As human beings, I think it's safe to say that we all struggle with fears.
It's not a bad thing to be afraid. In a lot of ways, fear keeps us safe. It keeps us aware of the things around us and alerts us to potential threats, such as those that pose a risk to the health and well-being of and our families.
But fear can also be crippling. Because too often we let fear keep us from doing the thing that we should do, or being the person we are meant to be.
Today, I can't help thinking on my own most-debilitating fear: the fear of disappointing others.
I don't know when that started for me, but for whatever reason, it's pretty much constantly at the forefront of my mind. I'm continually worried that I am letting someone down, in some shape or form:
I worry that I’m not the kind of parent my parents would approve of
I worry that I'm not slim enough for some or large enough for others, to be considered pretty
I worry that someone else won't think I'm wise or faithful, simply because I may not share the same beliefs as them, or my faith may not look the same as theirs
I worry that others may not approve of the way I spend my money
I worry a lot about disappointing the people around me, and being seen as “less than” in somebody else’s eyes.
And I let that fear keep me from making decisions with confidence, and I let that fear create a sense of judgment toward myself. Which is already kind of an issue, so yeah, I really don't need that…
But most importantly, in my worries of disappointing others, I often forget that the person I should be most concerned about disappointing is God.
And I don't ask often enough whether what I am doing is pleasing and glorifying to Him and His causes. And I don't let that be the thing that drives my actions.
And I'm afraid, that oftentimes I actually let the disapproval of others keep me from doing what I know in my heart to be God’s desires for me. Or in the very least I let that fear of disapproval keep me from searching for His purpose in certain areas of my life, and instead just blindly following the advice of another.
But I think in the long run, that kind of fear and fear-based action does a disservice to ourselves and to our loved ones as well. It prevents us from experiencing the trials and errors needed to grow us into the person we are meant to be. Or that we have the potential to be.
And I don't know about you, but I believe that God wants that for all of us. To be able to explore our potential in Him, and to be able to let go of the fears that keep us from that.
It is my hope and prayer that day by day I am able to let go of those fears a little more, and I hope the same holds true for all of you.