When was the first time you felt afraid?

Oh sure. We felt fear when we swung a tad too high on the playground swing. Or when we went wobbly on our Mongoose bikes.

Not that kind.

I mean the kind of fear that renders us useless.

I remember. I was 16.

I saw fear himself.

He stood guard at the edge of my neighbor's asphalt driveway.

He was a muscular Doberman Pinscher, equally massive and ferocious.

I was a runner, on occasion, back when my knee's worked well.

A mixtape, made up of whatever songs I could record off the radio, played on my bulky Sony Walkman.

The music did nothing to quell the fear that stood up and shouted as I made my way past the dog.

And, even though my German Shepherd shadowed me in the woods while I ran, the Doberman sped both of us up.

I took extreme measures to evade the short-haired, long-legged dog.

I'd mentally applaud myself on the first pass only to have dread sidle up and remind me that, hey, genius, we have to go past him on the way home.

Which is when I'd begin to beg GOD to please make him disappear. Couldn't he chase a squirrel? Couldn't that be the tribute?

There have been countless times since that fear stared me down.

Nearly rendered me useless.

Other times, I gave in.

There are days when I survey our country and struggle not to feel how I felt when I ran past the Doberman.

Our country's situation is so disastrous, so helpless; it's hard not to feel scared. Her leadership, right now, is so pathetic that it's hard not to let fear get the best of us.

As a country, we are united in this.

We fear corrupt leaders.

Today, I remind you to stay in it.

To fight against the corruption that has eroded our government by fighting for our democracy.

Not just nationally.

But on a state and local level.

Too often, though, we fear speaking out.

Who are we to speak up?

Who are we to make a difference?

I want to remind you today that fear is a liar.

She has had her way with us for far too long.

And unless we remember who set this whole thing up, fear will win.

Wasn't it God himself who set the government in motion?

Does He not, then, expect us to be involved?

Does He not tell us in Jeremiah 29:7 to seek the welfare of the city where we live?

Then, to sit by, no matter how frightful things appear, is unacceptable. Right?

John Hancock said resistance to tyranny becomes each individual's Christian and social duty. Continue steadfast and with a proper sense of your dependence on God, nobly defend those rights which heaven gave, and no man ought to take from us.

The legislative session starts in Alabama this week.

And, the same people are down there, doing their thing.

Bringing up the same old issues, like gambling. And, the Mary Jane.

And of course, we don't have enough money, even though there's plenty, song and dance.

What can we do?

Start with courage.

Then, get involved.

Do you know about these dynamic new groups?

LocalAlabama, led by Allison Sinclair, and another called the Thatcher Coalition, led by Stephanie Holden Smith.

Both groups are run by savvy Alabama women, mothers of large families, and leaders in their own right.  They are doing their best to hold our public officials to account.

Thank God.

Do you remember the story of Caleb and Joshua? When they told the assembly after they spied on the land of Canaan that there were giants, but the giants were not an excuse? That they could take the land? Oh, and by the way, don't be afraid?

In our current political climate, should we not remember this?

That though there might be giants, we will not tremble?

Just as I had to run past the Doberman, thoroughly terrified, I still ran.

So must we run past our fear.

And our excuses.

And our sideline living.

To courage.

Then, action.

Remembering that Elisabeth Elliot once said, "Sometimes fear does not subside, and one must choose to do it afraid."

Our freedom depends on what we do next.

Amie Beth Shaver is a speaker, writer, and media commentator. Her column appears every Wednesday in 1819 News. Shaver served on the Alabama GOP State Executive Committee, was a candidate for State House 43 and spokeswoman for Allied Women. The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the policy or position of 1819 News. To comment, please send an email with your name and contact information to [email protected]