Fear is a lot of things. It lies and steals and destroys our lives. But it also challenges us, and drives us to do great things. For as long as I can remember, I have always wanted to write. I have always had stories and ideas that I wanted to put on paper, but something always held me back. I guess it was the fear of what others would think that kept me from writing. I was always worried that people wouldn’t like what I wrote. And, to be honest, I wasn’t wrong. Whenever I hit writer’s block, or I’m feeling self-conscious about my writing, I like to go back to my old flash drives and reading through the stories I was telling. I had no sense of grammar or spelling, my stories make no sense, and my characters are all robotic.
Reading it now, I think it’s awful. But there was a time when I would write these stories on scrap paper during math, and the kids next to me would lean over my shoulder and read it. There were days when even the people who bullied me had nothing bad to say about these stories (admittedly, I offered them acting parts in the movies that would be made out of my books as a peace offering). I remember the first time I ever told someone I wanted to write a novel. To my surprise, they actually showed genuine interest in my stories. In fact, I think the reason I kept on writing was because of the support I received from my some of my elementary school classmates.
I have never gotten rid of a fear by ignoring it. In fact, ignoring a fear only allows it to grow. Confronting my fear meant putting my story on the website last July, and allowing my friends and family to read it. It meant allowing people to give me constructive criticism so that I could take it down in December and make revisions. I think writing and sharing my stories is one of the best ways I can overcome my fears. It is one of the most vulnerable things I can do, but in the end, it is so worth it to put myself out there for people to see. There will always be haters, and I recognize that I can’t offer those who opposes me an acting part in my stories (I was in 6th grade and honestly thought I would be world famous by 7th grade when I did that). But I think that opposition is also part of vulnerability and fear. Do we not fear vulnerability because we fear opposition? And if this is the case, shouldn’t we be vulnerable and confront that opposition? To write something and not share it to give glory to God would be one of the greatest tragedies, because He is the one who gave me this gift.
“So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus. But when he saw the strong wind and the waves, he was terrified and began to sink. ‘Save me, Lord.’ he shouted.” – Matthew 14:29-30
This is a passage of scripture that we often talk about in the Church. And so often, we are quick to judge Peter’s lack of faith. Jesus scolds his little faith and doubt as He rescues Peter. But how many other disciples actually took that leap of faith and stepped onto the water below? And to add another question to this, would you have stepped out onto that water if Jesus called you?
The thing about fear is that it will always exist. If fear didn’t exist, courage and vulnerability wouldn’t exist. If fear didn’t exist, dying on the cross would have been easy for Jesus. But it wasn’t easy, and we know this because Luke 22:42 reminds us that Jesus asked God if He truly had to die this death. Jesus was tempted in the desert after His baptism, but He was also tempted with fear the night before His death. And yet, Jesus still did it.
Walking on water was difficult for Peter. Trusting in God was difficult for him, but he still did it (even if it was only for a minute). No other apostle stepped up to do it. Peter might be remembered for the man of little faith, and the man who denied Christ three times, but he is also the only one with enough courage to try. And, if we read through Acts, we see just how pivotal Peter was in the early Church. When Jesus scolded Peter in this moment, he commented on his “little faith.” But, if you go three chapters ahead, Jesus tells us that even if our faith is as small as a mustard seed, we can move mountains. Peter might have had little faith, but he certainly moved metaphorical mountains when it came to his faith in Acts.
We are all going to face fear in life. No one is exempt from fear. And God is going to call us places that will scare us, but we can look at Peter’s story and recognize that God won’t leave us in those places. He might be upset with us for doubting Him, but He won’t abandon us. Jesus didn’t abandon Peter, He saved him. We can deny God, and we can doubt Him, but He can still do amazing things through us despite our fears if we just have faith the size of a mustard seed.
No Longer Slaves by Bethel Music
“You split the sea
So I could walk right through it
My fears were drowned in perfect love
You rescued me
And I will stand and sing
I am the child of God”