“Wow, Cadence!” I exclaim, as I watch my 4-year old scamper up a 10-foot rock wall. “You are fearless!”
He thinks this over for a bit and then asks me what that word means. “Well, it means that you have no fear.” “But…” he starts, in his introspective manner, “I WAS afraid. But I climbed up it anyway. So…not fearless, right? Something else?”
Oh I love it when my kids teach me things.
No, not fearless. Not the absence of fear, but the drive to try something even when you are afraid.
When it comes down to it, there really are no completely fearless people around, are there? There certainly are those who conquer their fears quickly, or don’t allow their fears to dictate their lives. They are those who feel fear, face it immediately, and move on to action in spite of it. I call these people pioneers on steroids. They were the ones to map out the world, the first to try flying a plane, the reason we know how deep you can scuba dive before your lungs burst, those who found the best path up a 14,000-foot mountain and laid out the cairns for everyone else to follow. They are still around today, these pioneers on steroids. We think of them as “fearless ones,” because fear just doesn’t occupy the same place in their lives that it does in many others.
But when it comes down to it, there really are no fearless ones. We all fear something.
And therein lies the opportunity to exercise Courage.
I know opportunity may seem like a strange word, but think about it. One day, as believers, we will be in heaven with Jesus. Everything will finally be perfect. Faith, hope, and love will remain…but not fear. Fear will have no place in the new Kingdom God ushers in. And because Courage is by definition acting even when fear exists, in heaven we will have no need for Courage. The opportunity to be Courageous is a gift from God, and it is a limited-time offer. It has an expiration date: our death, or when Jesus returns, whichever comes first.
And so, acting on Courage is most definitely an opportunity.
I don’t know about you, but fear threatens to overwhelm me all the time. The fear of failing those team members that we have brought to Summit County to start a church planting movement. The fear of messing my kids up. The fear of losing someone dear to me. The fear of being mediocre. And because “fearless ones” don’t actually exist, I would imagine you have felt the weight of fears like this before too.
But here’s the great part: only in the presence of fear can we actually be Courageous. What an opportunity! And we will not have that opportunity forever. So the next time I feel afraid, I will look up at that 10-foot rock wall, take a deep breath, and thank God for this gift: an opportunity to be Courageous. An opportunity to be more like my brave little pre-schooler.
And an opportunity to stick it to the enemy. Because, of course, that’s a limited-time offer too.