“I have fear.”

There’s a common mistranslation that causes us trouble.

We say, “I am afraid,” as if the fear IS us, forever. We don’t say, “I am a fever” or “I am a sore foot.” NO, in those cases, we acknowledge that it’s a temporary condition, something we have, at least for now, but won’t have forever.

“Right now, I have fear about launching this project,” is quite different from, “I’m afraid.”

The blog above, by Author and Blogger Seth Godin [Read Blog] caused me to really think about how I talk about myself. I find it compelling because I have used or heard these phrases used many times in my life:

I am afraid to:

  • Perform at that piano recital
  • Take that new job
  • Volunteer at that level – too outside my comfort zone
  • Get married – statistically XX% end in divorce
  • Start a family – what if I’m a bad parent
  • Jump off the zip-line platform
  • (fill in the blank with 1000 different phrases)

Here are my observations.

First off, Seth already called this out. You may have “fear about” but you haven’t turned into fear. This shows up as a skewed sense of self-identity.

  • Who do you say you are?
  • What do people you respect say about who you are?
  • Who does God say you are?

I love the wise words of my pastor who says, “You do who you are.” (Follow the Cloud, author John Stickl) [Book reviews & order]

In other words:


You’ll behave like the person you believe yourself to be.


Who do you believe you are? Identity: Am I afraid OR do I have fear about…

Love Drives out Fear

If I feel confident and comfortable with who I am as a person, meaning if I love myself, then there will be less fear in my life. The same is true for you. It is impossible to love others well if you don’t love yourself.  This isn’t a conceited, self-serving or narcissistic kind of self-love but a confidence in your value as a person.

“There is no fear in love, because perfect love drives out all fear.”

Fear can be crippling and destroy chances for us to be the people we were designed to be.

Fear of:

  • Rejection
  • Judgment
  • Death
  • Failure

However, just because you have fear about rejection or failure or…it doesn’t define who you are.

You aren’t afraid; you have fear about…

This simple switch of wording we use in our self-talk and our statements about ourselves to others can make a life-changing difference in how we respond to fear. If we distance the fear as a THING, “I fear public speaking” instead of claiming it as who we are “I am afraid of public speaking,” then we get the chance to work through the fear. Otherwise, we have to change “who we are” to distance ourselves from our fears.

What have you been telling yourself you’re afraid of? By making this simple self-talk change, you can show yourself a little more grace and self-love. Let us know in the comment box below if you’re stuck in a fear situatio