For me, fear is familiar. I can let fear prod me into action, or give it the power to hold me back. The choice is mine: to let fear control me, or to be in control of my fear. I don’t remember being a particularly fearful child, but somewhere along the way, I learned that success was good, and won approval, and that failure was bad. I learned to throw myself into the activities I was good at (such as music) and to avoid those that made me feel less sure of myself (basketball comes to mind!). Incidentally, those two still hold true–I spend lots of time at music, and stay away from the basketball court, except to cheer my kids’ games.
Recently, I have been examining how my choices are still guided by my fears. I notice that when I am feeling stressed and tired, fear creeps in and tries to shut me down, convincing me that I can’t do even the smallest extra task, let alone accomplish the big things I have in mind. When I manage to get myself together, and look my fears in the eye, they often seem ridiculous, especially in hindsight. The first phone call to search for a music industry lawyer was so intimidating, I put it off for weeks. Once I settled on one, it seemed like no big deal, and I was proud of myself for making a decision. Clicking “OK” to finalize digital distribution on my first singles online seemed so scary (“Once you click ‘OK’, no changes can be made!”), I almost had to force myself –and then was glad I had done it, because my work was “out there”, and I started getting sales. Practicing for a solo concert while holding up my responsibilities at home and at work always seems like a huge challenge, but somehow, I have managed to do it, every time.
I know that my fears will never go away. I can use them to guide me in positive ways, rather than let them drag me down. I’ve learned that I have the strength I need in myself, and I get constant encouragement from the people closest to me. My husband, especially, has been amazing in his support. But, I have faced much bigger fears than the ones I mentioned, getting through emotional traumas that might have scarred me for life. In those awful times, I learned to call on God to hold me and carry me through to the other side, when with my limited, hindered vision, I couldn’t even imagine what was on that other side. I have been shaped and formed by my fears; but also by the love of God, who has always been there for me, who loves me no matter what, and who continues to amaze me with his visions for my life. His ideas for me are so much bigger than what I would dare to consider on my own. Two years ago, I was in a very dark place. If I could have foreseen, then, the blessings that have been poured out on me (in my family, in my job, in my music), I would scarcely have dared to believe it. I am thankful beyond words for the goodness of God who has restored me to health and happiness, and who has taught me that I can always rely on him, in all things.
If I remember that I am next to him, and always in his care, my fears look very small.