Growing up, I had a motto, “I don’t let fear control me; I control it!”
I wouldn’t do something just because of fear. I took control of my fear. Sometimes it meant that I had to face the same fear over and over like a dunk tank (I’ll get to that). Sometimes one time was all it took, and I was good to go.
I grew up in a small town in NH, and every year we would have a fair on the village green. It was called the Village Green fair (imagine that). One of the things that you could always count on was the dunk tank. It wasn’t anything the ones you see today. The dunk tank was two different parts; one part was the water tank, and the other was the structure that you climbed to sit and wait to drop into the water. The Fire department would put it together the night before. The pool area was four curved metal pieces that, when put together, made a four-foot circle that was also about four feet deep. They would then line it with a huge plastic liner that held the cold water they would add in the morning. Then came the wooden structure that was about ten feet high; one of the boards went out father to be like a plank; the end closest to the platform was attached to a thin metal chain that went to a four-inch tube that sat in the middle of a ring that was probably four inched in diameter. The ring was attached to the bullseye sign that people threw softballs at. About ten of us kids would line up at the back of the dunk tank and climb up the latter and then scoot out on your bottom to the end of the tank. Your legs dangled over the plank as you sat waiting for someone to hit the bullseye; when they did, the board would drop out from under you, and you would free-fall plunge into the ice-cold water. Then the bullseye would be reset as you climbed out of the tank and the next kid started to climb up the ladder to do it all over again.
I loved being a part of this; the only problem was I was afraid every year; fear welled up in me. And I would have to overcome the fear; it always started going halfway up and then back down and then three fourth way up and back down. Then on the third try, I would climb to the top. No backing down now, out to the end of the plank I would go, my stomach would be in knots as I waited for someone to hit the bullseyes and knock me into the water. After that one time, I would be fine for the rest of the day.
As an adult, my fears a very different and to be harder to have control over. The fear of losing my husband or child. The fear of losing a job or something happening to my house and not having a place to live. The fear of someone breaking into the house and hurting my family or me.
I can’t control these fears, in the same way I did the dunk tank. I don’t try to control them at all. Instead, I give them up; the Bible states in 2 Timothy 1:7 that God hasn’t given me a spirit of fear but of power. This means the more I am spending time reading my Bible and praying that I can trust Him to take care of all my fears, all my anxieties 1 Peter 5:7 tells us to do this, cast all anxiety on Him. We are also described in Matthew 6:25, not to worry about anything. God will take care of us.
Does that mean I never have fear? No, I’m a writer of fiction, all it takes is a small squeak for the floorboard, and my imagination takes flight and not in a positive way. It goes right for the fear aspect. When this happens, I do two things: I pray, ask God for peace, take away the fear, and calm my imagination. I also remember the scriptures and speak them. That helps so much to remind me that I am fearless in Christ. After a few moments, I am calmed down, and my head is back in the world of reality and not of fear.
We are to be fearless in Christ, ready to take on whatever He asks of us, big or small, no matter how it makes us feel. Because as we are called to walk in the boldness of Christ, we become fearless instead of fearful.