“Be bold! Fear keeps life small.”
These words strike at the very core of my being. There is a deeply instilled longing within me to be bold. To be this in every little thing that I do. But more often I find that living within the safety of my comfortable little bubble is where I choose to stay. You see, I am a fearful person by nature. I say “by nature” not because I was born with a fear filled heart, but because so often in my life I have chosen to allow fear to be my master. It has become a habit. So it is now my natural inclination to fear situations outside of my bubble, and avoid finding the courage to face them. In many ways I think most people learn to fear as they grow older. There are learned fears that we all developed over time, which in some way keep us from living our lives more boldly. We fear the unknown and we fear our own limits. We are afraid of learning that perhaps we do not have what it takes. We allow life to be small.
In the beginning, however, it was not so.
“God did not give you a spirit of fear but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” (2 Tim. 1:7)
As a child I was fearless. I didn’t care what other people thought of me and I certainly wasn’t about to let someone else’s fears keep me from doing something that I knew I could do. I believed that God had given me the ability to achieve my dreams and I trusted that He wouldn’t let anything bad happen to me. Naïve yes, perhaps. But I think there is a lot to be learned from the naivety of children. Jesus even calls us to be like little children, humbling ourselves to the point of total trust and reliance upon God the Father. To let go of the anxieties and boldly live with the knowledge that our Father in Heaven is with us. I suppose we would not necessarily call that naïve. This is what we would call faith.
“Faith: Complete trust in someone or something.” (Webster’s Dictionary)
Complete trust in the Lord makes a person bold. Recently I was reminded of this trusting kind of boldness when I decided to pursue my dream of owning a motorcycle. Yes…. this ridiculous notion of owning a motorcycle shocked my feeble heart back into gear. For years I had played with a distant, romantic idea of riding a motorcycle. So when I signed myself up for a 3 day class that would determine whether or not I could get my license I was both excited and terrified. Almost instantly I was assailed by doubts.
What if I fail? What if I am terrible at it and all of my dreams come crashing down?
I almost gave up before I began. The fear of failure was pulling me down hard. It was in those moments of near self-defeat that my amazing parents encouraged me to go through with it. This was certainly a God moment, considering that riding a motorcycle was the last thing my parents wanted for any of their children. Yet, with their encouragement I gained the strength to trust God’s ability to pull me through something potentially embarrassing. At the end of the class I found myself not only in love with riding but at peace with the outcome. By the time the last day came around I felt I had a good enough grasp on riding to do well in the final test. I had come this far and I knew that I had what it takes. But I also knew that people who did well during class did not always end up passing the test for their license.
So I decided to let go.
I acknowledged the fear of failure and I laid it down before my Lord. Sitting on that little black Suzuki I prayed. I trusted. I contented myself with the Lord above the desire to pass the test. Then I went forward into each obstacle course. My mind was clear, my heart racing, and my spirit felt at peace. When all my classmates had finished we gathered in a circle to receive our scores. As the instructors explained the score cards and how to take them to the DMV I stood poised for defeat. Then I heard him say it, “Congratulations, you all passed!” All of us. Including me, the one who almost didn’t even show up! When I received my score I was shocked. God had given me the boldness to not only conquer the course, but to finish with a perfect score.. It felt like a miracle! Later that day I discovered that not only did I get a perfect score but I was actually the only one to receive such grade. God is good! What began as a dream had become a reality only after I chose to go against my nature.
When you are boldly living with Christ as your center, little things like this make you feel on top of the world.
If there are fears you struggle with that keep you from living an exciting and bold life in Christ then I would encourage you to do something today that takes you outside of your bubble. Throw yourself, if necessary, into something that will require your trust in the Lord. Fear keeps life small. And that is exactly where the Devil wants us to be; trapped in little dungeons of our own making. But you were born to fly!
You were born to be bold.