The Mindset Of Fear!


As a little boy growing up I was known  to be the fastest runner in the school. However my identity was threatened one day in fifth grade as we were timed running around the black top of the playground. As the class was too big to have us all timed at once we ran in two heats. I ran in the first group and easily outdistanced the kids in my heat. The second heat was won by a girl named Michele; and much to my dismay her time narrowly beat mine. Soon rumors started in the fifth grade that Michele  could beat me in running. The rumors were further fanned when she laid forth a challenge, via another girl, that she would race me anytime I wanted after school to prove it. The fear of losing such a race was not only losing my title as the ‘fastest” kid in the fifth grade, but losing it to a girl would put my manhood  at stake! Days went by and I didn’t respond to the challenge in hopes that it would blow over but the persistent challenger  continued to fan the flames and soon I found that even my most ardent admirers were beginning to doubt my abilities to defend my crown. Soon I came to the conclusion that I must overcome my fear or suffer the magnanimous label of being labeled a “chicken”. I mustered up all my might, communicated the acceptance of the challenge to a girl in my class who then brokered the deal with Michele. The time was set for “right after the bell” the next day, where we would race across the playground, a distance of around one hundred yards. It was a “winner take all” race with no rematch. All the marbles!

I was nervous all the next day, as I feared that my life and reputation was coming to a quick and dreadful end. The news of the race had been echoed throughout the hallways of my school so that as soon as the bell rang ending the school day, the hills surrounding the playground swelled to overflowing.  (There were probably ten kids there but as time has gone by, and with each telling,  the size of the gallery has now grown to “overflowing”) My heart was pounding as Michele and I lined up to receive instruction from David, my best friend, as to the rules. He would count to three then yell, “Go”. I said a small prayer lined up and listened as David counted, “One, two, three”,  then, “GO!” I’ve never run so hard in my life. At the midway point I could see Michele out of the corner of my eyes. We were even! At that moment some unknown force took over my body and the fear I had been feeling was replaced with a determination that I later credited to the Gods! This unseen power  propelled me onward as I broke away from my tiring challenger and victory easily became mine in the back half of the race.  I had not only won, but I had done so convincingly!  The kids cheered and my name rained down from the gallery!  I basked in the glory of it all! My best friend David summed it up best, when walking home together afterwards, he said, “I never doubted you!” All was well in my world! (My memory of the magnitute of this victory is often challenged by my wife and children).

“As children of our Heavenly Father, we should learn to be happy, to trust in Him, and to not be afraid”. (Pres James Faust Oct 2002 Ensign). In 2 Timothy Paul writes-“for god hath not given us the spirit of fear:but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind”.

Fear can keep us from accomplishing good things. Fear of a calling, fear of teaching, fear of leading, of using our priesthood etc.. Sometimes fear comes from pride. Like the story of racing Michele I was afraid because I was prideful of my talents and I didn’t want to risk losing face with my classmates. Perhaps as adults we fear losing face with our peers. So we hold back and play it safe. We should replace fear(pride) with love. In the first epistle of John it says-“There is no fear in love: but perfect love castest our fear….” We all know the story of David and Golith. David loved the Lord and cast out his fear and was able to slay Golith. Let us all slay our fears and serve in righteousness. May we overcome them and face the challenges that the race of life presents before us. Failure may await us, but without trying success will never be ours.


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