My husband and I had a horrible time naming our children. I love old fashioned names like Lucy, Stella, Eleanor, Cora, Charles, and Abraham. But my wonderful husband lovingly informed me that he was not a fan of any of those names by the unmistakable gagging noises he made every time I mentioned them. Consequently, we spent most of my pregnancy months negotiating and narrowing down. Each time I went to the hospital to give birth we were never actually set on a name. We spent the first 24 hours of each beloved little Crabbling’s life staring at them and trying to decide if he was a Nathan or a Samuel; if she was a Sophia or an Ava.
If naming our kids is hard, naming our fears is darn near impossible for most of us. For one thing, none of us likes to face our fear and admit what we are actually afraid of. Admitting it can make us feel weak or vulnerable and those are exactly the types of feelings we tend to run and hide from. For others, naming their fear somehow makes it feel inevitable….like no matter what we do or how hard we try it’s just out there looming; destined to overtake us eventually.
But what if I told you that it didn’t have to be that way? What if I told you we didn’t have to stay locked in the cell where our fears imprison us?
Time and time again I’ve seen that naming the fear is the very first step in people getting unstuck and moving forward. This one simple question tends to strike a nerve and is usually followed by a few moments of deafening silence: What are you afraid of…?
Once my clients collect their thoughts, the answers come pouring in:
I’m afraid I’ll be a total failure…
I’m afraid I’ll be rejected…
I’m afraid because I don’t know what will happen next/if…..
I’m afraid of being alone….
I’m afraid I’ll make a fool of myself…
I’m afraid someone else will be better….
I’m afraid I’ll lose him/her/my pride/ my friend/myself….
And there it is…their ‘ah-ha’ moment. Their turning point. Because naming their fears, saying exactly what they are afraid of out loud to another person, suddenly tips the scales back in the client’s favor.
Naming our fears gives us back our power because it identifies our enemy. And once we learn that our enemy isn’t ourselves, we have the power to choose whether we will roll over and let those fears overtake us, or whether we will stand up and fight back.
When we allow our fear to hold us hostage, we let fear make our decisions for us. Naming them is the first step to making our own decisions and developing a plan to overcome them. Once we name what we are dealing with (fear of failure, embarrassment, rejection, inadequacy, the unknown….) we can examine it under a microscope, poke and prod at it until we muster up the courage to set it on the balance opposite Truth, and see which one holds more weight. And ten out of ten times, Truth wins.
I don’t know what specific fear is holding you back today, but I do know what it feels like to have fear choking the life out of me. Inadequacy, insecurity, failure, and rejection have all imprisoned me at one time or another. Each of them has threatened to strangle the Joy and Truth out of my soul. I cannot promise you that the victory over them will come swiftly or that you will not walk off of that battlefield with scars. But I can promise you that if you choose to stand and fight with Truth–especially the Truth found in the Word of God–you WILL BE victorious.
Face your fear.
Name your fear.
Fight for freedom.
You are worth it.