I am not a fan of fear, but it disregards my dislike and dogs my steps anyway. I don't mind so much when it presents itself honestly. But I dislike the games that it plays, and I really hate when it gets dirty and violent.
Honest fears are a good thing and are there for a good reason. My initial fear in tying into a rope and climbing up a rock is a healthy thing, and something that can turn to a respect. Whether hiking, climbing, skiing or whatever, a certain amount of fear is a friend. It leads to a respect of the mountains and forces of nature that could kill you if you do not give them the respect that you deserve.
I don't like the little sneaky fears that hang on to you, dragging you down. Sometimes they are just little whispers that are barely noticed, but they affect how far you can go. For example, when I first started to meet people out here when I moved, it seemed appropriate not to talk about my faith a whole lot. I don't like to be "that person". I think that was fine for a while, but as I came to know people better, I realized that they didn't really have any idea where I stood or why. They didn't know me and never would unless I clued them in to the most important part of my life. But once I realized that, I hesitated. At first, it was not the right time. Later, it was the right time, but I found myself holding back. I didn't even analyze why at first, because the tiny shadows of fear were easy to ignore.
But eventually I had to ask myself, why am I holding back? And I realized it was fear. Fear that they would not like me if they knew where my ultimate priority was. Fear that they would think that I was less smart since I was still stuck in these backward beliefs of Christianity. Fear that they would think that I was judging them, since some of their lifestyle choices are not in line with some of my principles.
There are other times that fear plays an even nastier trick. This is the one where life is cruising along fine and fear knocks you off your feet and takes your breath away, leaving you in a panic. In the last couple of months, I have been doing a lot of skiing, climbing and started some other training as well. This means time with friends, time outside, lots of endorphins, fun and some pretty good positive reinforcement. Although the emptiness is never far from my mind, it has taken a back burner for a while... But only until something comes up to knock me down again.
Suddenly, there is this huge looming fear that this is all there will ever be. There is fear that there is something wrong with me and that's why no one has ever wanted to marry me. Or there is fear that there is something wrong with me and that's why I've never been terribly interested in some of the guys that I've dated (and the majority of them really have been quite nice). Maybe I'm too confident and intimidating. Maybe I'm too shy and can't strike up a conversation right. Maybe it's the circles around my eyes that never go away (I'm not the only person with German background to have this problem; so does Papa Ben!) Maybe none of that matters, I'm just doomed to never find anyone. Maybe I will finally find someone and it will be too late for us to have kids. Maybe there will never be meaning and purpose in my life.
So we have the good fear, the sneaky fear and the mean fear. The good fear keeps me in line, but I would call it more respect than fear. Respect makes you do things smarter, fear keeps you from doing them at all. Although it is a fine line, and when that fear threatens to make you not try, it is all the more satisfying to try and succeed. The sneaky fear just needs to be put in its place. My friends are not my friends if they can't accept me for who I am, and I am not really their friend if I am making them feel judged. Sure enough, when I started mentioning my faith more in conversation (not any preaching, just mentioning things like going to church when it fits naturally, things like that), they didn't even blink. They are then more forthcoming about what they do and don't believe, and conversation happens. Really no big deal.
The mean fear is different. It's not one that I can do much about. The thing is, there's no guarantee that I will get married or have kids even if I do. There is a certain truth to those fears that makes it much harder to ignore. I have known too many people who did not get to get married or have kids- despite their faith in God- to say that since God has provided this desire, it will definitely be fulfilled someday. That just isn't the case. On the other hand, I can surrender it to Him. Not on my own, but with His help, I can let it go. That's all I can do. I believe that He can overcome any and all of those obstacles, real and imagined. I can reach out and hope, realizing again that my hope is in and because of Him. Knowing that I only need to take each day as it comes.
Perhaps it is not a very satisfying answer in some ways, but it is the only one I've got. Choosing hope over fear will not necessarily make all my dreams come true. It will not guarantee that I will get married someday. But I will say this, though it doesn't mean that I will someday have a relationship with a husband, it does bring me closer in my relationship with my Beloved. And it allows Him to take care of that mean fear that is stronger than I am, but much less strong than He is.