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  • Katie Smith


My kids were recently discussing what they were scared of after one of them was screaming at the sight of a talking mannequin, albeit a very realistic cowboy-mannequin. This child was born fearless, so I tried to instill a little "healthy" fear in the past, only to have it backfire in the present. He is so afraid of someone "taking" him (even a mannequin) that he panics if he doesn't have a substantial view of his caretaker. Another one of my sons is deathly afraid of bugs crawling on him at night. Another one is scared of monsters and roller coasters. And one is just afraid of pain and death. But none of them seem to share the same fears right now.

They asked me what I was afraid of, and I had to think about it. I've faced a lot of the things that once kept me up at night, but that doesn't mean I don't get scared. The way you know what holds you captive to fear is where you set up your security blanket. My kids all have ways of preventing their fears from happening--mechanisms (or in some cases actual blankets) that help keep their nightmares at bay. Adults have security blankets too. They come in the form of control-- comfort zones and routines.

However, when you continue clinging to that blanket, you actually increase your anxiety. Anxiety is different from fear though. Fear is a natural human emotion. Anxiety is a nasty symptom of fear, like the sore throat that accompanies a virus. But neither emotions should dictate reality.

At some point, you must give up the blanket and face reality. The dark is only scary if you don't know where to find a light. Death is only scary if you don't know where you go when you die. When you let go of the blanket, you gain confidence-- you don't have to control outcomes, you only have to control your thoughts and actions in a single moment. The more you seek unmerited control over the future, the more anxious you'll become.

Although, everyone skews reality when scary circumstances arise. My boys have talked each other off the ledges of fear by stating what it true. Since they are afraid of different things, they can voice a different perspective when they aren't the one scared. They don't realize it now, but they are helping each other take their thoughts and emotions captive. Little by little we all have to jump into that next season that God is calling us. He wants to catch us in the scary unknown waters and teach us to walk on the waves as he did with Peter. But if we look at the vastness and depth of the sea, we create scenarios that cause us to drown in fear. Fearlessness begins to take root only when we admit we don't know what will happen but continue moving forward trusting God handles the unknown.

I'm constantly inspired by one of my best friends--a beautiful 87 year-old woman who faces the world with gumption and grace every single day. She left her home country of New Zealand many decades ago and followed an amazing path of growth all over the world before landing in Georgia. Then just five years ago she left the comfort of her church family. She didn't burn bridges or cause strife, but she knew it was time to change, time to move, time to step outside her comfort zone because that's what God was calling her to do. She would have been more unhealthy in the stagnant water than putting her foot into the new rushing river. After that she ventured into our home and our lives, she helped us move forward too. As our "adopted grandmother" she is an eternal part of our story now. Never underestimate the joy and eternal impact you obtain from courageous obedience.

Fear and anxiety will dissipate after we step away from our security blanket. Being in God’s will is the safest place to be. Once you let go of your blanket, you'll be like a weaned child no longer screaming in fear for its mother. You'll rest peacefully, knowing you have all you need in Christ. "But I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child is my soul within me" (Psalm 131:2).

SO... what I'm scared of now? Well I'm currently in the process of letting go of a security blanket. I think it'll be untangled soon, and I'll let you know how it feels to be free and fearless again.

~Afraid Carefully & Carelessly

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