Face the Music (and Your Fears)

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Face the Music
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After a lifelong battle, musician Alvin Slaughter overcame his fears by confronting his own faulty thinking. Here’s how you can do the same.

By the time I was 34 years old, I had seriously messed up my life. I had failed at most of my 16 jobs, fathered two children out of wedlock, was evicted from two apartments and suffered foreclosure on my mortgage. My financial problems led to two declared bankruptcies and an inevitable crisis in my marriage. I had lost a lot.

If you consider closely my ongoing dilemmas in life, you’ll observe a pattern. The problem was not that God wasn’t big enough or that He’d forgotten me. Neither could I blame the devil or other people for everything wrong in my life. Though the devil and people are sometimes factors that need to be addressed, in this case it was my faulty life pattern I had to ultimately face. In short, I had to face the music.

As a professional singer, the phrase “facing the music” intrigued me. Simply put, it means “to accept responsibility for what you have done.” It means owning up to poor choices and patterns of living. For me, it meant admitting that for more than 20 years, my life had been completely gripped by fear. Fears of failure, rejection, my own weakness and not knowing how to confront life’s challenges plagued me continually. They affected every area of my life and kept me from success.

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My faulty thinking, which continued to feed these fears, was the most powerful negative force that kept me living in a cycle of failure—faulty thinking about myself, about relationships, about life and even about God. Until we are willing to face the music of our own lack of understanding and wrong opinions, attitudes and actions, we’ll live in fear and walk in failure.

What fears do you need to face and overcome? What faulty thinking do you need to confront? Failure is inevitable if we live under the captivity of our own faulty thinking or the wrong opinions others have of us. See if any of the following fear-producing myths have influenced your life. If they have, I challenge you to embrace God’s truth and defeat the power of the lie that has affected your level of freedom and success. Consider how your life could be different if you applied God’s truth to your life and released His power into every area of living.

Myth: If I Truly Have Faith, I’ll Never Feel Afraid

Truth: Yes, you will! Great men and women of faith have felt afraid at times. Besides numerous healthy fears that protect us (e.g., fearing fire), it’s evident from the Scriptures that fear is not absent from the lives of godly people. The psalmist declared, “When I am afraid, I will put my trust in you” (Ps. 56:3, NLT). It was a given. David said he faced times he was fearful, and in those times, he chose to put his faith and trust in God.

What’s important is how you react to fear. The apostle Paul asked for the church to pray that he would have boldness when preaching the gospel (see Eph. 6:19-20). Why did he need those prayers? Because he faced fearful situations. Paul endured rejection, physical beating, imprisonment and even death in pursuing his passion. He needed prayer to overcome his fear and to be bold in proclaiming the message of Christ.

When I read that, I had a light bulb moment. Fear doesn’t just plague the timid. If someone like the apostle Paul, who had such divine revelation that he wrote much of the New Testament, had to face fear, there is no shame that I (and you) have to admit to having fears too.

Greatness is not simply determined by accomplishing an incredible goal in life. It’s also a result of your determination to face fear and conquer it with faith. Success in life will require that you wade through the raging waters of fear and come to the other side unharmed. God’s answer to fear is to give you boldness to both face it and embrace the truth that conquers it.

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