What I’m about to share is a confession from the heart and very serious so I hope if you’re reading this you know me or get to know me well enough to understand. I’ve been living in fear for a long time, but not just any fear – and I’ve never opened my eyes to it or been willing to admit it. There aren’t many things that make me afraid. If you’ve ever ridden in an automobile with me you probably know the risk of death barely makes me flinch. So what I’m about to describe is a type of fear most men won’t talk about but I believe many of us share on some level.
For quite some time I thought my biggest fear was the fear of failure, particularly financial failure. I don’t want to fail as a husband, father, or friend, but I know what it feels like to be flat broke and I don’t ever want to go back. So I REALLY fear failing financially, but when I think about it that is really silly. I’m not REALLY afraid of being broke because I’ve been there and done that and it wasn’t so bad I couldn’t bear it. Don’t get me wrong – I will go to great length to avoid going broke ever again, but God brought us through it once and he could do it again. God provided for our basic needs when we were about to lose everything. I have no reason to fear being broke.
The past couple of years I’ve realized what I’ve really feared more is not financial failure. What I’ve been so afraid of is other people, and I’m realizing it is an easy trap for me to fall in to. It’s the fear of what others will think of me if I fail – by going broke or anything else. I don’t want others to know that I fail at being a perfect husband, father, friend, and business man – so I try to hide my weakness. I don’t want others to use and abuse my weaknesses, so I fearfully distrust. I don’t want to lose favor in the eyes of those with the power to hurt me or my family, so I refrain. Fear of going broke is just another symptom of the greater fear – what will people think if I do go broke again (as if anyone has complete control of every circumstance that could lead to going broke).
On the one hand I know it’s narcissistic for me to care what others think, and on the other hand I know it’s legitimate fear and worry for my family that depends on me. It’s a fear that stems from both pride and humility where faith is constantly tested. I’ve learned that this fear I have is the worst type there is – the fear of man. It’s a fear of people’s judgement and what choices they can make that affect my family. It’s a fear that is affirmed when nightmares become reality, or denied when dreams come true.
Fear does nothing to prevent being judged when we fail, and it does nothing to protect from those who impose their will on others. Fear is a self-preserving weakness. Self-preservation is completely counterproductive when it comes to keeping healthy relational balance, because where self-preservation trumps constructive conversation something is out of balance and ultimately everyone suffers.
We must look fear in the eye and defeat it by denying it a place in our mind and emotions. There’s no room for fear in a healthy relational perspective. There’s no room for fear in order to move forward. There’s no room for fear and faith at the same time. I’m learning to allow faith to overcome fear. It’s a daily struggle and I appreciate prayers.