When we think of fear we automatically think of it as a weakness, a lack of trust, something to overcome. And yet, fear is a good thing – fear produces a caution and sometimes we need caution.
Caution doesn’t mean stop – it means be aware and proceed carefully.
One of the lessons I learnt with my forth child – is that boys need to learn risk management. They need to learn to assess their ability with the challenge in front of them. They need to listen to their fears, and think about that. Is it a caution? Is it a warning bell? Or maybe it is a blatant siren telling them to back off.
Some fears need to be overcome.
Some fears are because we are not trusting.
Some fears limit us.
But some fears caution us – and we after listening and thinking we can move on.
There is a danger that young men of today (actually this is true of both genders) have been coddled, protected, cushioned from the risks of life. Playgrounds are padded. Climbing trees is frowned upon. Being free to explore is held with suspicion. And as I heard a man teach many years ago, young men get behind the steering wheel of a car and feel invincible – they have never been hurt, they have never had a close shave, they are conquerors of the playground. And they take this invincibility with them onto the roads.
They can’t hear caution because they have nothing to fear.
Experience teaches us about our limitations. And when we consider our experience with the preciousness of other people, and when we find ourselves lacking, there is something to fear. If I was to go ahead and say or do whatever it is I’m thinking about, will I hurt this person? Will I damage someone’s property? Will I be true to myself?
This should ring alarm bells. This should produce a healthy fear – a caution.
I want my children to be bold and yet I want them to be wise. When they get those butterflies of fear in the pit of their stomach, I want them to think – is this because I know I can’t do this (I know I need help, or more instruction), I know I shouldn’t do this, I know I really don’t want to do this – or is it because I’m afraid of failure, rejection, the unknown, or pain.
Some fears should be overcome.
Some fears should produce caution.
STOP: this is where 5 minutes stop. But after a comment from one of my readers I’ve decided to add some more here. I hope it helps clarify my provocative title.
2 Timothy 1:7: For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-discipline. Yes, God does not give us a spirit of fear – He gives us a task and he enables us to do it. But neither can we use that verse – or promise – to do whatever we want. We can’t fearlessly do stupid things, we can’t fearlessly do selfish things. We are given human emotions – and we need to learn to listen to them and learn – and discern what it is we are feeling.
I also believe there are different aspects of fear – and we tend to only think of the crippling fear that limits us from doing what God has called us to do – as Paul was talking about to Timothy. He was warning Timothy to keep his focus on Jesus, and that through power, love and discipline he would be able to be the testimony he was called to be.
I see fear ‘as a good thing’ (a provocative statement for sure) because it triggers us towards something. It triggers us towards faith or it triggers us towards caution. And that is a good thing.
I am reminded of the issue of anger – and wording that we are familiar with, when talking about that subject. Anger points towards something not being right. Being able to understand that, helps us deal with anger. Same with our fears.
Five Minute Friday is a weekly writing challenge and linkup, where you write for 5 minutes on a designated word. Every so often, when I find myself with some writing time between Friday and Sunday, I plan to take this challenge. When I have done this I find that my 5 mintues of writing tends to reflect something that is going on in my life or my general reflections. So I share these short posts with this in mind – this is simply my immediate thoughts when I read this word today.
Read more thoughts about “Fear” over at 5 Minute Friday