When my 22-year-old son, Berkeley, was about 2, he had an irrational (yet adorable) fear of “fuzzies”. Now that I think about it, maybe my house-keeping was lacking, because the “fuzzies” he was referring to were little balls of lint. If one made its way out from under the couch or was stuck to an item of clothing, he would panic and scream “Fuzzy! Fuzzy! Fuzzy!” And while we’re on the fear-note, my kids and my husband all share a heightened fear of spiders. Spiders don’t just get stepped on or squished in our home, they get tortured, often with poisonous spray or a combo of fire and hairspray if time allows.
I am not particularly frightened of the usual suspects; snakes, spiders, public speaking, the dark, clowns, or fuzzies. But here is what I have come to realize about what I do fear: I am often afraid of pretty much everything else. Well, that might be a slight exaggeration, but let me tell you, it’s a lot. And most of the things I fear are about as rational as a fear of fuzzies.
Recently, quite by accident or divine direction, I came across some writings that helped me put some of my thoughts on fear into better words than I have been able to express on my own. See if some of them ring true for you:
*”The problem isn’t that we’re lost or apathetic, narcissistic or materialistic. The problem is we’re terrified…A lot of us know we have what it takes-the looks, the education, the talent, the credentials. But in certain areas we’re paralyzed. We’re not being stopped by something on the outside, but by something on the inside. Our oppression is internal…We’re just afraid, period. Our fear is free-floating. “
“Sometimes we make the mistake of thinking other people don’t have as much fear as we do, which only makes us more afraid. Maybe they know something we don’t know. Maybe we’re missing a chromosome.” 😂
“Fear is to love as darkness is to light. It’s a terrible absence of what we need in order to survive. It’s a place we go where all hell breaks loose.”
“God is not the author of fear. You are.”
On my way to work, almost every day for the past month or so, I tell Siri to “play ‘Fear, He is a Liar’ on U-Tube”. It ends about the time I pull into the office parking lot. I have to remind myself before I walk in the office and through-out my day, that “Fear, He is a liar”. I have to remind myself that the antithesis of fear is love and for me, Trusting that God knows better than I do how my day, my life, should play out. He knows that what I want is not always what I need. Even though I am not always 100% satisfied with the way my life is at that moment, I am still terrified that it will change or be taken away. I believe that fear is at the root of most everything that is at unrest in my spirit (my anxieties and worries and hauntings) and the source of all my egomaniacal behaviors ( that’s the intellectual phrase for bragging, posturing, image-managing).
I don’t like having fear. It feels weak. It feels weak because it is weak. And even though it can be a powerful force that keeps me immobilized with insecurity, worry, hyper controlling and self-focused thinking, it is not all-powerful. There is a power greater than fear. I have found that power to be my God. He tells me that “perfect love casts out fear”.
That’s definitely something worth unpacking because otherwise fear will get the better of me and hold me back from living in freedom, serenity, and unwavering trust.
Now that I have unearthed this idea that maybe we might all share a common struggle with terrification (a pseudo-intellectual word I made up meaning “a state of being terrified instead of terrific” ), I am going to sign off and think on this for a few days. Feel free to weigh in. More to come.