Christian Living

Fear of Making Fools of Ourselves Outranks Death and Loneliness

By Ann White

Toastmasters, a group that helps train public speakers, asks an intriguing question: Why are more Americans afraid of making fools of ourselves in front of others (the number one fear in America) than we are of dying and being alone (numbers five and seven)?

I think a large portion of our fright stems from the fear of making poor choices. As I’ve trekked through the mud and mire of poor-choice consequences, I’ve found the most direct route to courage and grace is to pray for wisdom and discernment to make God-directed decisions. When we seek His kingdom above all else and live righteously, He will give us everything we need (Matthew 6:33). Having courage is, in essence, all about making good decisions—God decisions.

It’s difficult to manage life when the worldly lies we have come to believe have trapped us in a ditch of desperation, when we’re feeling insignificant, insecure, and afraid. It’s difficult, yes, but far from impossible.

That is why I wrote Courage for Life, a new book tackling the topics of fear, courage, and making positive choices instead of self-destructive ones. If you’ve ever had trouble saying “no” (or “yes”) with firmness and love, the seven steps of C.O.U.R.A.G.E. I address may be for you. If you feel like no one understands what you’re going through, or if you have things in your past you’re afraid to share with anyone, or you’ve experienced great pain and hurt that makes you hesitant to risk again, I encourage you to pick up the book and begin learning what God’s plan looks like.

At the end of every chapter, you’ll find several powerful exercises you can use to grow stronger courage muscles, because courage isn’t something you’re simply born with. Courage is something we develop.

Together, we will find the courage our souls desperately long for. We will stand firm, not be hampered, and not be weighed down by the burdens the world seeks to place on us. As fellow warriors, we will learn how to lay aside our heavy loads to take up Christ’s yoke that is far lighter (Matthew 11:29-30). Together, we will learn how to make fearless choices, walk in grace, and change our lives.


Ann White is the founder of Courage for Life Ministries, which is particularly focused on teaching the Bible to at-risk women. Find out more at



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