Recently, I have developed a new habit of going to the movies alone. There is something extremely relaxing about sitting in a theater by myself not having to cater to anyone, share my popcorn, or listen to the awkward chewing of the person next to me. The best part is not having the awkward armrest-wrestling match. Instead I get to enjoy a tranquil, comfortable, arm rested cinematic experience. This past Saturday after dropping a friend off at work I realized I had some free time and was trying to think of something productive to do. My writing/reading quota was done for the day. My room was clean. My car was clean. Bills were paid. So I decided that I was going to go watch After Earth.
I sat through this movie and though it wasn’t the best movie I have seen in a while, it had its moments. Without giving too much away, the movie itself was about fear, and how fear is a conscious choice. Like many of the lessons in my life I reflect on the conversations I have with the people in my life. For whatever reason, I seem to be the guy people turn to when they need advice, or to vent, or someone ends up in the E.R, or sometimes just to tell them to shut up and stop being stupid (a service I’m glad to offer anytime). There seems to always be a theme in every string of conversations. Ironically this past week was fear. I had friends tell me about their fears of failure, of their calling, of messing up, of trust, and of love. I know fear all to well. It has haunted my entire existence on this Earth. I had let fear dictate every aspect of my life. I was scared of failing advanced classes, so I settled for being a mediocre student. I was scared of not being good enough, so I quit sports. I was scared of not being a good enough husband, so I settled for being an average boyfriend. I was scared of not being effective enough in ministry, so I settled for being an OK intern. I was scared of not getting it right, so I settled for being a lukewarm Christian. It wasn’t until I felt like I lost everything that I realized how much I voluntarily gave fear. It didn’t have to swoop down and take anything, because I had already forfeit it all. I let the presence of fear control me into doing all of its work for it. Maybe it’s through a lifetime of loss and messing up, but I finally opened my eyes to the truth that there is nothing on this Earth that is worth being afraid of.
The tagline quote for After Earth is “Danger is real, fear is a choice.” Short, simple and undeniably true. Do you want to know what the key to succeeding in life is? You really want to know? Are you sure? Ok…get ready…it’s your mindset. BOOM! (In case you didn’t feel it that was your life being changed right before your eyes.) It took my whole life to see that it wasn’t external circumstances that were keeping me down it was me. I looked at life thinking of all the ways I could fail. Contemplating every way I could disappoint the people around me and myself. Dwelling on the chance that I may not have what it takes. At a certain point, it all got to be too much and I realized that I had backed myself into a dark lonely corner. It took A LOT of failing up to realize that fear really was a choice. Then it hit me like a spank on a newborn baby’s bottom. There are a million ways you MAY fail, but the only CERTAIN way is to never try. Believe it or not fear is a completely unnatural state of being for humans.
Fear is not an instinct. It is not a natural mental process. But, our world is so full of it we have all just come to follow suit. We have accepted that fear is embedded naturally in the human make up. We have integrated it into our children by running away the first time life knocks the wind out of us. Fear is not real. Fear is a product of the opposition and turmoil that accompany greatness. It is not a wall to be climbed but a stone to be stepped on. Danger is real, but it is not definite. Realistically, what is it that you are afraid of? Not succeeding? Not being good enough? Being hurt? Whether you know it or not God is inside of you, and if you believe that you can fail that means you believe God can fail. GOD DOES NOT FAIL. EVER. We are just too ignorant to realize that, because we are trying to match up God’s success with that of the worlds. Two things that we as people have come to make completely conflicting ideals. Whether it’s your job, your passion, or your relationship fear will be the one thing that limits you from truly succeeding. Take the imaginary limits off of what you want. Stop looking at how you may fail and start looking for the reasons that you won’t. As long as at the top of your list of reasons you know that God has you, you’ll never know failure.
If these words aren’t enough, try these:
2 Timothy 1:7
1 John 4 16-18