What would you do if you weren’t afraid? That is a bit broad for a thought-provoking question, don’t you think? Let’s narrow it down some. What would you do if you were not afraid of…
- the opinions of others
- disappointing those around you
- not making money
- disappointing yourself
Many of us are scared. The truth is, fear have caused us to reject doing things we are passionate about or even things that we believe God has called us to but the world would say is too risky. We’ve chosen to live in fear, and as a result, we lack the courage to live bold. Living bold does not remove the presence of fear, rather, living bold tells fear it has no control over the decisions we make. But before we get into living boldly, let’s talk about living in fear.
One of the most freeing moments in my life is when I stepped away from fear and did what I believed God had called me to do. For some, this may seem small, but for me, this was one of the bravest things I could have done at the time. The end of Spring 2016 I packed my suitcases in obedience and traveled nearly 16 hours across the world to the continent of Africa. My final destination was Egypt, however along the way I stopped in Rome, Italy. In order to not share too much and jeopardize the work being done by those who are following the call of the Great Commission on an international scale, I will tell you more about the bravery entailed on this great endeavor.
Prior to 2016 I had never traveled on my own internationally. Now factor in that the only languages I know are Belizean Creole (dialect of English) and American English. So really, all I know is English. I was flying to two countries. The first speaking Italian and the second, Egyptian Arabic. I would be flying across the continent for a wonderful 16 hours to a land and people I could not fully communicate with. Months leading to the preparation of my internship, I remember fear overwhelming me. Fear of the unknown, fear as to whether I really heard from God or not, fear for my life and fear that I would not be able fundraise all the funds I needed for the months I would be staying overseas.
From a medical standpoint, fear weakens our immune system and can cause cardiovascular damage, gastrointestinal problems (ulcers and irritable bowel syndrome), and can even decrease fertility. Studies have shown that fear can lead to accelerated aging and even premature death. It’s fair to say, that fear is powerful.
Fear first starts off as a thought. Once our brains latches on to fear, it triggers a strong physical reaction in our bodies. Our brain then sends down alerts to our nervous system to respond or in most cases a lack there of. For the majority of people, fear presents itself through constricting reasoning and judgement making. While “playing it safe” isn’t all bad, living in fear stops us from living and doing. We are too scared to take the plunge, too scared to move and too scared to take the risk. All thanks to a thought of “what if…” Think on that for a second. You’ve allowed a thought to cripple and shape the way you live and do life. Fear, appears so small, but holds tremendous power over our lives. Only if we allow it to.
Now back to my internship in Egypt. Had I allowed fear to hold me back, I would currently be writing about my biggest regret. Egypt was one of the bravest and right things I have done outside of marriage. I felt a deep urge in my heart from God to go and that is exactly what I did. I took a leap of faith and did! I made it there and back safely despite language barriers. The finances made its’ way long before my time to depart form the United States. In the end, I had plenty to leave in Egypt as a blessing to those who accommodated me during my stay. But was it all smooth sailing? Absolutely not. In the airport both in Italy and Egypt, I had to figure out where I was going. I asked a lot of questions and had to step out of my comfort zone and make friends and communicate with my hands and the little words I studied in order to prepare for my time overseas. I was held in the airport due to riots and bombing. I was lost a couple times in making my way back home to my flat in Cairo. I was homesick quite a bit and even felt lonely at times among hundreds of people. That’s just to name a few. But do you want to know something? I have no regrets. I grew immensely during the months I was in Egypt. I made lifelong friendships, shared the gospel message and learned stories of those who are very different from me in culture but very similar in nature. I ate with strangers who became family, and learned a language that was tremendously challenging yet, beautiful all the same. I would go back in a heartbeat. I would take the risk and step away from fear immediately to live the life I once lived during the months I stayed overseas.
Too often we allow fear to hold us back. The “what if’s” in life control us that our life lived on earth is the same each day, week, month and year. The one thing we will never regain is, time. What we do with it, is wildly important. We either live and do, or simply be and remain the same.
To live bold is to live with purpose. It is living objectively aimed towards intention, without reservations. Living bold is freedom. It is an overwhelming confidence that pushes past the reservations of the unknown. While boldness doesn’t remove the aspect of fear and doubt, it does challenge both and push past the uncertainty as a means to live courageously. Courageous living takes leaps and jumps. It says I may not understand it all, but I will live and do. One of my favorite quotes is by an unknown author. The author states,
Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.
The idea here is that God is good and His goodness is understood and trusted that while we may not understand everything and we may not have it all together, we will place the unknowns into His hand and live bold. In Christianity, living bold, is living by faith. Living by faith requires trust and belief in things we cannot see and hope for, and living as if it currently exists. That’s not blinding living, rather that is boldly believing. Bold living requires risk taking. Here’s the truth, whether you choose to play it safe or take risks, it doesn’t remove the opinions of others not does it remove the grounds to disappoint those around you and yourself. Failure and lack of monetary security still exists. If all your fears can play out both in the risk and the lack there of, then might as well just take the risk, right? So my question to you is this.
What would you do if you weren’t afraid? Whatever that thing is, do and live bold. You have the choice to to forget everything and run or face everything and rise.