A Lesson on Fullness: Fear

What does it mean to live a full life? That’s the word I’m trying to focus on in 2017–full. What does it take to achieve something so vast? A life that is not a quarter or a half full, but to-the-brim full. Overflowing even. I’m nearly 2 months into a new year and I’ve lost track of time completely. I can barely tell you what day of the week it is, let alone how many weeks ago we started classes this semester.

I am so wasteful when it comes to time. Rarely do I spend a free afternoon doing homework or learning something new or bettering myself in any way at all, so where can I expect to go in life beyond where I’ve already been? This thought bothers me, although I am more bothered by the thought of knowing this is how I’m living and almost accepting it as my fate. I am afraid of falling. I am afraid of failing. Have I really chosen to live such an ordinary life? When did I even make that decision?

I just came up with a new phrase that I find suits me well: ‘crippling perfectionism’. I’ve talked about my perfectionism before, but I’ve just recently started to notice how much it truly affects me. I stop myself from doing things–things as simple as writing down my own thoughts–when the words don’t flow or when I don’t expect things to go as well as I’d like. I struggle to start a project when I see the potential for failure in the outcome. I allow my thoughts to turn into poetry, then delete each line one by one as I decide my words aren’t good enough. And for who?

Part of living a full life is throwing out fear. There is no room for it here, among the endless opportunities and adventures. We all fear different things, like spiders or skydiving or failure or love–but to be full, we have to separate ourselves from fear, and we have to do the things we fear with every ounce of passion we have.

“If you hold back on the emotions–if you don’t allow yourself to go all the way through them–you can never get to being detached, you’re too busy being afraid. You’re afraid of the pain, you’re afraid of the grief. You’re afraid of the vulnerability that loving entails. But by throwing yourself into these emotions, by allowing yourself to dive in, all the way, over your head even, you experience them fully and completely . . . If you let the fear inside, then you can say to yourself, ‘All right, it’s just fear, I don’t have to let it control me. I see it for what it is.'” – Morrie Schwartz, from Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom

To live a full life, we must embrace fear so we can see it for what it is: an emotion that we control. Not an emotion we can let control us.

I will take control of my fear of failing. I will take control of my fear of feeling. I will take control of my fear of being seen for who I really am. I will take control of my fear of loss. I will take control of my fear of missing out. I will take control of my fear of not being good enough. I will take control of my fear of confrontation. I will take control of my fear of being alone. I will take control of my fear of being imperfect.

Will you join me? Will you take control?

I really hope you will.

Let’s go be fearless.

“I sought the Lord, and he answered me;
he delivered me from all my fears.” Psalm 34:4

“For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love, and self-discipline.” 2 Timothy 1:7

So do not fear, for I am with you;
    do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
    I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10


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