Note to self: as you go through your day, remember to face your fears. You know the signs when they come. Your heart beats faster. Your throat tightens. Your awareness narrows. You stumble over words. Your body alerts you to your fears. These experiences are very natural, very human. They tell you that you are in the presence—physically or psychologically—of something unknown, unpredictable, something potentially threatening or chaotic. I understand why you avoid facing your fears. Confronting what you’re afraid of can be intensely uncomfortable and disruptive. Encountering the unknown can challenge your sense of self and safety. It can throw your whole world into disorder. For you cannot fully know what you will find or how you will handle it until you do. These risks may incline you to stay with what’s safe and comfortable and familiar. But if make of habit of backing down from that which you’re afraid of, you will become more and more controlled by your fears.
How you relate to your fears will profoundly shape your life and your character. Will you shrink away from forces of darkness and chaos? Or will you rise to contend with whatever crosses your path? Your greatest challenges lie within you. Your innerworld is as rich and mysterious as your outerworld. Microcosm mirrors macrocosm. Deep in your soul is everything you most fear: your history, your future, your hurts, your shadows, your contradictions, your frailties, your mortality. Every reality you would prefer to ignore is there, waiting secretly, though not inactively. Insofar as you banish your fears from your awareness, they will unconsciously control you. Facing and contending with them is one of your greatest challenges. So make a habit of facing your fears as you notice them. Be wise and discerning. Start small and work you way up towards slaying the dragons. Intentionally practicing this, day by day, will be one of the most transformative disciplines in your life. Learning to befriend your fear will allow you to bravely lean into that which is unknown.