“Fear, Killer of Dreams”
“If what you do to survive kills the things you love, then fear is a powerful thing.” Bruce Springsteen
We have a lot of reasons to fear in the time we live in: ISIS, Russia, the President, riots and protests, other terrorist groups, crazy people in the world, the fear of war, the fear of waking up and not having the freedoms that we have now, the end of the world; you name it, we have a reason to fear it.
But the biggest question that comes to my mind when I hear and see people acting out of fear is this: Are we really winning the fight when fear is our only motivation?
I firmly believe that when we act out of fear (or hate), whether it’s for the right reason or not, we only feed the beast. I think about the pictures of the Women’s March that I saw on Facebook and the one that constantly comes to my mind is the picture that is of a man holding a sign that says “No Fear in Love”, and though it is true, how much of the fuel behind the march is fear of what will, or might, happen?
I love that women want to march for what they believe in, and I want to see more of it. I just don’t think that it was as powerful as it could’ve been, since the fuel behind the march was out of fear (and hate) of one man that has limited power. (This is my opinion, and I would love to hear your thoughts on this.)
What are we really giving power in our lives when we hear the news? Do we give hope the ability to lead us into a greater life? Or do we let negativity reign and think the world keeps getting worse and worse?
Though love is a great combatant of fear, love is not the opposite of fear. The opposite of fear is courage. Courage isn’t just the ability to step past the fear you feel, it’s also the ability to go after connection with someone you don’t agree with or like. Courage is the thing that looks fear in the face and says, “I’m not going to compromise my ability to seek understanding and connection with the person that you, Fear, tell me I should be afraid of.”
So, how do we find a different motivation other than fear?
A good place to start is peace. Though peace is often seen as “no more fighting”, it’s not just the absence of fighting, it is also the inward peace that flows into the people around you. It could very well come off as arrogance, obliviousness, or even as being too hopeful (if there is such a thing.) But we can be a people that say, “No matter what the situation, we will always see the promise of a hopeful tomorrow as greater than the knowledge of a horrible day.” It’s a powerful thing when we are able to courageously choose peace instead of fear. Especially when everything around us wants us to chose otherwise.
See, peace is the crane that swings the wrecking ball of courage.
Though courage is the thing that destroys the walls of fear, peace is the thing that gives courage the ability to effectively keep the walls down. Courage breaks down the walls that fear puts up, but without the stability of peace, we have a tool that we can’t use to it’s full potential. In order to kick fear in the face, we need to get a stable foundation of peace that keeps us grounded and allows courage to prevail.
Another motivator has got to be that of love and a willingness to understand. The only way our motivation can be one of love and understanding, is because we know what’s inside of our hearts. Our hearts are where peace and courage are birthed. If we don’t allow those things to grow within us, then we can never truly love. And we can’t say we love people without the actions to prove it. If all we do is shut people down when they share their opinions, dehumanize them, and devalue them when they do or say something we don’t like, then we don’t really love and we insult our Creator.
We need the courage to hear, listen, understand, and love at all costs. If we can’t do that and we let fear rule our lives; then our dreams to see a better tomorrow have died.
This is why fear is the ultimate killer of dreams. If you give it the ability to take hold of small things, it’ll start to run your life and destroy the seeds of your hopes and dreams. Springsteen was very profound when he said those words that were quoted at the very beginning of this post.
I think to be able to find out what our motivations are, we have to have peace, courage, and ask ourselves and dream about what we want to see happen in this world. And then after that, find a way we can actively love people from those inner places and dreams.
Let’s kick fear out of our lives and let something else be our motivation in this day and age. Let’s be the people that show that it’s possible to do these things and not be afraid of what might or might not happen, while still courageously loving when all else fails.