“Fear builds walls instead of bridges.”
Lisa Wingate, “The Prayer Box”
Before I get into this, I have to tell you something funny about this one. I was on the road when I discovered this quote and I didn’t want to forget it. So, I popped out my phone, spoke the words “fear builds walls…” and did an audio text to my notes. What appeared on the screen made me laugh: “For your builds walls instead of britches.” Oh my!
- Fear is a tricky emotion. It can trigger heightened awareness and warn you when you are actually in danger. It appears when you are doing something you’ve never done before that is outside your comfort zone and when you’re taking a step toward something you’ve wanted to do but it’s all new to you. It appears when there is confrontation you’ve been dreading and you finally take the step to face it and it can help get your creative juices flowing as you plan to move forward in your plans. But fear can also paralyze you and keep you from doing so much. This quote refers to the latter. Paralyzing fear builds walls.
- When fear propels you to reach for something better or to stretch yourself further, it is a good tool. But, so often, fear is debilitating. For some people, fear seems to be the driving force for most of their life. They become driven by the limitations in their lives and not the adventure and possibilities. In very real ways, adventure and possibilities become negatives to those who live in fear, because to pursue them would take them out of what they know.
- This quote paints a picture of what fear can do. When fear runs your life, you don’t move. You build a wall around yourself to protect you from problems that often don’t exist. There is no way you can move forward in your life, let alone go to new places or adventures. In a very real sense, even thinking about new places and adventures is beyond comprehension. With this type of fear, you are stuck and stagnant.
- Talking to someone about your fear often lessens it or takes it away completely. There is true strength in asking for help.
- The phrase used most in the Bible is “fear not” or “do not be afraid” (any of the variations of this translation). This phrase is said over 100 times in the Bible. But when you add the verses mentioning not being anxious or the verses that specify who or what to not be fearful of, there are exponentially more verses telling us to not be afraid. It is clear that fear is not an emotion God wants us to live in.
- One of my favorite verses is 2 Timothy 1:7 – “for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control”. Wouldn’t that be amazing if we all lived like this? God intended for us to live our lives with confidence. A spirit of power is to live fully, to take life by the horns and ride it out completely involved using the gifts God gave us to show His love to others and being a reflection of Him with our self-control.
- The best thing about all this is that you don’t have to do it in your own power: Isaiah 41:10 says, “Don’t be afraid, because I’m with you; don’t be anxious, because I am your God. I keep on strengthening you; I’m truly helping you. I’m surely upholding you with my victorious right hand.” I think the biggest hurdle to doing something difficult or foreign to us is feeling like you’re doing it alone. But, as this verse says, He’s with us always and all we need to do is seek and listen for His guidance.
- The biggest adversary against fear is faith. Taking that first step is the biggest and hardest step because it is stepping into the unknown. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.”
- Mother Teresa said, “Be faithful in small things because it is in them where your strength lies.” As you change your life in attacking fear full-on, taking the small steps (the not so scary ones) in faith will strengthen your resolve and your faith will grow. As your faith grows your fear will decrease. After the death of my husband, I became a single mom of two boys. I had to learn to do it all. Things I normally wouldn’t have concerned myself with doing were totally on me now. I had no choice but to do them. I look back now, though, and I realize how the first couple years were the hardest. I have now gotten to the point that if something breaks in the house, I will research how to fix it and, if I can, will fix it myself. Also, going anywhere is now no big deal to me. I used to hate to drive in downtown areas, but now I can drive around any downtown without hesitation.
Fear doesn’t have to control your life. The more power you give it, the more power and independence it will take.
~ Joanna Lynn