By Debbi Anderson, Conservative Ladies of Washington Education Lead
Leaning, leaning, leaning on the everlasting arms…
Fear is a funny thing. When you get right down to it, it is one of the strongest motivational emotions we have. Sometimes we know it’s fear immediately. That ferris wheel sure goes up high and swings a lot. My fear of heights, malfunctioning equipment, and possible death keeps me off the ferris wheel. Sometimes it’s just below the surface. I’ve been asked to speak and I don’t want to because I have nothing worth saying. Or, to be honest, I don’t want to because I fear getting up front and being exposed with how I look, how my hair looks, and how I might be judged. And sometimes the fear is buried so deep, you don’t know it’s there until you peel back the layers. All excuses sound better than saying, “I’m afraid.” Even saying, “I’m angry,” is more face-saving than saying, “I’m afraid.” No matter where the fear lies, it’s motivational.
I have to be honest. Fear has been motivational in my life. It has stopped me when I should have continued, and it has pushed me when I should have stayed still. An epiphany several years ago revealed the depth of my fears and I decided that year would be the year of facing my fears. It has led me to a teaching career I love, writing blogs for this group, being willing to be a leader in this group, and just revealing myself to others.
I was a youth pastor for over ten years. So, I can tell you by rote how many times fear is mentioned in the Bible. Do you know that “Do not be afraid” is the command most used in the Bible? 70 times actually. He knows we need to hear it over and over, and as many times as He tells us not to fear, He tells us why. “Don’t fear FOR I am with you.” I know these verses well. Yet, I still had fear. When my church experience fell apart, I fled the church. Why? Because I was afraid. I didn’t understand and I was afraid. I ran. If you don’t know what went wrong, the fear is strong that everyone else does. Let’s put this aside for a minute.
I fled to the university. In my early 40’s, I went back to school as a freshman. Six years later I received my Masters in Behavioral Science from Western Seminary. I am a therapist. And I discovered the magnitude of the emotion fear and how it effects so many people. I came up with the phrase, “What’s the worst that can happen?” Fear gets so magnified in our head that we lose perspective. We fear death, when really the worst that can happen is rejection. We can handle rejection once we put it in its proper shape and size. This does work to overcome fear…to a point.
We have all watched the attempted destruction of America, the attempted coup d’etat of our children’s minds, the lies, the swamp, the fence, the riots, the theories. We would be rather silly to believe there is nothing to fear. I have watched those in America who have risen up to fight. Many in our group have risen up to fight. I am convinced these people have learned the secret of facing fear. Julie Barrett, our leader, has risen up to fight for her child WHILE she is building an incredible ministry for us. My friend, Jeannie Magdua Cook, is running for the school board. Many others of you are doing the same. Granite Falls, Northshore, Everett, Edmonds. Every day I hear of a new hero. You have thrown your hats into the ring and said, “I will make a difference.” Most of you each day find a way to make a difference. You write, you speak, you volunteer, you make others feel good, you serve, you share.
What I have learned in my own life, and what I believe everyone of these people have learned, is that to combat this powerful emotion, we must LEAN into it. Julie leaned into the fear. She did not sit back and let someone else do it. She physically leaned into the task of saving her child and she did it. She overcame her fear and literally rescued her daughter. When we chose to lean into the fear, we embrace it fully. We acknowledge it’s there, we acknowledge God is with us, and we acknowledge the worst thing that could happen. When I leaned into my fear of rejection and exposure, I ended up teaching high school kids, I ended up being part of something huge like Conservative Ladies of Washington, I ended up realizing I had something to write about. It is an active body posture. You enter into it fully. Watch two people talk intensely. You can see them lean into each other. Watch two lovebirds of any age (and actually any species). They lean into each other. It’s an embracing move. It’s what it takes to conquer this fear. You don’t sit…you lean. You don’t just stand…you lean.
Fear is there. It’s the biggest tool of our enemy. A side note worth mentioning is that if you hear a democrat and a republican speak about what they fear most, it’s almost identical. A client who hates Trump said to me yesterday, “If Trump wins again, we will never have another fair election.” Really! The latest ads by Schumer says, “The republicans have a world-wide campaign and it’s working. They are turning America into a Jim Crow state.” Remarkable, isn’t it? The fear is the same. Oops, as usual, I digress.
I want to actively cheer on every one of you who are actively leaning into your fear. You are making a difference, you are being an example to your children and they are leaning into their fears. Keep it going. If you are not doing it, start practicing it. If you have to peel back those layers to find your fear, do it. And then lean into it.