What is F.E.A.R.?

F.E.A.R. only exists between my ears. It is a product of my wild imagination. It is the result of uncertainty. It is the response to the unknown. F.E.A.R. is not about faith. F.E.A.R. exists because we are unclear about our future. Thus our true future becomes the victim of our imaginations through a silly game of analysis leading to paralysis. The sum of our F.E.A.R. means that we miss out on so many life-changing experiences because we’re afraid.

What is F.E.A.R.?

False Expectations Appearing Real.

I recently saw a feature film starring Will Smith and his son, Jaden Smith. It was a wonderful escape with my wife to share a few minutes of lighthearted frivolity and respite from our busy lives. It was meant to be free of heavy thoughts and filled with the simple enjoyment of cinematic entertainment. But fortunately this was not to be and I’m grateful for being diverted from my diversion.

*** Spoiler Alert ***

The entire movie at its core is a story about relationship that reminds me of me and my relationship to my Father. The father in this movie, played by Will Smith, is a distinguished gentleman, a general, and a leader of men. His role is like that of a supreme commander who is responsible for a colony of people. Because of his great character and leadership he has a well earned reputation and the respect of the people.

The other main character in this movie, played by Jaden Smith, is a teenage boy growing up to be a man. This boy has a somewhat estranged relationship with his father in part because his father is a man of purpose while he is still a teenage boy filled with immaturity and all the foibles that come from adolescents. The boy is also filled with guilt because while his talents are many, he has not measured up to be all that he can be.

As the movie plays out they find themselves as the only survivors of a terrible tragedy that befalls them. Because they are forced to live in community with each other we see the development and healing of a fractured relationship. Along with fixing the fractured relationship there is the equally daunting task of surviving their tragedy and returning home in one piece. So the son is sent on a mission that he is not fully equipped to complete. His greatest resource is not his talents, strengths or his training; rather it is the wisdom, experience and knowledge that the father has to offer his son. Throughout the film the Father tries to guide his son but there are very real barriers of honesty, pride, obedience and submission that are derailing the mission that needs to be accomplished and further complicating the relationship of the two characters. These barriers must be dealt with if the father and son are to experience a positive end to their shared tragedy. This is when the story takes on the real issue of this movie.

Confronting Self

The plight of the two characters is immediately improved when the son gets real. When he gets real about his fear and when he gets real with himself. The boy begins the hard work of confronting his own failures and his fears of an uncertain future. He realizes that he needs his father’s voice and guidance and that the old axiom, “Father’s Knows Best”, is more than a great television show. His father’s guidance leads him through the treacherous situation he is in, and even more importantly, a discipline of honest assessment of his situation (centering himself) and rooting himself in the realities that he is currently experiencing. He encourages him to eschew the fears that his imagination has brought to life and to live in the here and now. In so doing he gets a firm grip on what is real and gains the courage to face the difficulties in front of him rather than the ones he has made in his head. We see the boy become a man right in front of our eyes. By living in the here and now he recognizes real danger but has the presence of mind to see beyond his fears and become all that he was meant to be.

As I watched this movie it all felt so familiar to me. Not simply because I was once a boy trying to make it in a strange world but more than that, because I too have let pride, lies and many other things fracture my relationship with the Father. Instead of heeding his guiding voice I’ve tried to go it alone. Rather than face the realities of my life, I have let F.E.A.R. amplify my troubles, making my mind and soul imprisoned in a cage of fear. But I was not made to be afraid. I was not made to be a prisoner. I was made to be free! And once you taste real freedom you can never go back. You can’t go back to being stuck, being paralyzed or being held back by things that are not real. What is real is God’s love. What is real is God’s guiding voice. What is real is His protection from all things that would defeat me. For I firmly believe the words of Isaiah that “No weapon formed against me can prosper”. I am more than a conqueror in Jesus name.

I know who goes before me.
I know who stands behind.
The God of angel armies
is always by my side.

The one who reigns forever
He is a friend of mine
The God of angel armies
is always by my side

So what is there to fear? Only F.E.A.R. itself.

Other Posts You Might Like:

The Power of a Child - Beau Davis

Role Models - Beau Davis

The Fellowship of Fire - Ross Thomson

Communities in Schools - Laurie Templeton

One Blessing After Another - Bob Bentley



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