Fear. It’s got nothing for us, it’s got nothing on us. The Bible tells us to fear not. Says that perfect love casts out all fear. We know fear twists and stunts and drives us hobbled and naked into the darkness. Fear is dysfunction, it’s paralysis, it’s toxic and its debilitating.
And yet, a great many of us are living under a fear-based psycho-emotional and spiritual regime. Many of us are so programmed into fear-based social and emotional practices, we don’t recognize there is any other way. And the problem with fear is by its nature, it is vision-limiting. When you’re in fear, you can’t see all the options before you. Your options seem limited, your choices few. You suspect whatever you choose, all you’re left with are varying degrees of your not being able to cope. You choose the option where your failure will cause the least fallout. This is the character of fear-based thinking. Holding the status quo is all you ever truly hope for. You cannot go forward for fear of failure, change or loss. You cannot go backward for fear of revisiting a great sorrow or untenable situation. So you’re stuck. You never go anywhere or do anything, because fear has you convinced hurt, rejection, failure and shame await you on every side. Fear based living says that failure is not inevitable, and is to be avoided at all costs, because failing is proof you are less than, unworthy and wrong. Fear tells you that you are all the things that happen to you, and you are intrinsically bad, weak, foolish and unworthy. This is a recipe for mental, spiritual and emotional illness.
Love-based social and emotional practices are characterized by an intrinsic belief in your strength, goodness and capacity. They do not offer guarantees, but instead count on your ability to handle whatever comes. Love-based living presumes your worth, and does not assign badness or stupidity or weakness to any failure or difficulty you experience. Love-based living says you’re not what happens to you, and you have within you now the resources and capacity to traverse any challenge. Love-based living says failure is inevitable, is to be expected, essential for creativity and success, and is a teacher. Love-based living is the way of Christ, the path toward healing and wholeness.
It’s difficult to give up our addiction to fear, but like all addictions, break away from it we must. We need support, we need good teaching, we need wholesome spiritual and emotional food and lots of exercise. As with any addiction, with fear based thinking, there has to come a time where you’re willing to imagine a life beyond the prison. Sometimes the first step is simply agreeing with your deep suspicion if you take that step forward, you will be able to handle whatever comes, believing you will not be alone. You will not be alone.