Liberated from Fear


I wasn’t always afraid.

After graduate school, I hopped on a plane to a village 60 kilometers outside of Prague where I lived for a year in a construction building and taught English as a Foreign Language at a local Gymnázium (high school). My roommate and I occupied two rooms in the construction building. The rooms were not adjacent to each other, but were a few doors down from each other. Every morning, we would have to walk down the hallway from the bedroom to the room with the makeshift hose above a drain that was our shower, adjacent to a small living room and kitchenette. And every morning, the construction workers lined up and watched us as we did so.

We did not have a phone, nor were there cell phones, nor were there laptops or tablets. Phone calls were made at the phone booth in the town square via a prepaid card purchased at the tobacco shop. We had no neighbours, because the construction building was surrounded by an unkept field. At night, the construction building was locked, the hallway dark as we went between our two rooms, and not a soul lived within those walls besides us.

Some may call that fearlessness, others may call that naiveté, and perhaps it was more likely a combination of both. By this time in my life, my mid-twenties, I had experienced enough in my own life to certainly be cautious and aware. Whether it be through accumulated travel, personal or job-related experiences, I was prepared to a certain degree for the constant uncertainty of my life abroad. I was never afraid.

It was not until I almost lost my own life giving birth to our medically-fragile daughter that I not only experienced fear, but welcomed it into the very core of my being. I allowed it to take root. As I companioned with this fear, it in return started to paralyze me. I found myself surprised by how anxious I became about flying or driving into the city on my own. I sought the comfort of my home more often and venturing out felt more arduous than enjoyable. I even found myself leveraging my daughter’s condition in order to avoid social settings.

There came a point in time when I realized this paralysis of fear was not only limiting me in relation to the experiences I could have beyond the walls of my home, but I also was benefitting from a privileged form of security that was in essence, a lie.

I needed a liberation from fear.

It took baby steps. The Giver of All Things is like that often with me. I am not the woman who has life-altering moments of transformation. I am the woman who God tends to choose to infuse with patience every step of the way over time. An important part of the journey for me has been to accept the fact that fear is never a reliable motivator for security. In fact, just the opposite. When I allow fear to dictate where my security lies, I find that I have the propensity to then become suspicious of the “other” and that is where the seeds of bias are sown. When fear becomes the driving force of my solitary behavior, then I am incapable of understanding anything communal—anything that exists beyond what I believe to be the security of isolation.

I need liberation from fear.

Taking these small steps over the past few years have led to a coming home of sorts. I have found strength and resilience that comes from overcoming fear in places in my life where fear is certainly warranted, but it does not need to take up residency. I am rediscovering the beauty of diversity in my friendships and my community. I am trusting and celebrating the cultivation of wisdom. I am replacing the companionship of fear with the companionship of all that God intends for me to become.

I am being liberated from fear.