by Stuart Fail
Fear is real. Fear paralyzes. Fear cuts us off from coherent thoughts. I lived with fear for years while searching for answers to life’s questions. As a part time Christian—an occasional church-going Christian—I had questions for God and was upset if He didn’t give me instant answers. The questions usually stemmed from fear I had about work and money and love. I couldn’t have heard God if He spoke to me because I was never quiet enough to listen. I was always complaining that fear was tearing me up inside. I remember distinctly when it started.
I took a risk and went to graduate school in 2009. I was in my forties, but was certain I would be a college professor once I graduated. After graduating in 2012, I didn’t get that elusive job, consequently, I worked many terrible jobs that brought on fear: fear of poverty, homelessness, and emptiness. After two broken marriages, I feared I would never find love again. I believed God was done with me because of my failures. Fear began to take hold of my daily thoughts. Where was God? I was praying but not attending church anywhere, so I had no support from other Christians. I lived far from my siblings, so I lacked that support as well. My inconsistences in my faith kept my fear alive. At times, I was my own worst enemy, but couldn’t see it.
After December 30th, 2018. I gave my life to Christ. A full commitment, not a lukewarm attempt at faith, but a complete transformation. I had never done this before and I knew I couldn’t go on living the way I did. I went all in, but my fears didn’t subside. I was certain I would never be in an apartment like regular people. I was living in extended stay hotels or cheap weekly rental motels. I couldn’t save the money to put the deposit on an apartment, so my fear grew and became so strong that I worried even God couldn’t stop these fears. I prayed and begged God for help.
After allowing the noise to block out God’s voice, I finally listened. I had heard that silence and stillness would help when seeking God’s voice. Then I heard God for the first time. I sat down and prayed and heard his voice and fear was defeated. And God helped me find an apartment and a job that keeps me going and pays the bills.
Since that day, I still have the occasional bouts of fear. Fear lies and tells me that I will be homeless again, that I will lose my job at my age and then who would want me to work for them. I am in my fifties and fear tells me I would never be able to start over. But I love God and believe he wants me where I am in my life with work and my home, and with my church. I still have ridiculous student loan debt and don’t earn much as I am a teacher. I never got the full-time University Job I prayed for but I did get to be a part time adjunct. I believe I am doing the jobs God wants me to do. I am where he wants me to be.
My fear comes and goes as I pray for guidance and help. I feel shame for my past failures and often think I will always be punished for them, but I am reminded at my wonderful church by my pastor Glenn Davis that God knows everything about me and still loves me deeply. He will prepare a way for me. I’ve learned my failures do not define my destiny; they magnify God’s mercy. Fear wants me to believe otherwise. But I fight with God’s armor for me and the battle is mine to win.
I know that fear can destroy joy, can ruin marriages, hurt performances at jobs, hurt self-confidence in one’s talent. Fear challenges faith, hurts hearts, and brings shame and regret. But fear does not need to dominate your life. God truly does love us and despite being in a situation that is not your ideal place, God sees and knows, and is working to change your life. God will provide you with what He thinks you need to honor Him and give Him the glory for your eternal life. Align your dreams with His; pray that He takes control of your life, and know that fear is not more powerful than God. God is almighty and all knowing and He loves you. He does want what’s best for you. Know that He is doing work for you now and you need not fear because God sees all. His love for you and His desire to see you succeed will defeat fear every time. Put your faith in Him and pray and seek Him, and He will be there for you. Fear won’t win; God will win as he is fighting the battle for you. Fear wants you to fear. Fear comes straight from the enemy. Fear lies and deceives and hurts hearts, but God’s grace is powerful and perfect. Through faith, we can receive His grace.
Faith and trust are armor to fight fear. While battling fear’s lies, God guides us to his grace. He leaves the door open for us to enter through and encounter His grace that destroys all fear. Faith speaks the truth and fear fears God. God is on our side, so we can overcome fear. Fear cannot defeat us because God loves us and if he’s for us, who can be against us. Live knowing God loves you and is right there with you as you live to bring glory to His name.
Stuart Fail holds an MFA in Screenwriting from UCLA, 2012. Stuart is a produced screenwriter, playwright and published novelist. He is also an actor and director of theater, film and television. Stuart was a Runner Up at the Table Read Screenplay Competition held in Sundance Film Festival 2011 for his Thriller Blood Market. Stuart won the Jack Nicholson Award for Screenwriting two consecutive years while attending UCLA: 2011 and 2012. The awards were for his thrillers On the Rock and Splinter Stuart co-wrote the sitcom pilot Around the Basket for RanFree productions in 2013.
Stuart wrote the screenplay Soccer Chimp for Good Deed Entertainment in 2015. He has ghost written 8 screenplays, is credited for two children’s animated series’ for Ugandan television: Grandma Emma and Akida’s Adventures. Stuart’s play Consider the Lilies was produced Off Broadway in 2017 at the Barrow Group Theatre. Stuart was commissioned to write Mirage spring 2019. His short script Redeemed is in Pre-Production in Brazil. Stuart is a professor at the University of Tampa in the film department.