Bullied by Fear

Bullied by Fear

The beginning of the year is a time for reflections and goal setting. A time to look back. A time to look ahead. A time to dream of what could be.

Except the logical part of my brain reminds me that there is a difference between goals and dreams. Both lead to a desired result, but the success of goals is based on things we can control while the success of dreams is based on the parts of life we cannot control.

Getting in shape to run a 5K is a goal, winning the race is a dream.

So, the intelligent thing to do is avoid dreams and stick with goals, right? Because when I allow myself to dream I open myself up to the possibility of disappointment. I don’t like disappointment, therefore my natural instinct is to play it safe. To shy away from dreams.

To allow my soul to be bullied by fear.

It’s possible to live as though every move you make is an anxious attempt to avoid an unwanted consequence rather than a thoughtful decision to move forward toward life.  Emily P. Freeman in Simply Tuesday

Can you relate? For many of us, fear pushes us to avoid the possibility of shame, embarrassment, or disappointment—but the cost is shrinking back from our dreams. And without dreams we have nothing to reach for.

That’s not the kind of life I want to live.

The courage to dream

I don’t want to be bullied by fear. Instead I want to find the balance between allowing myself to dream and setting goals that are realistic. Which means I need to remind myself that it’s OK to make mistakes and that mess is not always bad. Also, I need to give myself permission to question my doubts.

If we doubted our fears as much as we doubted our dreams, imagine how much in life we’d accomplish. Joel Brown

So, as I look forward to 2016 I am trying not to shrink away from the scary parts of the dreams I believe God has given me. Instead, I am trying to take the next step, in the faith that I am heading in the right direction even if I don’t see how it will all work out.

I hope you can, too.

About Lisa Betz

Lisa Betz writes from an empty nest perched on a wooded Pennsylvania hillside. When not volunteering at the school, church or library, she writes about life, both now and two-thousand years ago.


  1. Such an important reminder, Lisa! Thank you for this. I like the thought of doubting your fears as much as your goals.

    Have a very happy 2016!

  2. I think I may make the quote about doubting the fears one of my mantras for the year. Why should I let fear bully me when I am a daughter of the King?

  3. I love it, Lisa. Yes, right now, our focus is on goals & dreams. This is a good reminder to not worry about the scary parts. There is always scary parts, but God is always there.

  4. And thank goodness God is with us, or the scary parts might be too scary to face. My son just left to return to grad school. He was dreading it, dwelling on all the things he feared, even though this is his final semester of classwork and he’s faced tougher semesters. Reminding him that God would continue to see him through helped.

  5. “Mess is not always bad”–I want that message on my kitchen wall! But I need it on the walls of my heart, too. Thank you, Lisa.

  6. Amen, Lisa! And dreams give us the framework for our goals. I figure if I didn’t have any dreams, I’d have nothing to work toward! Hopefully I’m working toward the dreams God has put on my heart as I know He will direct and give courage where I’m fearing–if I put it in His hands!

    Here’s to a wonderful, dream-filled 2016!

  7. I’m with you, I shy away from heart mess more than house mess. Even though I know that is what makes growth.

  8. Thanks, Kathleen. Here’s to a 2016 where I am not afraid to dream big dreams. Even when I consider the scary parts.


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