along the same lines as my previous job, I’ve turned them all down. I went for an interview for a different type of work and yesterday I was offered the position. I


    • Ketty, I’m sorry this post made you feel sad! You didn’t finish your comment. Do you regret leaving your job? Did it work out for the best? Are you excited about the new job offer? I currently feel the same way about work, unexcited and no more passion. I used to feel guilty about it because I love my students, have great colleagues, and like my boss. But after over 16 years in the same field I’m done. I’m tired of being away from my home and family 10 hours a day with the commute. I want to try something new, or just stop working for a while and focus on home and family, but my husband keeps having job issues so I remain. Someone has to be the stable one.


      • Oops, sorry, not sure why my comment did not finish, must have hit send by mistake 🙂 I dreaded leaving my job. Like you, felt guilty because I liked my colleagues, my boss was great, the company has climbed from success to success, so all that was good. BUT last year, when I tasked myself with questioning everything (in my 40th year – early onset of midlife crisis I’m sure!), I realised I had worked for 20 years and was not even half way through my working life yet. I realised I always wanted to work for myself but always worked for others, I had wanted to work from home but always worked from offices. I really want to do my masters degree and I really want to do a furniture restoration course, I want to go back to painting – I haven’t picked up a brush or even a pencil for ten years. I knew then I had to leave my current job and do what I am passionate about. I have not regretted leaving, not once, I’ve done good work there and am moving on. I am excited about this new offer and am looking forward to a new challenge. It is not quite working from home for myself yet, but it is a step towards it. I will be able to start my own business alongside. As I was the main bread winner, my hubby was reluctant for me to quit, but eventually agreed it was best for my wellbeing and therefore for the two of us. His job is on an annual contract, so no massive certainty there either, but I know we will be fine. I am writing this as I am sitting in our nearly empty apartment among packed boxes , as we are moving to the other side of the country in three days (my new job is there and his current job is there, he’s been commuting/staying over during the week for the best part of the year now). I cannot wait!

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