The Opposite of Fear

I’ve always thought that the opposite of fear was courage. Growing up, every time I would express fear, my dad would tell me to be brave. When my kids tell me they are scared, I remind them that courage isn’t not being fearful; courage is overcoming fear. So many sermons that I’ve given over fifteen years have had to do with overcoming fear with courageous faith. Obviously, courage is very much linked to fear, but courage isn’t the opposite of fear.

According the thesaurus, the opposite of fear…is safety. The opposing feeling to being scared is feeling secure. Maybe I’m the last one to this party, but that is very interesting to me. As I began to think about this, I started thinking about my life, my marriage, my ministry, and my relationships. I have spent much more time trying to be a courageous Christian than I have a secure Christian. I have spent much more time trying to prove how brave I am, how much faith I have than I have spent resting in the safety of my relationship with God.

In fact, I believe that in the Church as a whole, we spend much more time trying to prove how brave we are, trying to convince one another how courageous we are…our fear still robs us of our security. We still live without a sense of safety.

I am not talking about safety in the sense of “not taking risks”; (that is a different kind of safe) I’m talking about feeling so secure in your relationship with God that you don’t fear others noticing your imperfections.

In this sense, I believe we have made the Church the least safe place on earth. Part of our passion with RefineUs is to change the culture of the church so that pastors, their wives and those of us who make up The Church feel safe:

  • Safe to be real
  • Safe to feel stressed out
  • Safe to be imperfect
  • Safe to admit marriage problems
  • Safe to not have all the answers
  • Safe to make parenting mistakes
  • Safe to not have it all together
  • Safe to admit failure, struggle, sin, addiction

Do we have a passion to help men and women whose spouse has broken trust? Yes. Do we have a heart to coach and mentor couples that are trying to recover from adultery, or a pornography addiction? Yes. Do we have a desire to counsel pastors who have lost their ministry and their marriage because of poor choices? Yes.

But what if we could be a part of creating a safe place for pastors to be themselves? What if there was a place for them to seek help without the fear of being criticized or judged or fired? What if we could help save their marriage and their ministry before it implodes?

That is the heart behind our Pastor to Pastor program. We want to provide a place where pastors and their wives can feel safe to admit hurt, weakness and heartache so that they can find healing and wholeness. So that The Church can be whole as well.

Question today: have you tried to overcome your fear by just being brave, and not pursued security in Christ?

20 Responses to The Opposite of Fear

  1. Csievers

    I came across your website through a google search. No doubt at all the God has lead me here. Just read Mark 5:36 this morning. “Fear not, only believe.” This is the crux of it. Fear keeps us silent, immobilized, unsure, and unresponsive to God’s love. You addressed it exactly correct when you said, “I believe that in the Church as a whole, we spend much more time trying
    to prove how brave we are, trying to convince one another how courageous
    we are…our fear still robs us of our security.”

    I have been involved in Celebrate Recovery for over 6 years, (recovering from physical, sexual, and emotional abuse), and as a recovery leader for the last 3 years I can see how being involved in ministry can lead to the self-delusion of that need to be brave, which is really not overcoming fear at all. It is through being weak that He is made strong. So I no longer have to fear, because of His power. That gives me the ability to be vulnerable, to be authentic and real. People need to see that. They can’t put their hope in me, or in themselves because it’s not what we can do. It is what has been done.

    I hope that you continue your ministry, as so many pastors and their families are coming under attack. The site below with the posting for October 28, 2011 gives an indication of how serious the enemy is, he comes to steal, kill, and destroy.

  2. Thanks so much Justin….I love that statement… Fear Not, only Believe…I’m going to spend some time meditating on that this week.

  3. hey guys. love reading your posts, of course! and i definitely enjoyed this perspective…i always come at this from a different angle, so it was a refreshing challenge to my usual way of thinking about fear.

    my starting point has always been that ridiculously beautiful statement, “fear not, only believe.” i am often reminded of these words whenever i feel like my world is falling apart, caving in, speeding up, or going nowhere – however we describe it and whatever grips our beating heart: we know that faithing GOD revives us; yes, it is even wonderfully tied to your point of ‘security’ in that faithing GOD allows us to see the reality of who we are and whose we are: we are secure because GOD is.

    fear not. only believe/trust/faith.

    craziness, that one. haha.

    thanks again for the great post!

  4. Anonymous

    Normally, I would feel like such a jerk pointing out a simple typo, but it worked so well right before the “imperfect” line that I had to point it out!
    Love you guys, too. I hope to see you guys in October when I run my ultra in Nashvegas.

  5. Praying for you Joseph…it is wild that the more we try to “manage” our fears, the more out of control they become. I am praying for you!

  6. That is something that I am trying to learn…fear was never intended to be managed by me…the Bible says Perfect Love drives out fear. Only God can do that…and I am a slow learner. 🙂

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  17. OK…please stop making me think so much the last few days 🙂

    I am with Renee. Lately I am filled with fear and am trying to manage it because that is what guys do, right?

    But the more I try to manage it the more out of control it is becoming and all consuming. In fact, I just had coffee with a friend this morning and asked him, how do I get to where I do not fear or stress about the career portion of my life and enjoy my family etc?

    I have friends who can just turn it off but I cannot.

    Rambling I know but I am searching right now for answers in how do I use my faith to enjoy my life?

  18. Kerry

    That was a stroke of genius to leave out the word “to” in the stressed out line and then follow it with the “Safe to be imperfect” line, JD!
    Love the new look and excited for you guys about the opportunities and adventures the new website will present you.

  19. Renee

    Yes, and the fear gets so heavy and awkward. The more I try and manage it the bigger and more difficult it becomes. This is something I’ve been struggling with lately. Trying to plan or figure or ‘be brave’, when I really need to trust God has it handled.