UpBeat Spiritual Living: Making Fear Your Friend
© 2012 Kebba Buckley Button. World Rights Reserved
Fear is wearing, fear feels bad, and fear holds us back. Many try to squelch fear, because they see fear as the enemy. Yes, you can actually fear your own fear. However, holding us back is its job. Fear serves the primal function of revving up your metabolism so you can run from a saber-tooth tiger or another dangerous enemy. Fear causes the adrenal glands to squirt out many useful chemical compounds that boost your heart rate and other functions so you can race away from danger. In an office environment, the extra adrenaline from fearful reactions just makes you tremble, possibly flush, and definitely feel “stressed”. Some would use the word “apprehensive.”
We have small and large fears. Some are spiritual, some mental, some emotional, and some physical. Here are a few real-world examples of those. A small spiritual fear might be, “[D]id I get the Pastor’s theme Sunday?” A large spiritual fear might be, “[I]s God really there for me?” A small mental fear: “[C]an I find the Chandler Library?” A large mental fear: “[W]ill I get my taxes done correctly and on time?” A small emotional fear may be: “[O]h no, here comes that annoying person!” A large emotional fear: “[Will] I ever get a soulmate?” With fears in the physical sphere, a small one might be, “[Will] I get to the dry cleaners before 5?’ And a large fear might be, “[Will] that breast lump be malignant?” Small fears often pass for worry. Why not make a few notes for yourself on the large and small fears you have? Do you see patterns?
Sometimes, we feel fearful, but we can’t zoom in on the actual fear. If we can at least become aware that we are feeling fear, then here is a key: paper and pen (or keyboard) in hand, ask yourself “what am I feeling?” Write that down. Keep asking yourself, “[W]hat am I feeling?” and “[W]hat’s that about?” Stick with it until you are clear on your fear or fears. Ask yourself what your fears are telling you right now.
Now consider the twofold opportunity in befriending each fear. Yes, opportunity! First, where would you take your life without these fears? What would you have accomplished already, had you not been fearful? Second, how could you grow so that your fear would dissipate? Journal your thoughts and feelings. Leave space so you can add more thoughts later. Truly, you can make those fears your friends, your partners in opportunity.
Study of spiritual principles offers us various ways to beat fear, of whatever type and size. Perhaps the most powerful way is to fill your conscious mind with the positive, so that fear is crowded out. Phillipians 4:8-9 gives this method: “Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Keep on doing the things that you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you.”
Feed the positive in your life and the negative will have no home. Consider your fears, journaling out your thoughts and feelings. Be honest with yourself. Then develop new habits that will displace your old fears. It’s a new journey, but one that will endlessly enrich and expand your life. For the life you want…why not start now?
● Rev. Kebba Buckley Button is the author of the 2012 book, Peace Within: Your Peaceful Inner Core.
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