Feel The Fear

By: Neri Morris

“Feel the fear and do it anyway”

Every time I read this phrase or say it out loud I envisage a breath being drawn in and then exhaled right where the word “and” appears. It’s as though this word is the turning point. Things change, right there, in “…and….”.

Inhale. Exhale.

The “and” acts as the sudden change in posture and direction. It doesn’t disregard the fear, for without it the second part of the phrase simply wouldn’t happen, but it doesn’t stay trapped in the fear either.

In this season of new beginnings, where it seems the whole world is starting fresh again (or at least trying to) we can find ourselves on the edge of something that, when dreaming, it all seems easy and obtainable, but the closer we get to the edge of reality, the bigger the fear of it grows.

If you have followed the path of dreaming to this point, where things start to get real, then you would have found yourself at the intersection of faith and life.

“Feel the fear and do it anyway”

Faith is a fascinating word. I’ve been spending some time of late reading about it, exploring it, trying to understand better why we, tangible human beings, put our trust and confidence into what is intangible. I put my faith in Christ. Ask me why and my response will be to refer to what I can see to understand what I can not. I look around me and marvel at this world and wonder how we can’t not believe there is a God who loves us.

A lot of people will tell you that fear and faith cannot exist together. I’m on the other side of the fence. Well, rather I think fear comes in various forms and depending on which form you’re referring to will determine whether or not fear and faith can coexist.

I’m not the biggest fan of supernatural thrillers or really scary movies (I enjoy the odd psychological thriller, but not often!). I harbour an over-active imagination which can have me awake for hours in fear, certain some sort of demonic power is going to snatch me from the safety of my bed, never to be seen again. So I tend to steer clear of these movies because the fear they produce, regardless that it has been triggered by a fictional movie, causes my eyes to divert from God and His sovereignty.

It might be a fictional movie and some what of a light-hearted example, but have you ever found yourself so paralysed by fear that you simply cannot move?

This is the kind of fear where faith does not exist. The fear that causes us to crumble under the weight of it. It keeps us trapped – be it under bed covers or in our comfort zone – either way we feel we cannot move.

The Bible, however, talks of a different fear.

“In the fear of the Lord one has strong confidence, and his children will have a refuge.” Proverbs 14:26

This kind of fear provides confidence, it instils wisdom (Psalm 111:10), it creates a safe haven, a refuge, it is a fountain of life (Proverbs 14:27) in it’s banner is freedom and relationship (Psalm 25:14). It’s this kind of fear which faith inhabits. Without faith in Christ and the understanding of who He is then this life-giving fear cannot exist.

It’s this kind of fear we find the hardest to live within. By default, fear sparks a “fight or flight” reaction, our defence strategy is immediately deployed. Neither fight or flight allows for relationship. So when we come across the “fear of the Lord” we struggle to fully grasp that this kind of fear is a good kind of fear. It’s a fear that will propel us forward, boldly move us into unchartered territory, courageously taking up the challenge and completely removing us from our comfort zone, so that by our actions people may know there is a God in Heaven who loves them.

“Feel the fear and do it anyway”

It’s this kind of fear that is referenced in the quote – a faith-filled fear that calls you out, beckons you to speak up, step up and despite the world screaming all the impossibilities at you, sees you move from a spirit of timidity to one of boldness.

The moment where Peter calls to the Lord on the water so accurately displays the slip of a line between faith-crippling fear and faith-filled fear. Faith-crippling fear would have seen Peter stay in the boat, feet planted safely on a hard, wooden, predicable deck. But at the tipping point, when Peter had a choice, he stepped towards faith-filled fear and ended up on the water, walking towards Jesus instead of cowering in a boat.

Faith-filled fear propels us towards Christ and into the space of the unknown, where truly anything is possible according to the will and grace of God.

So, as you and I stand on the edge of the new, let us stretch our arms out wide, feel the fear that pushes us towards our God, breathe, and do it anyway.

Article supplied with thanks to Neri Morris.

About the author: Neri is a speaker and mentor focused on helping you have an authentic faith life.