Joyfully Yoked almost didn't launch on account of my cowardice, my insecurity. Fearing what people would think and not confident in my abilities, I stuffed the desire to write and explore down and kept it quiet.
You see, I thought guys like me don't do stuff like this. Guys like me build businesses and sell stuff - we don't write and create art. The problem is that I am not "guys like me" - I am uniquely me and by overlaying a stereotype on myself was a straight jacket. Maybe you can relate.
Proverbs 29:25 says that the fear of man lays a snare for us but whoever trusts in the Lord is safe. Isn't that an interesting contrast? Fear of man makes us feel exposed - unsafe. In case you aren't an animal skin wearing mountain man, a snare is a trap with a loop that catches the leg of game as it runs by. The harder the animal pulls, the tighter the snare. Some snares lift the animal off the ground, leaving it upside down and really exposed. Fear of man makes us like this, the blood rushing to our head while we are utterly paralyzed.
The "but" in this verse makes it clear that the alternative to fear of man - the opposite and the healing salve - is to trust in the Lord. Trust in the Lord displaces fear of man. Trust in the Lord makes us safe.
In Christ we are safe to risk our reputation. Safe to risk our life. Safe to run hard and forego comfort. Safe to act.
In Psalm 56:3-4, we see that the right response to fear is to put our trust in the Lord. Doing so allows us to risk and face fear boldly - and to avoid the snare of fearing our fellow man. (I don't think people know we fear them anyway. Most people are too busy with their own emotional and spiritual cocktail of emotions and motivations to pay close attention to what we're doing.)
It is clear from that we have a choice to fear man or trust God - at least to some degree. We cannot alleviate fear altogether through strong resolve, but by systematically making this choice over a long period of time, we may just find trusting the Lord becomes second nature.
And when it does, fear won't come around anymore.
Photo credit: Nathan Rupert via Flickr