Breaking Up with Fear

It's not you. It's me.

I know how shocking this must be. We've been together such a long time. In fact, it's been so long that I can't even remember what life was like without you. Ever since the day we met, when I felt so abandoned and alone after coming out from under the long draping dresses of the clearance rack at TJ Maxx to find my mom had moved on, I knew something wasn't right about you. But still, you somehow drew me in, wrapping me up like a warm blanket bound up with a thousand impossible buttons.

Secure and suffocating.

But don't get me wrong. I'm not blaming you, Fear. You're only being who you are. You are a magnet for emotion and I am addicted. Whenever I'm feeling complacent, you are the one who comes in and fills each crevice with fire. So raw and uncensored. Every moment with you is spent perched on the edge of the cliff with my toes hanging over a cavernous abyss. It's frightening. And invigorating. And enticing.

And maybe that's why it has taken me so long to see.

My toes aren't really hanging.

The abyss isn't real.

Because now I'm learning that's what you do, Fear. You carve canyons where none exist. You dig holes to bury hope. I have tried and tried to recall a time when you built something of substance. Something that sustains and uplifts and inspires. But I can't name a single one. I've even asked my wisest friends. The ones who know both of us well. And they all say the same thing.

"Fear never built anything."

As I look around me, I see so much need.

Sinking ships.

Burning buildings.

Broken souls.

And I want to help. I want to dive in to the frigid waters. I want to rush in to the flames. I want to hold tight to my brothers and sisters and say with certainty, "It's going to be OK."

But I can't. Something is holding me back. But let us make no mistake.

It's not you. It's me.

I can no longer cling to you. I can no longer choose you. It's time to let go. Because I look around and see that the darkness that surrounds me is entirely of your making. It's a void. Empty and lifeless. Paralyzing.

Until now.

Right now.

In this very moment.

I see it clearly.

Fear is just a character in a story written by Love.

When all seems lost, it's Love who rushes into the fire. It's Love who binds up wounds. And it's Love who sings the songs of hope and peace that drift heavenward from the rubble of buildings destroyed by hatred.

So today, I choose Love.

I know it will be hard to say goodbye. But not to worry. I'm sure we'll see each other from time to time, anytime crisis comes screaming across my calendar or my television. But let's not linger long, shall we?

I have a lot of work to do.

* Enjoy this post? Subscribe to Scott's blog at The Accidental Missionary, where this post first appeared, or follow him on Facebook or Twitter @sdannemiller. Scott's book about his family's Year Without A Purchase from WJK Press is available from Barnes & Noble or Amazon.