What Children Can Teach You About Facing Your Fears

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Parenting holding child's hand in forest

I slept in the basement of our house when I was a kid. Unfortunately, in between my bedroom and the stairwell leading upstairs was a dark, ominous storage room. This room was home to a collection of spiderwebs, menacing noises, and unidentified creatures which I was certain were prepared to snatch up any unsuspecting children in a moment’s notice. Needless to say, it was a place that filled me with intense fear.

Therefore, whenever I was alone and preparing to go upstairs, I would check to see if the door was open or not. If it was (revealing a black hole of mystery I wanted no part of), I proceeded to sprint past it and up the stairs searching frantically for my mother, father, or older brother until I could ensure complete safety.

Perhaps you found yourself in a similar situation as a child. Sometimes the only solace to be found was by running into a loved ones’ arms and feeling their warm embrace. A gentle voice reminded you that you were safe and everything was going to be okay.

Child with fear being hugged by parent

Fear is Natural

It’s normal for kids to develop fears. Spiders, the dark, strangers, heights, going to the dentist, clowns, eating broccoli, you name it. And though many of these fears stick with us as we grow older (I admittedly still find myself speed-walking past my storage room every time I go back home), we often encounter an entirely new, more complex set of fears.

In a recent General Conference, Elder Ronald A. Rasband touched upon several fears we might commonly face; among them are fear of “failure, rejection, disappointment, and the unknown.” Further expanding this list may include a fear of death, job security, a crisis of faith, war, financial struggles, loneliness, betrayal, and so forth. Seemingly no one is exempt from confronting fears of one kind or another in this life.

Man filled with fear

On our own, these fears can often seem quite daunting. Stacked on top of each other they threaten to cripple us, causing anxiety and helplessness which appears insurmountable. Beloved Apostle Elder Dieter F. Ucthdorf properly identified fear as a tactic of the adversary: “Fear rarely has the power to change our hearts, and it will never transform us into people who love what is right and want to obey Heavenly Father.”

Related: How do we overcome feelings of doubt and fear?

Our Source of Comfort

Nonetheless, there is a way that will surely assist us in coping with any fear; by turning to both Heavenly Father and our elder brother Jesus Christ. While on the Earth, Christ instructed us to adopt the noble characteristics of children:

 And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them,

 And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.

Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 18:2-4).

Jesus Christ with child
Image via ChurchofJesusChrist.org

As Christ stated, observing the humble innocence of children can teach us a great lesson.  Many voices of the world order us to just “tough it out” or “man up.” Being able to single-handedly conquer our biggest fear is worn as a badge of honor. While this method may make for captivating and heroic movie storylines, it is an unnecessarily difficult and somewhat unrealistic option for many situations.

Certainly, Heavenly Father, like any good parent, would not have us flee or cower from any fear that comes our way. However, He would have us rely on Him and His loving son Jesus Christ— the one who knows perfectly how to combat any difficulty we face. Like children, we can go to those we love and trust. The Savior invited,

Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and will give you rest.

Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for am meek and lowly in heartand ye   shall find rest unto your souls.

For my yoke iseasyand my burden is light (Matthew 11:28-30).

Related: Replacing Fear With Faith

You Are Not Alone

Oftentimes, pride may get in the way of us truly applying this verse to our own fears and struggles. As we grow older, we frequently approach any opposition by trying to solve it individually, before we turn to an outside source for help. Although the Gospel of Jesus Christ does encourage us to be “agents unto [our]selves,” there is no shame in enlisting the support and guidance of those who will shine hope and light on any darkness you might be dealing with. As we “yoke” ourselves to the Savior, our burden will be far lighter to bear.

Sun shining in forest

Indeed, we need not face any of our fears alone. Having faith in a higher power will aid in extinguishing the fiery flames which fears can often become. Just as a parent provides a nightlight for a child scared of the dark, or the promise of ice cream if they eat all their veggies, God and His son Jesus Christ know the perfect antidote to whatever apprehensiveness we’re going through. They know and love us perfectly, and the scriptures reassure us that this “…perfect love casteth out fear.” So keep on running to them “as a little child” runs to those they love, and find your fears alleviated.

Those storage room monsters have no idea what they’re up against.

 

What are some of your biggest fears? Comment below how you have seen Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ help you face them!

Erik grew up in Pocatello, Idaho and is currently studying communications at Brigham Young University with a minor in business. He served as a missionary in the remote island nation of Kiribati, is a marathon runner, and holds a firm belief that eating a bowl of cereal before bed is the best way to end each day.