I Was Not Afraid

Photo Credit: Brad K.
Photo Credit: Brad K.


Would you believe me if I told you I didn’t have any?

I’m not talking about going Skydiving in September. I don’t mean arachnophobia or sleeping with a light on, or even Fearless as an inspiring word I would tattoo on my arm.

I’m thinking about all the moments that make up my existence where I curled up under fear. I’m thinking about all the moments that make up my rebirth where I rest in Love.

Being unafraid, I’m learning, is not to have courage.

Courage is what I have when I press into my fear.

Fearless is what I become when stripped of self-created value to find I am perfectly valued in perfect Love.

After all, being valueless is what I was afraid of in the first place.

I thought I would be valuable if I could throw a Frisbee really well, that senior year of high school.

But I was afraid of the disc.

Once, during a game, the Frisbee was coming right at me when I was paralyzed with fearful indecision. I ducked. The Frisbee flew over me and landed on the grass.

I thought I would be valuable if my teammates liked me. But I was afraid of them, too.

I curled up on the backseat on the way to the tournament, curled my arms around my stomach in the restaurant booth after. As if trying to keep the fear from migrating from my stomach to my throat to my lips. I did not speak much. I wanted to curl up and disappear.

I thought I would be valuable if I just didn’t care what anyone thought–drew value from within me. It seemed to work for some of the other players. So I pursued athleticism relentlessly and tried not to care.

I was afraid of myself. I blamed the shaking of my legs on all the running, but I was afraid myself would give me away.

Last Thursday the season of pick-up Ultimate started.

Oh, the familiarity of the half-frozen earth beneath bare feet, the shadow of the disc over the grass as the sun sinks in molten layers down the trees, the silhouettes of strangers on the horizon, like the Giants of Canaan, covered in mud.

My muscles ripple with adrenaline, down to the throbbing of my fingertips. I can smell the musk of new grass kicked up by the spikes of cleats, feel the slow trickle of sweat down the small of my back, the practiced pounding of my heart.

But this time the beating is different.

Closer. Stronger. Tapping on the inside of my ribs. Can you feel me? Can you feel that I’m standing?

Is it possible to feel heady and at rest at the same time? Freedom is exhilarating. Fearlessness is quiet.

For the first time in my life, there was no compulsion to prove myself. There was no desire to seek value in the attention or approval of the male players.

For the first time chasing down that Frisbee, I was not afraid.

Last week at work, I saw two ex-coworkers from McDonald’s. That was the year I was terrified of customers, of making mistakes, of being forever trapped in a job I hated. That was the year I tried to find value in being a hard worker.

Would you believe me if I told you there’s no place I’d rather be than making coffee at Dunn Brother’s?

Not because there’s something particularly special about this job. I still serve customers and wear a headset.

But my heart is different. It’s resting in Love. I’m finding the heart of Love toward all of it. There’s nothing I’m not willing to engage because of fear: the prickliness of a coworker, the exhaustion of a hectic shift, the irritability of a customer.

My value no longer lies in my work, so I can finally see my work for its value.

My value no longer lies in the opinion of my coworkers, so I can finally see them for their value. And they are perfectly loved.

How much time do you have?

I could talk about romance, or writing, or a hundred other bedrocks I have turned over looking for my value.

In all of it, the fear is gone. Dispelled by perfect Love. Certainly, in this broken world, fear materializes in my heart in the moment. Like a mosquito, buzzing around my head, I brush it off a couple times, until it stings my neck, and then I clap it between two palms.

Those are the palms that bled for me, to take my fear from me.

Would you believe me that I don’t have any fear? It’s okay if you don’t.

Love was never afraid of my unbelief. Love is what overcame my unbelief.

Love is what overcame my fear.


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