Fear…we’re all scared of something, right? (Or is it just me?!) Spiders, the dark, the unknown, the future, heights, death, failure, not being dead, glitter, feathers, snakes, having regrets, illness…the list could go on (just for the record I’m not scared of glitter or feathers!!)
Elizabeth Gilbert in her book “Big Magic” writes:
“If your goal in life is to become fearless then I believe you’re on the wrong path, because the only truly fearless people I’ve ever met were straight-up sociopaths and a few exceptionally reckless three-year-olds– and those aren’t good role models for anyone.” pg 22
We need fear. I know some fears are irrational; like my inability to sleep properly after I’d found two spiders in my room! Some fear is helpful though, it stops us thinking we can fly from rooftops or walk across a rivers or outrun a car…fear keeps us safe! However while fear can prevent us from hurting ourselves it can also prevent us from being all we were created to be! Fear can paralyse us – fear of making the wrong decision; fear of failure – of trying that new project or sharing that idea; fear of what others will think. It’s to this type of fear, this creativity inhibiting fear that Elizabeth Gilbert gives an awesome speech – print this out and put it on your fridge,
honestly, it’s life changing!
“Dearest fear: Creativity and I are about to go on a road trip together. I understand you’ll be joining us, because you always do. I acknowledge that you believe you have an important job to go in my life, and that you take your job seriously. Apparently your job is to induce complete panic whenever I’m about to do something interesting-and may I say, you are superb at your job. So by all means, keep doing your job, if you feel you must. But I will be doing my job on this road trip, which is to work hard and stay focussed. And creativity will be doing its job, which is to remain stimulating and inspiring. There’s plenty of room in this vehicle for all of us, so make yourself at home, but understand this: Creativity and I are the only ones who will be making any decisions along the way….you’re allowed to have a seat, and you’re allowed to have a voice but you’re not allowed to have a vote. You’re not allowed to touch the road maps, you’re not allowed to suggest detours, you’re not allowed to fiddle with the temperature. Dude you’re not even allowed to touch the radio. But above all else, my dear old familiar friend, you are absolutely forbidden to drive.”
Page 26 of Big Magic!
How cool is that! Fear, consider yourself told!
The bible also has something to say about fear. In a book called 1 John (honestly, the bible: not so creative with book titles) it says:
“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment.”
Punishment or judgement or chastisement are all words that in other places in the bible are linked to the idea of eternal torment or eternal pain, what we often call hell. Fear torments us, fear punishes us, fear creates hell! But love, what about love…love holds us; love gives us identity and meaning; love is energy and hope and inspiration. When we’re loved there’s less room for fear and so it follows that perfect love, complete love, leaves no room for fear! BUT BUT BUT we’ve said we need some fear to keep us safe, so what about a place that is safe, where we can’t be hurt physically or emotionally a place where “there’s no more death or mourning or crying or pain”* because only in that place is it safe to be fearless. That place, eternity, heaven, the unending union of all things, the kingdom of God…that place! But until we’re all in that place we need to work on sharing the love. The more we love ourselves and others the less fear will dominate us and our world, instead fear will have to take its place, but it will never be in the driving seat!
*revelation 21, in the bible!