So we can say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can anyone do to me?” (Hebrews 13:6)
No, this isn’t a review of an Al Gore documentary. It is an interesting challenge by Eric Turner, in his article, “Do it Afraid.” His argument is that “we get caught up in our own comfort somethings…The truth is that if you’re never able to understand that you’re going to have to just do things afraid sometimes, you’ll probably lack growth in certain areas.” The key is learning what is a real fear, and what is just misunderstood emotions of fear. Further, it is important to glean the wisdom necessary to know what is worth the risk.
Some actions are worth the risk. Protecting my family is worth the risk. Standing up for my faith is worth the risk. I am sure you can come up with other risks worthy of your attention. Turner argues, the more comfortable we are, the more risk-averse we become. The more risk-averse, the higher our anxiety level. The more we have, the more we have to fear losing. Anxiety becomes our god, controlling our actions, even our entire lives.
At one point in my ministry, I was asked to be the Protestant speaker at a Memorial Service for an American Airlines plane that crashed just outside the community where I served as a pastor. As CNN and other media outlets set up for the service, I became very nervous. I knew I had to respond and not become overwhelmed by the moment. I remember saying to myself, “Relax, this isn’t about you!” The acknowledgement that people were listening to me, but the focus was on the grieving loved ones, gave me the confidence to face the cameras.
Today, consider the ways we avoid conflict in our lives. Affirm the positives in conflict avoidance. A positive example, is not driving 120 miles per hour down the interstate, because we want to avoid conflict with the police department. Yet, there are also times when a little discomfort is necessary and even important. For example, taking the time to volunteer, when you aren’t sure whether you will be welcomed. Prayerfully ask God to help you discern what should be avoided, and what discomfort should be embraced. This is the way to true happiness and meaning in your life.