This Is What I Fear

It was too ironic to be true. It was the second day of October — a month Austin and I had decided would be about fear — and I sat in my immovable car in the parking lot of a muffler shop…and I was afraid.

Thirty minutes before, my car wouldn’t start; I took it to get checked. The auto shop wouldn’t be able to get to it until the next day, so I decided to leave it there, but that also meant telling my girlfriend I couldn’t come visit her and finding someone to pick me up and give me a ride back to my house.

Of course, because this was October and our theme is “Walking With Fear”, I had to struggle with my fear.

I’m afraid of not having control over a situation, asking for help, and inconveniencing others.

But I’m also afraid of being stranded in an unfamiliar place, so I frantically called my girlfriend (she was understanding) and texted ten friends who I knew had cars on campus. Luckily, one of them was able to come get me and everything was fine.

Austin and I have decided that this month’s theme is going to be “Walking With Fear”, and the wording we’ve chosen is intentional. During this month you will hear me write about walking with fear, living with fear, dancing with fear, but never conquering or overcoming fear…because we can’t.

I’m convinced, based on my own experiences and from listening to podcast interviews from crazy successful and creative people, that fear is always going to be with us. Our bravest moments are also the ones in which we are most fearful. Instead of trying to conquer, we must learn to be at peace with our fear — acknowledge its existence while trying to quiet its effect.

So how do we walk with fear?

Generally, Austin and I are going to approach this month by putting our trust in God. This is one of the scariest things for me because it means I’m not in control of my life. He is.

Despite my apprehension, this is for the best (I think).

I’m going to try to replace my desire for control with my desire to love others…because as James Altucher said, “we get along with people better when we don’t try to control them; we just try to love them.”

Something else that’s terrifying me is telling people what I’m terrified of. What if they plot to use my fears against me somehow?

I know, it’s totally irrational, but I’m almost certain you hold this same fear too. If you didn’t, you would easily accept the opportunity to tell all the Internet what you’re afraid of…right?

Here are fourteen other things I’ve discovered I’m afraid of in the past two weeks:

  • feeling lonely
  • giving an impromptu speech
  • being on the hotseat — answering tough questions like: why do you believe in God?
  • spending too much time on studying and school work
  • trying new food
  • feeling incompetent
  • not being able to answer the call when someone needs our help
  • introducing my girlfriend to my extended family
  • bragging about myself
  • having diarrhea at an important event
  • lying to people
  • being in a hyper competitive environment that could make me forget what matters to me
  • confronting someone who is doing something morally wrong
  • being 100% honest and vulnerable on the internet

When we go out of our way to share what we fear, it does not paralyze us like I initially thought. Rather, it liberates us…because cool things happen when we challenge and share our fears. We gain perspective on the world. We see who in our lives is there for us. We commit to being vulnerable and open opportunities for others to grow closer to us. We push our limits and learn about ourselves. And most of all, we learn to be brave.

Now, it’s your turn. I challenge you to share what you fear in the comments.


Image credit: Christopher Campbell


Originally published at www.awesomeinitiative.org on October 16, 2015.

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