When was the last time you were afraid? Was it last year? Last month? Yesterday? Maybe a couple of minutes ago?

What was it that you were afraid of? Pain? Rejection? Isolation? Not enough money? Not enough time? The inevitability of death? Embarrassment?  The welfare of your loved ones?

After you were afraid, what did you do? If you are like most people, you will try your hardest to make sure that the thing you are afraid of happening doesn’t happen. You will either avoid it entirely, plan for the most optimal outcome, or act perfectly for the rest of your life so that nothing painful, shameful, or uncomfortable happens in your life. And why do we do this? Because pain and fear are unbelievably uncomfortable things to hold within us.

There is something deep in our souls that screams that we were not designed for pain, for fear, or for shame. That we were not created to feel this way. And you would be right! We were not created to feel these things. And yet we do. Life still knocks us down, kicks us, breaks us, and tears us down at every corner. There are legitimate things that we are afraid of, legitimate because they are so very painful.

So, what do we do? If we approach fear as something that must be eradicated from within us in order for us to move forward, we very likely will not take steps forward. If fear is something we can never have and if we do, we have failed in some way, then we will inherently fail daily. If fear, and all things that cause fear, are to be avoided at all costs, then we will never risk, never try, and never change.

What if, instead of living in a way that avoids pain and tries to lessen fear, we step forward in courage: the doing of things even when we are terrified because we know that they are good or, at the very least, we believe that they are good or will be good.

And funny enough, fear is not lessened when we avoid things that are scary. Fear is actually increased the more we avoid or ignore the things we are afraid of. For some reason, fear is only made smaller when we do the things that are scary. Leaning in and walking through fear makes you less afraid. Will some of your courageous actions cause you pain? Probably. Will some of your courageous actions cause unbelievable joy, love, mercy, energy, and excitement? Most definitely.

When we choose to walk in courage, despite the fear, we also show other people how to live courageously. They start to hunger for the authenticity, the bravery, the joy that you have. Fear is a thing that becomes multiplied the longer your sit in it. Thankfully, courage is multiplied the more you are courageous.