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.