Monday, November 01, 2010

THE FOLLY OF FEAR



Fear is an acronym in the English language for “False Evidence Appearing Real.” ~ Neale Donald Walsch

Last weekend many celebrated a holiday that has its roots in fear. A lot of us enjoy a good fright, whether it comes from movies or a scary tale. We like to jump out and startle people and have a good laugh afterwards. My normally quiet husband, Neal, enjoys sneaking up behind unsuspecting victims and making an ear-splitting chicken cackle noise, scaring them witless. This behavior, I suppose, developed from the many years he’s worked for Tyson Foods.

True fear is an emotion aroused by impending danger or pain. It is a protective behavior that keeps us alive. It brings to mind the deer on our property. I like to watch them from my deck. As they graze the constantly look up and survey their surroundings. They twitch their ears and listen. After a while they graze a little longer. If I snap my fingers, they look up immediately, wait, listen, and then go back to eating. However, if I should walk toward them, they flag their little white tails and leap into the woods.

Fear can also be debilitating when it “crosses” the barrier of truth and enters our imaginations. Irrational beliefs and dread for what could happen, what might happen, eat at our souls with negative attitudes resulting in self-destructive actions. While searching for quotes, I found this: “Fear is the darkroom where negatives develop.” How true. I can’t tell you how many times I sat in the dark weeping when my teenagers broke curfew. I had them bleeding to death in a ditch until I saw those blessed headlights in the driveway. However, after I hugged them, I wanted to kill them!

Many things—poor self-image, hurtful experiences from childhood, emotional distress, past failures, even the painful experiences of others—feed the fear that haunts our minds. We believe the lie and react in bizarre ways. I once heard someone ask a person who was deathly afraid of spiders, “What’s worse, the fear of spiders or the broken leg you get from trying to get away from it?

Living life in fear is a miserable way to live. Most of us can overcome it by identifying the fear, its origin, and telling ourselves the truth. For instance, the fear of spiders:

·      Some spiders are poisonous – true.
·      My foot is bigger than the spider - true.
·      I can use a fly swatter on the spider – true.
·      The spider will overpower my foot, my fly swatter, and fill me full of venom before swallowing me whole – false.

Fear is destructive. It robs us of our dreams and cripples our future. Mary Manin Morrissey rightly said, “You block your dream when you allow your fear to grow bigger than your faith.”

If you are living in the dark shadow of fear, I encourage you to master and retrain your mind. If you cannot do it alone, get help. There is absolutely NO SHAME in getting professional help.

Overcoming fear is gradual process in faith. I depend on my faith everyday in regards to the fear that often sneaks up on me—the well being of my children. I have to let go of what I cannot control and turn to the One who loves them more than I do. I never dreamed that much love was possible, but it is.

Life is good, live it to the fullest, free from dread and worry—free from fear.  

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