Fear is a Choice

Fear is a Choice


A guest post written by Michele G. Karlskind

A choice? Why would anyone choose fear? That was my reaction to the headline, “Fear is a choice,” on a movie billboard at a traffic stop.

How could anyone – consciously – choose fear? But sometimes we unwittingly do just that! Many years ago my family and I were in Rennes, France, and I was the only one in the group who was able to read a bit of French. At one point I found I couldn’t see, even though my eyes were open and I was conscious. At first I was gripped with panic and fear, but I remembered this quote from Mary Baker Eddy, 19th-century health researcher and author of Science and Health, “Whatever is governed by God, is never for an instant deprived of the light and might of intelligence and Life.” I choose to affirm my unbroken relation to God instead of choosing fear.

And as I turned away from fear, I found my sight restored only moments later.

I see this ability to not choose fear in a first-grader friend of mine, and I’m learning a lot from him. He’s slim, trim, and seldom still. His attention is always on the next challenge in front of him, and his approach seldom varies. It’s never a matter of whether he can do it, but of how he’s going to do it. That distinction makes all the difference.

He’s not afraid. He has too much to do, to entertain any fear that he can’t do it. All his focus is on where he is and where he’s going and how to accomplish the feat before him. Yes, he shows courage; but that courage isn’t something he has to acquire, to “put on” like a suit of armor. His courage is the outward result of his inner desire to demonstrate what he’s capable of doing.

Courage is not an external quality to be acquired, but an internal quality to be exercised and, thereby, demonstrated. It says in the Bible, “Choose you this day whom ye will serve.” Each of us has choices to make throughout our day, but we can choose courage and commitment over fear.

About the author

Guest We are pleased to present Notes from the Field authors, who are assistant committees and church members in the Southern California region; and Notes from The Mother Church authors, who are Committees from the United States and around the world, as well as the Federal Committee on Publication office.


  1. says

    Well said. Thank you. Fear can be sneaky sometimes, such as when scary information crops up in conversations, in the news, over the internet, or even just as a fleeting shadow skirting around the border of our own conscious thought. Good to consider the possibility and value of conscious choice when encountering it.

  2. says

    Thank you so much for this wonderful thought! It reminds me of the story in the Bible when the children of Israel were given “the choice” who they would serve as God. (Bible Joshua 24:15-16) Joshua and his family had declared that they would “worship the Lord and him only shalt thou serve” but the people had to decide for themselves! Of course they chose the Lord also, saying in effect “God forbid we should forsake the Lord and serve other Gods!”. I love that you recognized error’s “petty insistence” of fear as a choice! Showing beautifully that when we turn from “other Gods” and only worship the “Lord our God” not fearful suggestions of lack limitation or disease healing is revealed! Thank you so much for sharing this!

  3. Ann says

    Thank you for your clear and concise article – much in line with good old common sense.

  4. Pamela says

    LOVED IT! Great question you asked, “Why would anyone choose fear?” That is not a choice I would make on purpose. When fear does arise I shoot it down quickly as I too have too much to do like your first grade friend. What a wonderful example he must be for his classmates.

    I like to make acronymns of words and while growing up my mom always said F-E-A-R- stood for False Evidence Appearing Real. I have found an even better one given to me by a Christian Science Nurse. She said it stands for Forgetting Everything About Reality and I totally agree. If we are not remembering what is real we can be fearful of the unreal. So my motto is remember what is real and true and you will not be tempted to be fearful. Because what is true is what God made. Ther first Chapter of Genesis tells us that “God saw everything that He had made and behold it was very good.” What is good we need not fear.

  5. Mary Lou MacKenzie says

    I loved the idea that your little friend had too much to do to entertain fear. That’s a great idea to hold on to. Thanks.

  6. Anne Hughes says

    Before my first child was born, I was told that there might not be room for a normal birth. I told this fearfully to a Christian Science practitioner who was praying with me. She said, “That is nonsense! Love (God) makes radiant room!” Those are words from a poem by Mary Baker Eddy. Her conviction quieted my fear, and a few days later my daughter was born without complication. Three more children followed her.
    Thanks, Michele, and thanks Pamela for sharing, ” forgetting everything about reality” , which uncovers what’s going on when fear is tempting us to doubt God’s Love.