“We all know that when courage dies, creativity dies with it. We all know that fear is a desolate boneyard where our dreams go to desiccate in the hot sun.” Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic–Creative Living Beyond Fear
There really is no such thing as Fear Not, at least not an altogether, not. When it comes to taking risk, fear haunts us. Before we can even put ourselves out there, fear will be there leading us into an abyss of dismal dread.
But if we’re honest, if we’re looking on the bright side of things, risk causes fear to emerge and serves to humble us. We’re brought down on our knees in one fell swoop of our shaky “yes.” After the initial shock, when doubt creeps in around the cracks, thoughts of turning back burst between the clapboards of our bravado. We remember the good ol’ days of a comfortable life. We question our sanity, our fortitude, our competence. We question the value of risk and determine safety is a mighty finer place than hanging off precipices.
However, we don’t need to forget about fear. What we need is the courage to move past it. We need to be empowered by the spiritual to get back up and go the distance when fear stalls us in our tracks. To keep moving despite it’s presence. Pride and ego are the real targets of fear. We must not give up. The creative life brims with vulnerability and exposure. But it also brims with promise of being resurrected through our weaknesses. It brims with the life-blood of a creative God.
We want to save ourselves, too many times. But God calls onto the waters, our eyes firmly fixed on Him.
“I’m making space for fear right this moment. I allow my fear to live and breathe and stretch out its legs comfortably.” Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic–Creative Living Beyond Fear
I’ve come to accept fear as part of risky, creative endeavors. What I do not accept, although it’s taken me decades to learn, is that fear is not a stop sign.
The Art of Fear Not is the art of not allowing fear to seize us, frozen solid, in our tracks. We must learn to not let it paralyze us. We don’t have to live in a safe lines. We don’t have to reserve art for only ourselves and our self, alone. We don’t have to horde small collections of private poems and short stories, only to burn them years later. We don’t have to wait for art to happen to us.
Instead, we can pursue it. We can pursue it like a bloodhound chasing foxes. When art runs off in the wilderness, lost, we can sniff it down and track it’s trail. We pursue even when we’re unsure where, or if, art will show up.
But we also live life. We’ll take breaks. We’ll give our creative mind, vacations throughout the year. We’ll take siestas. We’ll even throw our hands up a good many times a year with, “I give up, for the love!” The old saying, “If you love someone, set them free. If they come back, they’re yours,” means the creative life can come back and we can claim it.
Just because we’re empowered by the Spiritual life does not mean fear abandons us. Instead, fear provides opportunities for the flesh to die, many times, a horrible death. As we accept the process (and God’s part in it), we face our worst for ourselves, mainly our pride and ego, and get on with Kingdom business.
That’s why we need to push on. To not let fear have a final say. Do it afraid. Don’t bury your God-givens or make them hermits that live as a recluse in some backwoods, never to be seen. Let fear be a tool by allowing God to shape you. And in doing so, we impart treasures like jewels, ones to be shared. They are not meant exclusively for us. They’re designed to be expended on those around us.