The question took me by surprise. It came in a conversation with a close friend who has walked with me over the past few years. We were talking about living out the vision for our lives and not getting stuck in lives of mere survival and passivity. As I spoke about my own hesitation and fear, he popped the question: What's the worst thing that could happen?
Why is this question important to consider for all of us?
Once we come to God, He will give us a dream, something to do in this life, something He is calling us out to do. And often the biggest obstacle is not time or money or training. It’s ourselves. It’s our fear. What are we so afraid of?
First there is fear of rejection, that we will be criticized by family or friends for pursuing the dream. Then there is the fear of failure, that we will be attempt the dream and fall flat on our faces. Finally there is the fear of shame, that with rejection and failure, we will be seen as foolish for even considering the dream possible, that we will even be mocked and condemned for it.
Let’s face it. We ARE afraid. Everyone’s afraid.
It’s no wonder that one of the most common commands in the Bible speaks to this: Do not be afraid, for I am with you. In some way, shape, or form this command appears like a refrain throughout the Old and New Testaments. The Father knows our fear and the deep roots of it, tracing back to the beginnings of our race. It comes from the loss of His presence, of feeling close and connected to Him. Without that interior light, our inner being becomes swallowed in darkness, where the slimy mold of fear can grow and multiply. Once I looked up all the fears that have been named and categorized. To my astonishment, there were over 60 starting with A alone!
What can we do with our fears? We can share the burden of them with others, but more importantly we need to let the light of His presence expel the darkness of fear each morning. Remember, Do not fear is a not a suggestion—it’s a command, one that we can learn to obey as we feel His nearness and hear His voice over the voice of our fear.
So, follow the vision He has put in your heart. What's the worst thing that could happen? Death? Even for the Christ follower, that is still gain. Perhaps Justin Martyr of the second century AD put it best: "You can kill us, but you can't hurt us."
May it be so.