In reflecting back on 2010, out of the many emotions that I felt, the one that I remember most clearly is fear. I am a pretty anxiety-prone person in general, but I don’t think I had ever felt fear to the levels that I experienced in 2010. I remember some nights, lying with my eyes wide open, horrified of the thought of losing my wife, of my children losing their mother. It gave me waking nightmares, these moments where I would have to physically shake my head to be freed from the terrible possibilities of the future. I think I may have experienced several years worth of anxiety and fear over the course of several months last year, which goes a long way in explaining why my hair has gotten so white recently.
But a strange thought occurred to me last week – since I was scared so much and so often last year, I don’t have to be afraid of anything this year because I used up all my fear for 2011 in 2010! My fear reserves are completely depleted and I figure they won’t be replenished for a year at least. Now, I’m not sure that fear works like that, in yearly quantities that can be exhausted, but you know what – screw it, that’s how I’m going to live! So I’m not going to live in fear of failure or of people’s perceptions of me, and am going to do things that I ordinarily would never do. I’m going to be the pastor that I know that I can be, at least for one year. I’m going to place full trust in God’s plans and promises. I’m going to get back into songwriting, if that talent still breathes somewhere in me. I’m going to engage people without automatically assuming that they won’t like me (imagine that!). But for one year, at every point that I can, I’m going to bite back on the fear that I usually would feel and instead, confidently press forward. But just for a year. After that, in January, I will go back to being my incredibly neurotic, paranoid, self-conscious self.
I know this sounds really stupid and illogical, but there is a logic of sorts behind it: if God is truly real, and He is who He says He is, then fear doesn’t make sense. My steps are ordered, my place and future secure, as are those of my wife and kids – what exactly should I be afraid of? So this decision is based out of the realization that God’s identity should have huge significance on how I live my life, and specifically, what I fear. And in this way, as foolish as this decision may seem, maybe the years I have lived in mortal terror of failure, mockery, and even death were the years that I truly lived like a fool…
That’s it, my resolution for 2011 – one year, no fear. I’m excited, intrigued, hopeful, and unsure as to how or if this will change my life. But at least I’m not afraid for once.