Growing up, I was what you might call a fear addict. Because I watched an inappropriate amount of scary films, I was afraid of the dark (for obvious boogie man reasons). I was scared I wasn’t pretty enough, and that no boys would ever like me. I was also terrified of failure — or worse, being ridiculed after I failed — so I did everything in my power to avoid taking risks to keep my comfort zone fully intact. Fear has been all-consuming in my life. As most productivity coaches teach, many fears are destructive; we need to overcome them in our lives. But I’ve learned from experience that not all fears are bad. In fact, there are some fears that are good, even necessary, for the growth of our spiritual and personal lives.
1. The fear of God
Your relationship with God is the most important one in your life. He is our Creator, Father, and best friend. Take a look at the world – the trees, rivers, land, animals, people. God brought everything into existence. Take a look at your life – the moments of happiness and laughter you’ve shared with others, the moments of pain and difficulty you’ve developed endurance through and grown from. God allowed it all. When we fully realize this, we can’t help but have a divine reverence for Him. This holy awe will inspire you to develop your relationship with Christ, obey God’s rules to honour His love for you, and to put His will first when making decisions.
2. The fear of not building a legacy
How do you plan to make a positive impact in the world? Are you kind and generous to people daily? Are your thoughts hopeful and serviceable? Or are they despondent and self-centred? We are not born to just eat, sleep, and die. We are born to fulfill a cause greater than ourselves, and serve others with our gifts. And that is how you’ll build a legacy.
3. The fear of distraction
Reality TV shows, magazines, social media. Everything is about competition: more money, more cars, more purses, more power, more sex appeal. The problem with competition is that it distracts you from humility. Competition fills you with worry and anxiety, and it makes you feel inadequate or entitled in comparison to others, promoting feelings of jealousy and envy. And it keeps you distracted enough to miss the opportunities available to you in your own life. Stop gossiping with your friends about the new house your co-worker bought, and start writing that book you’ve had an idea about. Stop checking out photos of other people’s lives on Instagram and start living your own.
4. The fear of apathy
Some people are afraid of getting emotionally hurt, so they never enter into a relationship. They’re afraid of being mocked and laughed at, so they never follow their dreams. But here’s the problem: not trying is the surest way to ensure that you don’t achieve your dreams. Instead, it guarantees that you settle for unfulfilling mediocrity. It makes life dull and you miss out on numerous opportunities to experience the joy (and challenge) of new adventures and spiritually-rich relationships.
5. The fear of stress
Do you know one person who isn’t stressed out about their job or their mortgage or their family or their looks or their money? In our rapidly changing world, stress has become glamorized as a good thing. If you’re not stressed, it means you’re not passionate about anything, you’re inconsiderate of others, you don’t want to be successful, or you’re a bad person. But the reality is that stress is a risk factor for depression, suicide, cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, and many more health issues. There is a certain amount of healthy stress we need in our lives, but a life full of it is just plain destructive. I know we’re not robots; we will inevitably have moments of doubt or worry. But it becomes a problem when we turn moments of doubt and worry into a lifetime of stress. There you have it folks, five good fears that will lead you to a more fulfilling life. So, are you scared yet? Photo (Flickr CC) by bill85704.