When the sun is shining in San Francisco, you do what you can to get outside. I threw on some shorts, a t-shirt, my walking shoes, and ran out the door before the weather had a chance to change its mind.
I had a lot happening in my head and needed a good walk to let my thoughts sort themselves out. There’s something calming about taking a walk, especially when the destination is coffee.
As I walked I didn’t try to control my thoughts or figure anything out, I just allowed my mind to ping-pong ideas around until it settled into some peace. I stood at a corner waiting to see if the car at the stop sign was going to let me cross or light weight breeze through the sign.
When eye contact had been made and they nodded their head permitting me to cross I thought of shirt I was wearing. In big pink letters it said,
I laughed to myself as I thought of how tentative or even unsure I had looked crossing all these streets checking in with cars to see if they were law abiding citizens or daredevils itching to play chicken with pedestrians. I thought, “Yeah, fearless. My shirts should say ‘aware’, ‘cautious’, or ‘please don’t run me over’.”
Continuing to walk I thought about being fearless. I thought of people I admired for their fearless attitude. I am certainly not fearless. I have fears. I could name them for you in great detail, but as I walked I realized something.
My journey has not been about becoming FEARLESS, it’s been about being someone who fears LESS.
This wonderful brain I have is overactive. When someone asks me what I’m thinking and I say, “Oh, nothing.” What I actually mean is, “I can’t even go into the detail of where I’m at in my mind right now, but if you leave your name and number I’ll get back to you as soon as possible.”
I love to think about how things work, why choices have been made, why people interact the way they do, what is inside black holes, what makes someone smile, and the thought I have the most is, “what if …”
Those two words have been the diving board into guiding my wisest decisions and the cause of paralysis most of my life. My youth leader from high school told me, “Rachel, I’ve never met anyone who thinks like you. You think of the what if of the what if of the what if of the what if. You tire yourself out before you’ve even done anything.”
Instead of the what if’s being the things that helped me make wise decisions, I allowed it to be fear inducing. I allowed my own wonderful, beautiful brain to be a weapon against things I should have done, risks I should have taken, and chances to grow and learn. I was, quite literally, my worst enemy.
I have not figured it all out. I still think of a thousand tiers of possibilities for most decisions in my life. What I have learned is to take a walk, lock myself in the bathroom and sing at the top of my lungs (the acoustics are great in there), do something artistic, or just take a minute to breathe and continue.
I have learned that fearing less does not mean thinking less. It simply means putting action after the thought process.
It means facing fears with shaking legs and a trembling voice. It means showing up and being present when I would rather stay at home and build an adult fort on my bed. It means admitting the fear and then placing one foot in front of the other.
To fear less is to live more.
1 John 4:18
“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do
with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.”
I am on a journey of being perfected. I am not yet perfect, but as I embrace God’s love for me, as I share in pure love with Christ, I fear less because He is Perfect Love.
Fear less, brave ones. The Lord is with you.