I watch my daughter and often think "this girl has no fear". It amazes me to see her fearlessly step out, exploring new things with every inch forward. Things are new to her eyes of wonder. With her days of exploration come failure, success and hopefully lessons learned. Sometimes lessons learned can equate to "learned fear".
I've noticed over the past few months, as she enters the wonderful world of being a toddler, she has also started to learn limitations. I think she's learning fear. I want to shout to her "Keep your wonder! Explore! Don't be scared!" but it's inevitable to some degree.
As a young girl, I often lived life in fear. I was too scared to do this or that. I was too nervous to step out and try something new. I pretty much always had at least two spokesmen nearby at all times, I was the youngest of three, after all. If it wouldn't be one of my sisters, it would be a parent speaking for me. I was very well protected and anything that challenged that safety was scary.
So yes, somewhere along the way I learned fear. But somewhere else along the way, I learned bravery. And what is bravery without fear? I'd argue that without fear, bravery is obsolete.
Once I tasted bravery, I found myself addicted. It led me to sell all I had and travel the world as a missionary. I found myself building homes for the homeless and loving the unloved. Pushing past my comfort allowed me to share what God had done in my life with complete strangers, forging an undeniable and life-giving bond.
So I'm not making the argument that you should live a life in fear. I'll never tell my child that. Instead, I'd encourage each of us to push past our fears and be brave.
As I watch my daughter learn to fear, I will encourage her to never let it stop her. I will teach her to never let fear shut her mouth when her voice is the one to champion the way. I will raise her by example, showing her that "scary things" are an opportunity for growth. She will see that when Momma had to start over, she did it and ended up happier than before. I'll show her when opposition pushes, Momma & Jesus push back harder. I'll grab the hand of a weary one to reinforce strength, teaching those following after us how it's done.
What scary things are holding you back?
If you pushed past your fear, did those scary things, what is the worst result possible? And the best?
If today, you decide to push past your fear and do those scary things, who will benefit? You? Your friends? Your family? A stranger?
But if you don't find bravery to write that book, sing that song, start the organization, launch the blog, talk to the lonely one, cry out for those without words or fail to just share love... who will remain broken?
I was nervous to launch this blog. I was afraid people would think I was just airing my dirty laundry or trying to find a soapbox to stand on. I wondered how embarrassing it would be if nobody even read my words. If they did read, what would they say behind my back? I let it hold me back for a few months. And then I realized, if I even change one life, it will be worth it. If I can just throw a rope out to one drowning... that's one life improved.
So do something. Be something to someone. Be brave.