Everybody is scared of something
I wasn’t sure what to expect Sunday afternoon.
I knew Brett Jones had been a Navy SEAL. I knew his body had been through more than I could imagine. I knew he’d performed dangerous missions around the world.
What I didn’t know was he would be scared to talk to us.
A nice crowd had gathered in the sanctuary to hear Brett speak about his life and about his book, including my sister and me. After being introduced, he openly admitted his fear about talking to the crowd.
Then he launched into his story. He had been in the United States Navy during the Don’t-Ask-Don’t-Tell era. And he was gay. He spent years keeping it secret from those he served with.
But the truth was unexpectedly unveiled by a disgruntled employee of his boyfriend’s in 2003. Brett suddenly faced the possibility of a dishonorable discharge. After incredibly rigorous training to become a SEAL and 8 years of active duty as one, he didn’t want to leave it all now.
Three months of interrogation ended with the charges against Brett being dropped. But because he knew they’d resurface over time, he chose to leave the Navy honorably and pursue another career. He worked overseas as a security contractor for awhile and now operates a private security firm in Alabama.
I learned a lot of things from Brett’s talk and from meeting him in person.
This was one of the things:
Everybody is scared of something.
Even Navy SEALs.
But fear doesn’t have to stop us. Being afraid doesn’t mean we have to be quiet or sit down or do nothing.
- Scared doesn’t mean don’t.
- Scared doesn’t mean weak.
- Scared doesn’t mean stop.
Scared just means human.
See the fear. Acknowledge the fear. Then keep going despite the fear.
Faith can take us one step further than fear can go. God is honored when we do scary things for his glory.
Sometimes God removes the fear when we face it. Sometimes he doesn’t. Fear can piggy-back on our emotions and refuse to let go.
But even then, we can keep moving. Even with the fear.
Brett Jones did. He kept talking about his life, sharing his stories, answering our questions.
Fear doesn’t win if we go forward anyway. We’ve got things to do, lives to live, people to love. With or without fear.
Everybody is scared of something. So?
* * *
How do you fight against fear? What motivates you to keep moving even with fear? Please share in the comments.
Read more of Brett’s story in his book.
- “Ruby” – Book review
- My reading list – April 2015
Thanks for sharing this book review at Small Wonder. You’ve done such a nice job here of not only whetting our appetites for the book, but also making the application to our lives.
Thanks, Michele. I did enjoy this book and meeting Brett in person. Everyone has a story to tell! His was very interesting.
Wise words. “Scared just means human.” Wow. Thanks for sharing, Lisa. Blessings upon blessings!
Thanks, Mari-Anna. I know sometimes I place too much importance on fear–as if it’s a legitimate reason to not do something. So glad God shows us otherwise!
Not sure why we are always surprised when we learn others are scared…fear comes with the territory of being human. With fear of the Lord being a positive thing it’s easy to understand how it got twisted at the fall and was turned inward to look at self and not God. There is no awe at this kind of twisted fear but it also does not have to own us. Your post gives great points on how to not be stopped by fear but how one can face it and step over it. Your post made me think about all the fears God has given me strength to to just that. Great post Lisa.
Good point, Betty—why are we surprised that other people are afraid too? I’ve definitely seen fear in others all my life. I guess I expect some people to be above it, but no one is. The variance is in the WHAT we’re afraid of and how we handle it. What a great testimony to recognize the fears that God has given you strength to push through. I’m thankful for a list of my own too. And I’d like to see even more. 🙂
Hi Lisa! What an honor to meet and hear the author of this book. Sounds like you have a very active church! I think it’s wonderful and so humble to admit to fear. It’s another thing people are afraid of. But it doesn’t mean the story ends there, as you wrote. Fear is a springboard, an emotion that can carry anyone forward, just like it did for this Seal.
What a cowardly thing for his friend’s co-worker to do. Anger is another emotion that can be used for good, but as I can see here, it can also be destructive.
While I do have an awesome church, this was not at my church. It was at the local Unitarian church in our city. I’d never visited there before, but they were very welcoming to the community at large that came to hear Brett speak.
You’re so right about anger being another emotion that we can take to propel us forward–or to be used for destruction. Perhaps anger is a byproduct of fear in many ways? So many things we deal with in our humanity…. Thanks for sharing today, Ceil.
I love this on so many levels, Lisa. And I love that you went to hear him speak, that you heard his story and gave him honor here. Thank you for sharing this experience – and his book – with us.
There’s even more I’d like to share about that day; it was really a great experience. Thank you, Amber.
I feel fearful often…fearful of the unknown, fearful of all the things I can’t control, but then I remember who IS in control. I trust God so much more than I used to. I’m not exactly sure how that came about, I’m just grateful it happened. Asking Him to walk along side me is the best way that I have found to cope with the fear that comes with being human and alive!
I have a lot of those similar fears, Laura. Somehow through the past few years though I’ve learned to trust more too. I do still have fears, but I know God is showing up with me in them so it’s okay. Whew. 🙂 Thanks for sharing.
I usually tell people that I struggle with a lot of things but fear isn’t one of them. Not today, I had to look one of my fears in the eye and act. It was only the dire weight of conviction that kept me moving forward!
How awesome to not have fear hanging over you–that’s great. But yeah, even those who don’t deal with it regularly still have to deal with it periodically. Glad you were able to face fear today head-on and take action! Way to go.
Lisa, you remind me of a part of me that I want to ignore, but I am human too! Yes, even when we pretend to be bolstered up and fearless, that is not the reality. I want to be real and be able to admit to myself, to God, and even to others that “I am scared!”
Visiting from Jennifer’s tonight.
Caring through Christ, ~ linda
I wish I could ignore that part of me, too, Linda. 🙁 But I guess we should be thankful that God doesn’t allow us to ignore it. Fear often brings me to him quicker than anything and reminds me how dependent I am and need to be on him. So glad you stopped in to visit tonight.
You’re such a great story teller, Lisa. I love what you say about fear. So important because it’s universal. Everyone’s afraid of something. What do I do when I’m afrad? Keep moving ahead and do that thing even when I’m shaking in my boots. If God’s called me to it, that is.
A few weeks ago I had the experience of walking up an iron grating staircase along the inner dome of a church up to the bellfry. My family’d gone ahead and I was so panicked I had to sit. (fear of heights, big time.) God sent some fellow tourists alone at the right time, and just having company on those stairs gave me the courage to keep going. The view from the top was amazing.
I know just how you felt on that staircase, Betsy! Been there. I don’t like situations like that either. When we went to New York a few years back, I dreaded the Rockefeller Center “Top of the Rock” outing because I knew I’d be scared. ha. Turns out, one of the teenage boys with us was even more scared than I was so it gave me comfort. 🙂 It’s nice to have those who understand. I keep trying to push through my fear of heights and see if it will go away, but no luck yet. 😉
Sage advice, my friend! Too often I like my fears dictate my actions (especially in my creative life). Thank you for the pep talk and for introducing me to what sounds like a great story!
Yes, I know about letting fears make the decisions for me too. Hopefully we’ll keep growing out of that the more we age in faith, thank God.
Yes, it is rather comforting to think that Navy SEALS are afraid of something too! Fighting our fear with faith is the best way to combat fear but it’s not always easy. Thank you for sharing these truths today! 🙂
It’s definitely not easy, especially when some of us are more timid by nature anyway. But I’m grateful that it’s possible to keep moving forward anyway. I’ve heard someone say that even if we have to take our fears along with us in the backseat, we can still get in the car and go. 🙂
Yes! I have been frozen in fear. Fear has stopped me in my tracks and kept me from God’s good. Fear is the opposite of peace. I can’t live without peace. Peace melts my fear and leaves me in good hands. “Peace I give you not as the world gives – give I you….peace be still….fear not….be of good courage….” These are words that pour courage into a discouraged fearful soul. Words perfect from the perfect Soul Keeper Blessings…..Chris
The “Soul Keeper” – I love that term. In Matt Maher’s song “Rest” he uses the phrase “You repair my heart.” I love that too. I agree that peace and fear are opposites. In my right mind, I would always choose peace over fear. Lord, keep giving me a right mind. Thanks for dropping by, Chris.
I’ve clung to this quote from Jennie Allen a lot lately, “Courage isn’t the absence of fear, just obedience to God in spite of it.” It is human to fear and I’m so grateful we have a faith that supersedes that…a God who is bigger. Blessed by your honest words and open heart, Lisa.
A perfect quote from Jennie Allen. Thanks for leaving that here, Tiffany!
I think this has played out so many times in my life: “Faith can take us one step further than fear can go.” I’ve been scared lately of letting go of the masquerade, but there has been so much freedom in just putting one foot in front of the other, walking with faith and not necessarily by sight. Sometimes that is the only way to overcome fear – one step or word at a time.
Definitely agree with you, Jen. One step at a time. That’s often the only way I get anywhere that’s new to me. ha. Just show up. It’s been my mantra for awhile. I’ve recently added to it: Just show up…just open up.
I am thankful for men like Brett who have sacrificed so much for our country. I do believe that the Bible is clear on the fact that homosexuality is a sin, but it also says we are ALL sinners. I pray for all of us, including this war veteran, to surrender our all to the Savior. Only Christ’s perfect love casts out fear.
I’m thankful for men and women too who have sacrificed far more than I can ever imagine so that we can have the freedom we do in this country. I probably couldn’t have lasted a day in many of the circumstances they’ve endured. ha. Grateful they’ve done it so we don’t have to. It was my honor to get to meet Brett in person.
Great post! I try to push past fear, but that is relatively new to me!
It’s always interesting to talk with people about what their fears are and what they do with them. Some fears I can leave alone (well, if they leave me alone). Ha. But others have to be confronted. May you have great success pushing past yours, Sarah!