As you endeavor to pour yourself into a relationship with Jesus – a relationship where intimacy is its hallmark characteristic – you’ll be asked to step into areas that will require more faith than you’re accustomed to. Without faith, intimacy wanes. And the footsteps of the One you’re following will not only kick dust all over you, but will also require that you learn to do something with the fears that have kept you from taking this beautiful and unknown journey in the first place.
It’s a very real thing. And it’s the thing that prohibits so many of us from walking in intimacy and trust with Jesus.
I BELIEVE THAT FEAR IS THE PRIMARY WALL THAT PREVENTS US FROM WALKING IN INTIMACY WITH JESUS.
I was once a part of a semester-long small group Bible study. It was one of the highlights of my week, because everyone in the group was just so normal. These were pastors and deacons and Bible study leaders, all in the same living room, and all not needing anyone to do anything for any other people. The only thing we needed was to be together. It was a sweet deal, and I long for that kind of a group to happen at some point in my future.
We were doing this study that focused on the person of the Holy Spirit. And honestly, I don’t remember much about the study itself. It fell into the category of a mostly guilt-driven presentation, masquerading as good news and conviction. But that’s not the point.
As we pushed through the study, God kept tossing a question into my mind every time this group was together. We’d be watching the small group teacher on video, and I wasn’t really listening much at all. And that’s not because I’m a bad Christian or anything (for the most part). It was because the Voice kept whispering to me, and I couldn’t hear anything else. And by week six, the whisper had become a shout.
What would you do if you acted like fear wasn’t involved? That was the question that God was speaking to me.
WHAT WOULD YOU DO IF YOU ACTED LIKE FEAR WASN’T INVOLVED?
That’s a question that I’m not smart enough to dream up on my own, and that makes me more certain that it was the voice of God. So I carried that question with me for the entire Spring of 2013.
I don’t think we ever get to a point where fear is absent. I’m aware that Scripture is replete with admonishments that scream “Fear not!” And I think the only reason those words are so prevalent in Scripture is because we’re all scared. Why else would God continue to tell us what not to do?
Artists are scared to create and go public with art that might just cause people to see differently.
Would-be business owners are scared to take that next step of creating a DBA and a business plan.
Pastors are fearful that if they preach from their hearts, the big givers will exit and never return.
Marred and scarred romantics are afraid to express love to the lonely souls they’re sleeping next to, but who crave it the most.
Employees are scared to quit wasting their lives during their weeks, so they continue working for the wrong company, all the while being haunted by a voice that’s telling them to get out and change the world.
Insecure people are afraid to abandon their assumptions that the world already thinks poorly of them.
Christ-followers are afraid to carry the Name.
The list goes on and on and on.
Fear is something we all have to deal with, and it’s something we all have to deal with every day. But what might we do if we acted like fear wasn’t involved? Like it wasn’t really there at all? Please notice the nuance I’m bringing to this question. I’m not asking what you might do if fear wasn’t involved. I’m asking what you might do if YOU ACTED LIKE fear wasn’t involved.
And for someone like me who wrestles with fear far more than I’ll ever admit, asking that exact question has become not only a game-changer, but a life-changer.
In the Spring of 2013 as this question began to live and breathe in me, I tried my broken best to answer it by offering both of my business partners a buyout, knowing full well that I didn’t have anything more than a few bucks in the bank. That was the answer to the question God was asking me. Make sure that my other two partners at Floodgate Productions really wanted to do this with me for the foreseeable future. The three of us met, and as the offer came out of my mouth, I felt like I was diving headlong into a pool of uncertainty and riveting fear and complete peace. That’s usually how a person feels when they’re following Jesus into unknown and impossible spaces. Most people think that the presence of fear is proof not to move forward. But biblically, I think the presence of fear only proves that there’s a wall waiting to be conquered. But the climb is scary.
The offer worked perfectly for one of them, so we launched the process of a partner buyout, even though none of us had ever done that before. The buyout was paid out monthly over the next 18 months, and it was an amazing experience for all parties involved, and there were never any attorneys involved. Not sure if you read that last part, but you should read it again. We collaborated on a document that detailed everything, calling it an “Agreement Among Friends”, and the agreement never grew longer than one page. We signed our names and shook hands. We hugged each other and prayed for each other. And even though it was incredibly difficult for all of us at an emotional level (we were all great friends), it was the right thing at the right time.
What would I do if I acted like fear wasn’t involved? This. This exact transaction.
And I’ll say here what you already know to be true. If I didn’t follow Jesus every step of the way, I would have gone crazy. When we pour ourselves into an intimate relationship with Christ, and when we follow Him through the twists and surprising turns of that relationship, it will always require that we bring our fears to the table, admitting them fully to the only One who truly understands.
And then it will always require that we take the next step, and this step will always require faith in the One who’s inviting us into the unknown.
So what about you? What might you do if you acted like fear wasn’t involved? For most of us, the answers always come down to a fear of rejection, or a fear of financial stability.
What rejection are you scared of? Whose face do you see in that rejection?
What do you think might happen to your financial security if you step out against your fears?
No one is telling anyone to get rid of your fears. I’m simply encouraging you to learn to live your life one size larger than your fears. And no one taught me more about this than my dad. He lived a life on the border of dancing with his own fears, and just making really stupid decisions.
But at least he danced.
And when I was an insecure 7th grader, my dad told me something I’d never forget about fear.