Sunday, July 27, 2008
The destructiveness of fear
As Mike has articulated:
The reality of life is suffering.
The reaction to suffering is fear.
The response to fear is the choice to either trust or control.
The effect of control is to propagate suffering.
The result of trust is transformation.
The mechanism of transformation is death.
The opportunity of death is resurrection.
The outcome of resurrection is true life.
Fear is a crippling problem we all deal with, and most of us (dare I say we
all?) don't even know we are reacting in fear to events. When we do, the
life robbing dominoes quickly begin to fall. Worse yet, we don't just rob
ourselves of life and liveliness, the effects propagate and start robbing
life and liveliness from everyone around us.
Parents that live with fear teach their kids that fearing is normal.
Children learn to unconsciously accept fear, and it is normal to fear. They
begin to define how they are going to live our their entire lives based on
Corporations that fear create cultures at work that then operate on fear.
Decisions are made accepting fear that ultimately affect how staff are
treated and limited in success and liveliness due to the fear that the
company has accepted. Worse, many companies propagate fear in a way to
control staff and customers, defining what is accepted and using fear to
maximize their sales.
My Dad is visiting right now (pictured), and it occurs to me that one of the great
things my father did for me as a kid, was to live fearless. Sure, you can
poke holes into things that happened and find failures: he's only human.
I'm sure some would say that there are consequences to living fearless, and
they would be right. If you own your life and fears, you force others to
deal with their own anxieties.
But I credit my father with giving me a sense of fearlessness that has
helped me. Yet, when I get all balled up and take the time to sort out why
I'm whacked out, you can always trace issues back to fear, and my lack of
control over something that I simply cannot control.
Many would also say that we have to accept and deal with some fears. Fear
is valid! Well no, being sensible by weighing fears and making good
decisions is really a lot of effort, but is what we have to do. Once you
sort out what you need to own, make your own choices for what you want, then
the fear is gone. You choose, and liveliness abounds. Fear, and trusting
God cannot coexist, without taking away your trust in God. Why would we do
I would suggest that if you believe that fear is OK, you are not free. And
you disagree with Christ.
John 8:36 (New International Version)
36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.
Just a note on the consequences of avoiding dealing with fear.
It occurs to me that we only have 2 choices here: ignore self awareness about the subconscious fears that define you, or a *LOT* of hard word to begin to understand how fear defines you.
By choosing the former, you cannot care fully for those around you, and must protect yourself and withdraw. You end up isolated and in a position of hardening yourself to the hurt you inflict on others.
The later is a lot of work, but is where you enable meaningful relationships with others and genuinely are able to care about them.