What Are You Afraid Of?

Erik Cooper —  October 26, 2011 — 5 Comments

My mom destroyed my Michael Jackson Thriller album. Yep. Ripped the vinyl into a dozen little pieces and put it out with the trash.

The story has become family folklore. She doesn’t remember it quite the same way me and my parachute pants do, but let’s just suffice it to say, my mom asked Michael Jackson to “Beat It.” (You knew I had to go there).

She did have a pretty valid reason. The title cut was giving me nightmares. Literally. Those yellow werewolf eyes were burned into my fertile 10 year old imagination. Pretty sure I slept on the floor in my parents room for the better part of my 4th grade year.

You rarely understand your parent’s logic before you become one yourself. But when my kids begged me to watch the Thriller music video on YouTube last week, I didn’t even hesitate. “No way! You’ll be sleeping in my room for the next 3 months!

Kudos mom. You did the right thing (although that album on original vinyl today would probably be worth a mint! Couldn’t you have just hidden it in the attic?).

As a dad, one of my jobs is to protect my kids from scary stuff. We pre-screen TV shows, read song lyrics, and make them shut their eyes when the latest horror flick preview interrupts Sunday afternoon football (why is that by the way?).

But there is a kind of fear that’s good. The kind of fear I want to dump on my kids in large, terror-filled buckets.

I’ve been waking up scared lately. A little nervous. Anxious. Uncomfortable. Normally, this type of uneasiness is a sign that something’s off. That I’m leaning into an untruth. But not this time. I think the kind of terror I’m wrestling with today is actually a very good thing.

The healthier I get physically, emotionally, and spiritually, the more I begin to put my real self out there. The me that God created. I hide less and less behind my idols and my self protections, the lies I believe about myself and God that shelter from pain and keep the focus on me.

But that freedom has a catch….

The stronger I get, the healthier I become, the more God asks me to risk. To be vulnerable. To chime in. To express my opinion. To stand up. To be me.

And that’s 10x scarier than Michael Jackson dancing with a troupe of zombies.

Constantly hedging who we really are makes us feel miserable. Inferior. Less than. Ashamed. But in some sort of sick twist, it also feels….


Embracing the life God created us to live takes courage. Living in Christ’s freedom takes courage. Influencing others for God’s Kingdom takes courage.

And it’s not courage if you’re not scared.

So in honor of the Halloween season, I’d like to scare the crap out of you today. Get out there and embrace the risk-filled life God created you to live. Trust me, you want this kind of fear.

5 responses to What Are You Afraid Of?

  1. Your mom must be really strong to be able to rip a vinyl album into a dozen different pieces. Not only is she a smart and godly woman but she must also be as strong as Samson!!

  2. So good! Thanks for what you are doing, and for documenting it for us. Totally inspires me ~ 🙂

  3. I found the Thriller LP this summer at a garage sale. Paid $1.

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