Monday, April 4, 2011

Facing Fear

Coming to terms with fear is a bit like a child putting on an adult's coat and boots and heading out to face an enemy with a handful of stones. I always feel unprepared for the challenge I'm facing when I stare down something I'm afraid of. As a recovering control freak, I'm slowly recognizing that most of my fear comes from what I can't control, and the idea that I can control anything at all is mostly an illusion.

There is fear, and there is faith, and they are enemies to each other. It's like control and surrender; two sides of the same coin. For me, control is easier to understand and cling to, so I tend to go down with the ship, believing that I am in control when most of the time I am not. Surrender feels foreign to me, and seems like quitting, when in reality it is the only way to find the kind of peace and joy I've been looking for.

It's hard to undo what you have built up as your bedrock for most of your life. I don't want to be driven by fear any longer, in my daily life and decision-making process, or in my relationship with God and with other people, or even with myself. Fear can no longer be my driving purpose in this life because fear makes me approach everything backwards. I'm always shying away from something instead of moving toward my goals.

I want to deal with this idea of control sooner rather than later in my life. My fear of flying stems from this inability to relinquish control to someone else for my safety, even though I know the statistics when it comes to driving and flying and it makes no difference to me at all. Fear is not rational and cannot be explained away. It requires trust, and faith, and belief that you will be okay, and a certain acceptance of what could happen in the worst case scenario.

I am not at all where I would like to be when it comes to these things. I have written before about the gradual opening of my clenched fist to surrender my feeling of control about my life and my family and all of the things I hope to accomplish in this life before I die, and I believe wholeheartedly in the importance of this concept. It's simply the doing of it where I get stuck in my rut and find myself paralyzed and unable to do what I know I should do.

I suppose I have time, and Rome wasn't built in a day, and all of that. If I was doing everything right there would be nothing to learn and practice. I'm hoping that through this series on fear and death at church I will move further down this road toward surrender and faith, instead of control and fear. I have to keep the phrase "surprised by hope" in my mind, and believe that there is always a chance to get better, every day, once we become aware of the fact that we are ill and in need of a cure.

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