Be Afraid. It’s Easier.

It’s easy to be afraid. It’s safer.

If I can just be scared of everything then I don’t have to work as hard. I don’t have to think things through and come up with a plan. I don’t have to have difficult conversations with my kids. I don’t have to brainstorm alternative solutions. I can just react and close myself, and my kids, off from that thing that terrifies me.

Who cares if my knee-jerk reaction isn’t the best response in the long run? Who cares if the repercussions of my fear-produced solution actually have more negative effects on me or my children than the slim chance of the feared occurrence actually happening? Who cares if the thing I’m choosing to combat my fear with actually doesn’t really combat anything?

What matters is that I feel safer. I feel in control.

It is a lot easier to be scared of everything. We like to dwell on all the bad that happens in the world. As a result we see the world as a very scary place. Predators lurking around every corner. Crazy gunmen ready to shoot us all down. Every person who is not us is a ticking time bomb of poor judgment and neglect. Schools designed to brainwash our kids. Parks filled with child abductors. Terrorists in every airport on every plane.

What’s hard is not letting fear consume us. To force ourselves to stop and think rationally. To trust reports that say the world is actually safer than it’s ever been. That all those things we fear actually rarely rarely rarely occur. We only think they occur regularly because we have media on in our face reporting 24/7 on all the rare instances they have dug up. It’s news because it’s news. Not because it happens all the time.

It’s hard to put faith in God that He has a plan for us. That He can protect us and our children. FAITH. Faith is hard.

It’s easier to focus on the bad in people than on their good even though we all are created in God’s image. It’s easier to assume that people will be more likely to act on their sinfulness than to act on their godliness. It’s easier to assume that evil has a stronger power over people than God does. If we can move through life assuming this then the world is less complicated. More scary, but less complicated.

It takes thought and effort to educate ourselves and our children on how to have fun and take risks. How to be brave and independent. To be wise and to be safe. It is easier just to be restricted, isolated and shielded.

Yes, evil is in the world. Bad things do happen. Abductions, terrorists, molesters, crazy gun shooters are all out there. But who wins when we allow these few to dominate our fears and dictate how we live our lives?

It’s true that if I don’t play in the mud then I don’t have to wash my hands and stain my clothes. But I miss out on the fun. I don’t experience the coolness of wet dirt squishing through my toes. Or smell the sweetness of earth. Or enjoy the benefits of the minerals rejuvenating my skin. But at least I’m clean.  Was it worth it?

God didn’t intend for life to be easy. Even without evil in this world He wanted us to push our limits. He created tall mountains full of lions and bears and steep heights for us to climb and explore. He made deep oceans with big waves that we have to fight to swim in in order to enjoy a thrill of body surfing on a wave or diving below to see the amazing beauty created below the surface. He made nights that are so dark that all you can see is the vastness of a universe beyond our comprehension but are left to guess what every snap of a twig or movement in the bushes is.

God did not create a “safe” world. And yet He tells us over and over and over to not be afraid and to not let evil overcome us.

But we’re still afraid. No, we choose to be afraid. Because it’s easier.

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