How many times have I had students "freeze" in fear of making a mistake?! Usually this happens in the older grades as students become more self aware or become more influenced by peer pressure (Kindergarten students are never afraid to try anything...because they know they are amazing!!) They become afraid to try new things...challenging things. They do not want to mess up or be made fun of (not that such behavior is ever tolerated in my classroom). I've found that if I work one on one with the students, praise their attempts, and reinforce the idea that mistakes are part of the learning process....they usually are willing to try. Not that they are completely without fear, but they are able to work through their fear knowing I'm there to guide them and cheer them on.
Do you know that "fear not" is found in the Bible over 100 times? Fear is a common human emotion/reaction. However, just because something is common doesn't mean it should become commonplace in our daily lives. Now...there is "good" fear that is healthy, helpful, and can provide us proper perspective! I'm not talking about that. I'm talking about the fear that negatively impacts our lives. The kind of fear that has a way of limiting our effectiveness for what God has called us to do. The fear that can keep us from reaching out to people around us that are in need. Fear that can convince us that we won't have enough if we give to others. Fear that leaves us frozen & too afraid to try anything that God desires for us. We can push through such fear! In Joshua 1:9 we see "Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged...." Why? Because God knows we can become afraid & discouraged. When this happens...we become ineffective. The verse goes on to say "...for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go." What amazing reassurance! I know that when I travel/explore new places...I like to have someone with me that has been there before. It gives me confidence and comfort. We have that in God...he is with us & goes before us. This truth helps to alleviate my fear. We are loved, looked after...and not alone.
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