Andy Denen

Ideas on life, church, and culture.

Fear Is A Liar

I tend to over exaggerate. Mostly for humor’s sake. Something happens that is kind of funny. But when I retell the story to friends, it’s pumped up a bit for comedic value. Usually it works. I assume everyone can sense my sarcasm and believes the story to be less dramatic than I portrayed it to be, but I can’t be certain. My wife always keeps me in check with it too. She will be the first to tell someone, “It didn’t happen like that at all. He’s over exaggerating… A LOT.”

Personally, I think that’s an over exaggeration, but we won’t split hairs.

The point is that if Fear were a person, a living breathing thing that said words and did things, it would be the biggest over exaggerator ever. Fear is a liar. But it doesn’t always tell overt, obvious lies. Sometimes it tells lies that are wrapped in a fraction of truth just to get us thinking and then it heaps on lie after lie after lie until you can’t help but believe it as truth because it seems so evident.

On my timehop, just two days ago I came across an Instagram post from a year ago. It was pictures of the various logo ideas my designer had come up with for this website. I was shocked, I couldn’t believe it had been a year since we started this process and we just now launched the website yesterday. Some of that had to do with saving up some money and paying for a few things, but if I’m being honest, most of the delay came because of fear. I didn’t want this to start so quickly because everyone would see what I write, comment, critique, judge and basically just have access to my thoughts, words, writings and ideas. And that was terrifying to me.

But fear is a liar.

Do you know you’re only born with two instinctual fears?

Yep, only two.

Loud noises and falling. That’s it. Those are the only two fears with which you are born. Everything else you are afraid of is a learned fear. Somehow our experience teaches us these are things we should be afraid of. But fear is a liar. You see, some fears are good and keep you safe. Others are irrational and make sense to no one but us. And yet others are crippling and steal our dreams from us. Part of this online journey we’re on together is to slap fear in the throat, wrestle it to the ground, and take back control of our lives.

I’d like to say that I used to be afraid that people wouldn’t like me. But the truth is I still have fear that people won’t like me. But it’s definitely a lot less of a fear now than it used to be.

What are your fears? Maybe you’ve started something new. Moved to a new location. Started in a new season of your education. Got married. Saw your marriage or relationship fall apart. Or ventured into a new job. Whatever it is fear is definitely an element. But as we process through this journey together I want you to remember 4 things.

1. Fear is a liar. Fear says you shouldn’t try something new because something bad will probably happen. The truth is that something bad is going to happen whether you try something new or not, because bad things happen all the time. But so do good things. Good things happen all the time. Fear is like a pair of glasses that filter out all the positive and leave only the negative. Take them off, the bad doesn’t go away, but the good becomes visible. And the good is worth the risk.

2. Fear doesn’t go away. It lingers. Like a shadow in our minds, it seems to follow us wherever we go. Michael Hyatt says, “Courage is the willingness to act in spite of fear.” It is not about having no fear, it’s about putting fear in it’s rightful place. We’ll talk down the road about how certain levels of fear can be signs of health, but too much focus on it strips us of our potential.

3. Fear feeds on doubt. If you’ve seen the newest Pixar movie Inside Out you’ll get this reference, if not… please watch it, it’s terrific. There is a scene where a character says to another, “If you go that way, you’ll get lost.” The other responds, “Come on, you have to be positive!” To which the the other says, “Ok… I’m positive if you go that way you’ll get lost.” Doubt is an all you can eat buffet for fear. When we doubt, fear grows. This is where the faith component comes in to play. We need to hold true to God’s promises that He is always with us (Isaiah 41:10), He cares for us (1 Peter 5:7), He loves us no matter what (Romans 8:38-39). If we can put things in perspective doubt gives way to faith and begins to starve the fear living in our hearts.

4. Fear is a liar. Did I say that already? Oh, my bad. I guess it’s worth repeating. There is research that indicates people who are afraid of spiders actually think spiders are bigger than they actually are. Don’t believe everything fear tells you. There is a place where fear can remind us of dangers or remind us of our deep need for a Savior, but it has limits and we should not let it control us or dictate how we see things. Fear has a place and it’s not as the focus of our attention. It’s no where near that. As a matter of fact, fear is a punk bully that thinks it is way bigger than it actually is and needs to be reminded of where it belongs.

We’ll talk a lot more about this in the future, but for now just tuck those 4 things away and be encouraged. Fear doesn’t control you unless you let it. It serves at your permission alone. Take that permission away.

Comment your thoughts and ideas. What are some of things you fear? How do you combat them? What words of encouragement do you have for others who fear?

More to come!

andy ::

Image: Artem Popov