I’ve been absolutely terrified every moment of my life – and I’ve never let it keep me from doing a single thing I wanted to do. — Georgia O’Keeffe
What Is Fear? Whether we are aware of it or not, all of us deal with it daily in some form or another. It comes in many forms and straddles a range of emotions and expressions:
Dread Anxiety Intimidation
Terror Fright Panic
Alarm Horror Dismay
Worry Paranoia Pressure
Acknowledging its various fronts can help Identify when fear is present, lurking in the shadows.
What Is Fear? Pressure? Really?
A statement made in a presentation some years ago, jumped up at me: “All pressure is fear-based”. That was one of those, raise an eyebrow, stop, and think about it moments. ALL pressure?
Being a type A, who worked 30+ years in air traffic
, I am well acquainted with pressure. In fact, I prided myself that, “works well under pressure” was marked “yes” on my annual evaluations. I mean how can one BE an air traffic controller
and not face pressure daily?
I also used self-imposed pressure to get more done, to motivate myself. Was I really yielding to fear in all this? I know there is not a thing wrong with deadlines, achieving, and getting things done. The sense of a job well done is a good thing. Yet, as I thought about this statement, it made me go deeper thinking this pressure/fear thing through.
What Is Fear? – Its Origin
Why I was alarmed that I might be unwittingly yielding to fear goes to its source. Fear was not a part of creation. The first record of fear is in Genesis 3:10
after Adam listened to satan and disobeyed God. As a result, when Adam heard God call for their daily walk he hid.
When God asked Adam why he was hiding, Adam said: “I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid….and I hid”. Fear, and all of its forms and derivatives, became a part of the human experience. Talk about a choice with consequences – thanks, Adam.
I am not interested in being a part of anything rooted in evil. Thus, my dismay at the statement on pressure. I began to look at pressure when it came and instead of letting it guide me, I looked for the fear behind it.
- Time pressure? Fear of not keeping my word on a deadline, even on myself.
- Pressure in finances? Fear of lack or losing face regarding obligations agreed to.
- Pressure from my spouse? Fear of not being all I want to be as a partner.
You get the idea. I made a shift: instead of responding to the pressure, I took a faith stand against fear.
What Is Fear? – The Antidote
There is only one real cure for the fear issue. Placing one’s faith in the plan formed before creation. You see, this whole Adam thing did not catch God off guard. He didn’t have to come up with a plan in response to Adam’s choice.
Scripture indicates in multiple places that God had a plan in place before He even began creating. Jesus volunteered to enter this fear-laden realm and make a way back out of Adam’s poor choice, but the choice remains with each person.
Can one skip making this choice and live truly free from fear? In a word, no. One can try to:
- manage it
- compartmentalize it
- tame it
- suppress it
- retreat to a corner that feels safe
and even use it, as I did dealing with pressure, but fear remains.
Live Free From Fear
Assuming that you have committed your life to Jesus there are several aspects to live free from fear:
First, recognize fear. Is it worry about a family issue, anxiety about finances, or fear of flying? The list and variations could go on and on. You are the only one who can truly identify this. However, those close to you could help. If needed a pastor, priest, or counselor are resources to help.
Be aware, most of the time, fear feels normal! I mean who doesn’t worry about their kids? Have pressure about money? Dread doing taxes? Be anxious about getting older? When thought is truly given to this, you may be stunned at all the places fear hides.
Sorting out which is which, is vital. Loving and tending to our families is a responsibility. Worry tosses the whole thing into the fear realm and will weaken faith.
What Is Fear? It May Be Chemistry
I am NOT medically trained in any way shape or form. Yet, it is known that certain nutritional deficiencies may contribute to chemical imbalances in the body. These may trigger some forms of fear. In my view, drugs are employed too readily when other options, are available.
I have one personal example. Discovered, through genetic testing
, was a variant that did not allow the adsorption of the synthetic form of a certain B vitamin in our family line. The symptoms of lack of this particular vitamin include subtle forms of paranoia, dread, etc., etc. Always having taken natural source vitamins, when I discovered that one of my supplements contained a synthetic version, I immediately switched.
I was stunned when, after a few days, I felt a shadow or cloud lift off of me. I will say, because I knew and stood on the truths outlined above, this had not affected me overtly, BUT it is nice to have that cloud (that I was not fully aware of) lift off.
What Is Fear? – The Spectrum
Fear is rooted in evil and thus carries the full range of “in your face” out-and-out terror to subtle daily pressure. Fear will not diminish on its own, but rather will grow if allowed to. Like a noxious weed, cutting it off above ground will only encourage more vigorous growth.
What action will you take today to deal with fear in your life? Please comment below.
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1. 1 Peter 1:20; Ephesians 1:4; John 17:24; Revelation 13:8