In Others’ Words: Fear


Photo by Wia-Tirol/


“If it scares you, it might be a good thing to try.” ~ Seth Godin (1960-), American author & public speaker

The more times I read this quote, the more I like it.

I kept much-too-close company with fear for too many years. Wasted a lot of time letting fear decide what I did — or didn’t — do.

And then I started shoving back when fear tried to push me into a corner. And I discovered that fear backed down.

Imagine that.

Some of my fears toppled more easily than others. Heights? I’ll probably never love ’em, but I’ll still tackle water slides when I’m at a water park with my kiddos. For a lot of years, I didn’t like flying. Now? Well, I still pray that there’s no turbulence — and then I get on the plane and go. Too many places to visit, too many people to see to waste time sitting at home being afraid.

I have no desire to bungee jump — yep, I’ll admit to being afraid — but I also think I’m smart too. Skydiving? Check back with me on that one.

Here’s what I love about Seth Godin’s quote: He challenges me — you too — to turn an “I can’t” into an “I can’t believe I did it!” He doesn’t double-dog-dare-you. He suggests giving that thing you fear a try. So, no guilt if you think about it and decide not to.

But before you decide to pass on the opportunity to push past fear, ask yourself this: What are all the different kinds of good that would happen if I did this?

In Your Words: When you read today’s quote, what scary “I can’t do that!” thing came to mind? ย What would it take for you to do it? Or if you’d like to share a time when you did that “can’t do it” thing, I’d love to hear about it — and everyone else would too!




0 I like this!
Be Sociable, Share!

Related Posts

In Others’ Words: Decide What It’s About

In Others’ Words: Decide What It’s About

In Others’ Words: Learning to Live with Brokenness

In Others’ Words: Learning to Live with Brokenness

In Others’ Words: Choosing to Live Inside Hope

In Others’ Words: Choosing to Live Inside Hope


  1. October 1, 2012, 12:54 am   /  Reply

    Beth, I love this. I agree, when you give fear a big hard push, there is often a lot less resistance than we thought! It’s getting up the courage to push, though, isn’t it? You’ve challenged me to take a look at some of the things I fear and maybe, just maybe, I’ll start giving them a push, one at a time ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Beth Vogt
      October 1, 2012, 11:34 am   /  Reply

      Agreed, Susannah — sometimes fear topples a lot more easily than I expected. And sometimes it takes a couple of pushes. But I’m always thankful (and joyful) that I pushed through the fear, no matter how much effort it takes!

  2. October 1, 2012, 5:10 am   /  Reply

    From 1985 until 2008, it was “I can’t go back on the mission field.”

    2008, 2009, 2010 and 2012 proves I CAN!!
    And because of the short wave radios I will carry and have carried, 1280 people will have heard the Gospel.
    Our teams have brought in enough radios to the extremely isolated villages in Bolivia, that anywhere from 600,000 to 900,000 people have heard about Jesus.

    • Beth Vogt
      October 1, 2012, 11:35 am   /  Reply

      Ah, isn’t it interesting how the “I can’ts” and the “I never woulds” are often where God leads us?
      Would love to hear more of your adventures, Jennifer.

  3. October 1, 2012, 6:19 am   /  Reply

    Mine are more relationship-based. Having that conversation. Finally confronting. All that good stuff. Those kinds of things are scarier for me.
    ~ Wendy

    • Beth Vogt
      October 1, 2012, 11:35 am   /  Reply

      I hear you, Wendy. I hear you.

  4. October 1, 2012, 6:55 am   /  Reply

    I would like to do more speaking by traveling, but I’m terrified of driving in heavy congestion and going places alone ie flying. However, I have faced that fear when I flew to Denver all alone, well me and God, and it was an amazing experience. But…I’m scared to do it again. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Jeanne
      October 1, 2012, 8:45 am   /  Reply

      Jessica, if you fly to Denver again, you have friends nearby to meet you on that side (Beth, me, others? :)).

    • Beth Vogt
      October 1, 2012, 11:37 am   /  Reply

      But you did it, Jess. You did it. And I know God’s given you a message to share with others, so something tells me you’ll be doing it again.

  5. October 1, 2012, 7:31 am   /  Reply

    Ooh, this post is making me think, Beth. I think I have to agree with Wendy…fears in my life tend to be more “Ahh, what would happen if I really confronted that person?” or “Yikes, what if I say what I REALLY think?”

    • Beth Vogt
      October 1, 2012, 11:37 am   /  Reply

      This post is making you, me … a lot of people think today.

  6. October 1, 2012, 8:23 am   /  Reply

    Beth – great challenge for a Monday.
    Right now, I’m in the process of chopping 15000 (thousand, not hundred) words. But it started out at 25000 and I’m already down 10,000 in 10 days. Do it afraid? Yeah. Is my baby going to look the same after I’ve shaved off all her extra parts?????

    I’ve learned that God if faithful, whether I step out in faith or not. When I do step out, it’s usually harder at first… but in the end, the benefits are so worth it. When I don’t, it may seem easier at first (Hey, this ain’t so bad, I think I can handle this….), but inevitably, I grow bone-weary, I get world-filthy, and I struggle with despair and hopelessness. And I end up having to trust Him anyway!

    Thankfully, He’s the God of 2nd and 3rd and 4th and more chances!


    • Beth Vogt
      October 1, 2012, 11:38 am   /  Reply

      Brava for doing what needs to be done to make your WIP the best it can be! Applause, applause!
      And yes, I love that God is a God of second chances — that he offers us lavish grace.

  7. Heidi Chiavaroli
    October 1, 2012, 8:27 am   /  Reply

    I totally have to agree with Wendy and Melissa. Too often I don’t speak up when words need to be said, when no one else is speaking truth.

    And skydiving. Definitely skydiving. If I ever did that, I don’t think I’d have to be afraid of anything again because I would have conquered something I deemed impossible. Hmmm….got me thinking, Beth. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • Beth Vogt
      October 1, 2012, 11:38 am   /  Reply

      Wanna go skydiving with me, Heidi?

  8. October 1, 2012, 8:42 am   /  Reply

    Bungee jumping or sky diving. No way. Not now. Not ever.
    But other things that scare me, I’ll usally make myself do it…like public speaking or trying something new.

    • Beth Vogt
      October 1, 2012, 11:39 am   /  Reply

      You strike me as a very brave woman.
      Really. You do.
      And I admire that in you.

      • October 1, 2012, 2:26 pm   /  Reply

        Thank you! I so admire you as well. You face each challenge, like the fires, the weddings, with God at your side.

  9. Jeanne
    October 1, 2012, 8:48 am   /  Reply

    I’m not an adventure-seeker by nature. But, I am learning that adventure can be good for the spirit. I tried rock climbing a 30′ chimney in my early twenties (many years ago!), and rapelling down. Rapelling always scared me. I loved it! Sky diving still scares me, but I’m opening up my mind to consider trying it. Someday.

    Relational fears are bigger. I don’t like confrontation. I had an altercation with a loved one not too long ago, and I discovered I’d rather run away than deal with the situation. Talk about coward. There has been communication, but not resolution, in my mind. Right now, I’m praying and leaving it in God’s hands. Which is where it needs to be.

    I’m rambling. Sorry.

    • Beth Vogt
      October 1, 2012, 11:40 am   /  Reply

      Nope, you’re not rambling, Jeanne. You’re joining the conversation.
      And it looks like we now have 3 for skydiving — you, me and Heidi.


  10. October 1, 2012, 9:09 am   /  Reply

    I definitely get more afraid of interactions with people (like Wendy and Mel mentioned above). I HATE confrontation. Hate it. But sometimes, when done with grace and mercy, it’s the best thing we can do.

    • Beth Vogt
      October 1, 2012, 11:40 am   /  Reply

      Good point, Lindsay: Confrontation always needs to be done with grace and mercy — and as Jeanne pointed out, with a lot of prayer.

  11. October 1, 2012, 9:21 am   /  Reply

    Fear is often overcome in the company of those who cheer us on.

    • Beth Vogt
      October 1, 2012, 11:41 am   /  Reply

      Amen, Brill. Amen.

  12. October 1, 2012, 9:46 am   /  Reply

    This week for me it’s snorkeling. I love it, but forgot to breathe sometimes & didn’t know mask makes bottom look closer than it is so that when you try to stand, you can be glubbing salt water if you don’t breathe right. And currents are fairly strong in Hawaii. But yesterday was golden–got it right (I’m sure w/ God’s help) and absolutely loved the experience–I also knew when to quit, which is progress for me. And oh, the beautiful things I saw…. I don’t let many outward tangible things frighten me–I make myself do them and grow because I’d seen to many people who let fear rule.

    • Beth Vogt
      October 1, 2012, 11:41 am   /  Reply

      Oh, I love the image of you snorkeling, Dee. Love it.

  13. October 1, 2012, 10:56 am   /  Reply

    What came to my mind as a I read the quote is how true Seth’s statement is. I’ve wrestled with fear for most of my life, but the Lord’s been pushing me to face my fears in recent years. Not all at once, of course, but a little at a time, as I’m able. He’s helping me overcome them. Not overnight, but over time. Being willing to step out in faith, knowing the Lord understands my fears and will uphold me as I face them gives me courage to do so.

    • Beth Vogt
      October 1, 2012, 11:42 am   /  Reply

      Great reminder, Keli: We don’t have to become unafraid all at once. We can do it little by little, as God leads & walks beside us.

  14. October 1, 2012, 11:18 am   /  Reply

    Interesting how different we view that quote, Beth. We share a fear of heights, so you’ll understand that nothing anyone says will ever get me to tight rope walk. The more I read his quote, the more I want to head for the nearest railing and latch on with a death grip. But that’s only in a physical contest. When it comes to risk-taking in ministry, reaching the lost, or exploring the truth of Scripture, then sign me up for Bible bungee jumping. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Beth Vogt
      October 1, 2012, 11:43 am   /  Reply

      There are risks we’re willing to take … and risks we’re not.
      Who’s to say which is risky-er?

  15. October 1, 2012, 12:07 pm   /  Reply

    Beth, I share many of the same fears you have, including planes. But I overcame it to go to Dallas, and I’ll overcome it next week to see you in CA! ๐Ÿ™‚

  16. October 1, 2012, 12:45 pm   /  Reply

    To be honest, losing weight came to mind… It’s not that I’m afraid of it, I’m afraid of how it will change me and/or the embarassment of failure. BUT, I have started working on this and I’m focusing on maintaining my temple which is what God requires of us. With Him as my pilot, I’m taking it one step, one meal at a time!

  17. Loree Huebner
    October 1, 2012, 4:56 pm   /  Reply

    I think taking more risks in my writing. It’s scary, but exciting all in the same turn.

  18. October 4, 2012, 4:48 pm   /  Reply

    The idea of blogging and social media once seemed scary! ๐Ÿ™‚ So that quote resonates with me in regard to dreams and goals. But not with bungee jumping or sky diving. Very scary, but I really don’t have an interest in it. I do however want to ride on a zipline–going to attempt that next month!!

  19. October 18, 2012, 10:17 am   /  Reply

    I hiked the Grand Canyon, just sayin’. Next, a hot air balloon ride. Our son saw it on my bucket list and gave us tickets. Someone may have to shove me in the basket, but I’m going. Thanks for the encouragement, Seth and Beth.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>