It is important before you read any further to understand the following disclaimer. The fear addressed in this article is not referring to healthy fear, otherwise known as instinctive fear.
Healthy fear is the kind of fear that would prompt you to cross the street in reaction to the stranger walking towards you. It is also the fear response you would experience upon encountering a snake on the path while hiking. There is a healthy place for fear in our lives. We are not referring to this kind of fear when when we talk about moving from fear to faith.
To understand how to move from fear to faith, it is necessary to define these two factors. This article defines fear as that which cripples us emotionally, shrinks our potential by telling us we can’t succeed, paralyzes us from taking that first step forward into the unknown, and causes us to react to external controllers rather than responding proactively to internal truths.
On the other hand, this article defines faith as the action which guarantees us something better than we already know, fosters an unconditional love of self, allows us to accept rather than resist and reject, tells us to take that step into the unknown even though it makes no logical sense, and motivates us with internal truths. The word love could easily be used interchangeably with faith in this article.
That which cripples us emotionally, shrinks our potential by telling us we can’t succeed, paralyzes us from taking that first step forward into the unknown, and causes us to react to external controllers rather than responding proactively to internal truths.
The action which guarantees us something better than we already know, fosters an unconditional love of self, allows us to accept rather than resist and reject, tells us to take that step into the unknown even though it makes no logical sense, and motivates us with internal truths.
Why are we so afraid?
Fear is all around us. The media is perhaps one of the biggest creators of fear. Watch the news and most of what you will see are stories that make you afraid.
How many times have you heard news anchors use tag lines like, “Don’t go away. When we come back, we’ll tell you what you need to know about the produce in your local grocery store,” or “You won’t believe what’s in your drinking water,” or “Are you sure your identity has not been stolen?” All of this says, “be afraid, be afraid, be afraid.”
Perhaps the biggest fear generated in recent memory was the Y2K debacle. How did we get sucked into believing the world would fall apart if computers couldn’t handle the change to the year 2000? Commercials are another culprit. The intent of any commercial is to convince you that you need what is being sold and that without it “you are not as cool as the others,” or “you are less than,” or “you won’t be accepted.”
Once again, “be afraid, be afraid, be afraid.”
It is my belief that, at the end of the day, there are only two true motivators in life: FEAR and FAITH. We either do things because we are afraid of the consequences if we don’t, or we do things because we have faith that it is the right thing to do, it will enhance our love for self and family, and it will grow our interpersonal relationships.
It is okay to feel and recognize the fear, but know that faith is always a stronger, more pure motivator.
Monty Roberts, the original Horse Whisperer, is a perfect example of this. As a young boy, he watched his father break horses using very traditional methods of restraining, hobbling, and brute force. These methods are considered very inhumane by today’s standards.
His father’s method was so offensive to Monty that it forced him to develop his own technique. Monty’s technique involved studying the horses in their natural habitat and learning their “language.”
Using the horse’s dialogue, Monty establishes a relationship of mutual respect and trust with a horse, ultimately “breaking” a horse without any physical force whatsoever.
It should be noted that both methods of breaking will produce the same result–a horse that will do what is asked of it. Why does it matter which method is used?
Before this question can be answered, we must examine WHY the horse does what it is asked to do. The horse that has been broken with the use of traditional methods will obey because it has literally been “broken.” Such a horse has most likely learned to respond out of fear of the consequences if it doesn’t listen.
A horse that has been broken using Monty’s method will respond out of faith that its trainer has its best interest at heart and that it is loved. There is a relationship of mutual love and respect between horse and trainer.
The same questions can be asked about my children. Do they obey me because they are afraid of how I will react or what may happen to them if they do not? Do they do what is asked out of faith and love for the relationship we have?
Coming back to our original question, this is WHY it matters which method is used. I would hate for my children to be afraid of me.
Enough about horses and my children. How does this apply to you? What are you afraid of? What motivates you?
Consider the following situations:
Do you go to work every day because you are afraid you will get fired if you don’t?
Do you go to work because you love the work you do and have faith that in doing so you are making a difference in the world?
Are you afraid to speak your mind in a social setting because your opinions may be contrary to those of the group and you fear rejection or embarrassment?
Do you speak your mind in faith that your opinion, though contrary, will be respected?
Are you afraid to set goals and reach for your dreams because you might be paralyzed by the fear of failure?
Do you shoot for the moon with faith, knowing that if you miss, you will still land among the stars?
Fear, though a motivator, is not a pure motivator. The only pure motivators are faith and love. If you are acting out of fear in your day-to-day thoughts and actions, you are robbing yourself of faith.
Never deprive yourself of hope by letting the evil imposter of fear be your master. The scripture referenced at the top of this article, 2 Timothy 1:7, is not just for the traditionally religious.
I believe that, however you define your higher power, it is not logical for your higher power to be the source of fear. Your higher power would not want you to live in fear, and I am certain that your higher power exists to fill you with a measure of “power, and of love, and a sound mind.”
Light cannot create darkness. Your higher power is your faith and is not capable of creating fear. Darkness only exists in the absence of light. Fear only exists in the absence of faith.
Faith and fear cannot co-exist for one will always expel the other. The advantage you have is that you get to decide which one expels the other. Do you want to live in fear or faith? Do you want to be crippled or fly free?