We all suffer from bouts of fear. There’s your normal laundry list of worries (financial, relationships, career, health) and some not so common ones (birds, heights, etc.). Secretly, I believe a lot of our fears presenting as foes are actually friendly teachers in disguise. They help us overcome challenges and beef us up to be stronger individuals.
And most of the time what we worry about is so far-fetched that it’s pretty easy for a friend, therapist or religious teacher to point it out to us.
“What’s the likelihood of you really _______ (contracting the latest illness, getting killed by spiders, being alone for the rest of your life, etc.)”
Maybe statistic wise, slim to none.
But what happens if what you fear is your reality? What if what you’re worrying about has some bearings on the truth?
These are questions that hit me recently when I went from married to married with kid.
The fear that something could truly happen to that little baby you carried for 9 months and dreamed about even longer is excruciatingly painful. And while many times it’s like any other worries that run the gamut in your mind (not likely), what happens when there’s a real and true possibility that it could really happen? That’s the kind of odds no one likes to play with.
It’s the same thing if you’re dealing with a chronic illness or loss of a job. The fear of the unknown is painfully unkind.
The question switches from, “How likely is this to happen?” but,”What happens when it does?”
Dealing with Real Fear
When you’re actually confronting what scares, all worries stop. There’s just you and the fear. It is true moment-to-moment living. In your wildest imagination, you could twirl with the possibility of what-if back and forth in your mind. Worrying can feel like a full-time job. But when you’re face-to-face with what’s freaking you out, there’s only one option: react or respond.
How you choose to deal with whatever scares you is a true testament to how you perceive your life. Do you feel like the world controls you? Are you living life as someone empowered or in fear?
I was watching Pastor Joel Osteen talk about choosing peace even in the midst of chaos; that when the waves are rocky above the ocean, there is still stillness at its bottom.
Sometimes I forget that life doesn’t always require action. The most powerful thing we can do at times is to have faith in doing nothing. Things generally work themselves out after we’ve 1) done everything we can 2) surrender. We like to think we can control everything in life. Letting go can seem to be the least attractive thing when we’re controlling by nature. But sometimes it’s the only way to get through whatever scares us.
The single best advice I can give you is this: Walk blindly through your fear, naked and vulnerable, but powerful because you have love and faith as your greatest weapons.