Fear, Foolishness and Freedom

I will walk about in freedom, for I have sought out your precepts. – Psalm 119:45 NIV

photo: Raye Wortel

photo: Raye Wortel


Bees used to scare me, and it was all my parent’s fault.


At a tender age I learned two things about bees. One, they’re necessary to nature, and two, they can potentially kill you.


And there lies the truth of living with fear.


Fear can be useful; even necessary, and depending on how you face it – can instill life, or render a numbing kind of death that leaves you listless and unproductive.


I was stung by a bee for the first time when I was nine years old. The hype about the pain, discomfort, and threat of death magnified at the moment its stinger entered my arm.


But after my initial screaming, and twenty minutes of sobbing I realized something.


I was surviving.


Sure, it hurt. But I knew I’d see the rest of the day, and most likely the dawning of the next.


I was breathing, and walking, and felt like a warrior who had just won a battle as I showed off my swollen badge of courage.


That’s when foolishness set in.


In my young mind, I withstood, defied, and flew in the face of my assigned phobia and came out the other side. What my parents told me to fear all those years, didn’t add up anymore.


I no longer feared bees, but I swung the pendulum so far to the right that I disregarded the power of the bee.


For years, I used little caution when we shared the same space in my garden, or if one found it’s way inside my home.


Then one sweltering summer day last year, a lazy bee landed on our picnic blanket. I shooed it away without thinking, but it returned. Once again I brushed it aside, this time with my foot, and it answered my arrogance the only way it could.


It was a painful reminder that I had let foolishness reign.


These days, I have a fear that’s not tangible like a bee.


Like many, I fear failure, but I don’t want to treat my fear the same way I did my pollen-loving, stinger wielding friends.


So I ask myself…


Should I live chained to my fear of failing – never taking a risk?


Or perhaps I should pretend I’m not afraid at all. Living blindly to the fact that one day (or each day) I will fail at something. And when it comes (and it will), I might experience a crippling shift as to who I think I am, and what I can achieve.


No, there must be a better way to deal with fear and foolishness.


I love how The Message Bible translates Proverbs 8:4-11. In referring to foolishness is says:


“Listen, you idiots—learn good sense!

You blockheads—shape up!”


That’s the kind of slap in the face I need from time to time.


Where do idiots and blockheads like me learn good sense, and how to “shape up” when it comes to foolishness and fear?


From the Lord, of course.


“The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.

Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” – Deuteronomy 31:8 NIV


Freedom from fear doesn’t always mean the fear goes away. It’s understanding that God is the Champion who will show us good sense, and how to “shape” ourselves to him.


Remember, if we disregard the power of what scares us, it will come back to sting us when we least expect it.


Let’s choose to live in the face of our fears, letting God shape us, so we won’t have to experience the sting of foolishness, or the shackles of fear.


“When I get really afraid I come to you in trust. I’m proud to praise God; fearless now, I trust in God. What can mere mortals do?” – Psalm 56:1-4 MSG


When has foolishness or fear reigned in your life? Where have you sought freedom? I’d love to hear from you!

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