When I typed the title to this post, I thought this doesn't really fit my happy-go-lucky approach to this blog. What kind of excuse should I make to my readers? I've decided to make no excuse at all, especially considering I’ve realized how closely the subject can relate to Robin Hood. Not only can, but does.
So. Fear. It may be argued that there are many different types of fear, and in some cases this can be so. There can be nervousness, stark terror, and other “levels” of fear, as well as differences brought about by whatever it is you’re afraid of.
Everyone has fear. We’re almost constantly worried about what we’re doing (is it right, will I mess it up), what others think of us (I shouldn’t have said that, that sounded dumb, that sounded arrogant, what if they don’t understand what I mean, what if they don’t like me), and what might happen in the future (finances, tests, tomorrow).
Joshua 1:9 says “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go” (NIV). Some versions use “afraid” for “terrified,” which I actually find more convicting. “Terrified” assumes that there is something to be extremely scared of. To simply be afraid is a different matter.
We live in a culture of fear. On the very basic level is the “what will they think of me?” that guides almost every action in public. Yet we, as Christians, are commanded to be strong and courageous. We’re not supposed to buy into the “what will they think of me” mindset. I’ve read before that being strong and courageous doesn’t necessarily mean you don’t have fear--but it would seem that we’re commanded not even to HAVE fear. Of course, as with the many commands of the Bible, this would seem impossible. There’s a promise, though. “the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” I ran across one version that said (paraphrasing): “the LORD your God IS with you wherever you go.” We shouldn’t have to be afraid. Our Father is with is us always, and doesn’t care what they think.
Why am I bringing this up? As my friends have heard, I’ve recently become afraid of my novel Etched in Black. Why? I’m not quite sure. It’s longer and quite different from anything else I’ve done, which probably has a part--fear of the unknown. I almost have it outlined and I’m sometimes scared silly at the thought of trying to jump into the rough draft. I’m afraid of messing up. Of looking stupid. Of getting it wrong--all 100,000 words of it. Of writing badly. Sound familiar?
I remember when my writing teacher told us to give ourselves the permission to write badly. HE didn’t give us the permission to, we had to let up on ourselves. Writing a book is hard and scary. This time, I not only need to give myself permission to mess it up and let God deal with it, but I should be strong and courageous, too. Permission to write badly doesn’t mean you don’t try. If you look at it from the perspective of Joshua 1:9, it means you just refuse to be afraid of messing it up, and still give it the best you can.
And Robin Hood? Yes, it’s getting long here. But I thought I’d mention him. Something to be admired about good ol’ Robin is his apparent lack of fear. Yes, it gets him in trouble, and yes, it often gets his friends into trouble too. And also yes, he has some arrogance issues. But why do his men (dozens of them) follow him? I think it is to some extent because he refuses to be afraid. “Yes, there are soldiers, foresters, a Sheriff, Sir Guy, and sometimes a Prince out to kill me and you all along with me. So what? We’re right and they’re wrong.” (Plus he’s gonna win that arrow, by golly!)
Robin has right on his side. We’ve have God on ours. What do we have to fear?