Over the next few weeks, we’re going to talk a lot about fear…how it influences the way we live and the choices we make…how we react (and over-react) to it…how we allow it to take control (and let’s not pretend that it doesn’t.) I’ve been afraid to share with you….to write the posts I truly feel led to write…to be the blogger I believe I’m called to be. That stops today. Right now. This post. I hope you’ll stick with me as we take this journey together.
“He who fears something, gives it power over him.” ~Moorish Proverb
Are you allowing your fears to take control? To rob you of your power?
Today, I’m going to get pretty honest and real with you. Let me assure all of you, that behind this computer sits a very human person…one who is certainly not immune to fear.
Let me give you a few examples..
It was a typical college weekend. My friend and I were walking down 23rd Ave. in Portland. It’s a trendy street lined with funky little shops intermixed with higher end chain stores like Pottery Barn and Restoration Hardware. A large man carrying two trash cans started to approach us. Like the clear-headed, educated college girls we were….we started RUNNING full-tilt down the street in an all out panic. The man began to run as well, shouting “Children! (We were in our twenties) Do not run away! Children! I will not hurt you!” Okay….so this isn’t your everyday interaction, and we would have been right to act with caution….but no….we threw out all semblance of rational thought and normal human conduct, and allowed fear to take over. We were no longer in control. Fear causes us to lose control. [tweetherder][/tweetherder] Fear got the better of us and we ended up face down on the floor of Music Millennium in-between the racks containing obscure indie-pop artists. Yep…two college girls ran into a record shop and DOVE belly-first onto the floor. Our fear made us look ridiculous. In that moment, I was no longer in control. I gave in to my fear, and allowed it to take over.
You may be thinking to yourself, “Bekki, c’mon. No one does that. My fear doesn’t control me like that. I don’t do crazy things because I’m afraid.” Sometimes, our reactions to fear become so common-place that they begin to feel ordinary…normal…(when really, they’re just as crazy as two girls lying face down on the floor of a record shop!)
Maybe you’ve never booked it down a busy street or thrown yourself on the floor of a music store, but I’ll bet you’ve been in a position where you let fear take the driver’s seat of your life. It happens more often than we think. Let me share with you another example.
My family is facing a tough economic situation. At a fork in the road, we’re struggling to figure out how to make our finances work and trying to determine what our next steps might be. It’s a stressful time, and I spend much of the day worrying. (And don’t kid yourself…worry is just fear using a pen-name!) [tweetherder][/tweetherder] As fear infiltrates my thoughts, and I begin to throw out everything I know about God’s provision, I slowly lose control. I act out. I yell. I say things I shouldn’t. I pick fights with my husband and lose my temper with the kids.I’m constantly on edge and act accordingly. Is this the life I’ve been called to lead? Am I thinking in line with what I know to be true? No. This is a life driven by fear.
I’m a bit of a Grey’s Anatomy junkie. There was an episode where a man was speaking and acting completely out of character, hurting the ones he loved. He was inappropriate. Rude. Mean. Distracted. He wasn’t himself. You see, the man had a brain tumor, and the tagline of the episode became, “It’s just the tumor talking.” It’s like that with fear. It begins with a thought, and grows into a cancerous tumor…ultimately taking control of our speech, our actions, and our life. Without a fight, we give fear control, and we slowly lose who we are.
Make the choice to take back control. Fear WILL take your power if you let it. You’ll start out by entertaining your fear…perhaps masking it as “worry” or “concern.” Next, you’ll be unable to think about anything else. Your brain will become 24/7 Doomsday, as the fear tumor grows, convincing you that the worst is about to happen (and you better start over-reacting to compensate!) You’ll act and react in accordance with the fear, and find yourself on the floor of a record store or in the midst of a heated argument with a loved one, so to speak. Once fear takes root, we begin to disappear, shrinking away until the fear is the only thing still visible. We can’t allow that.
Next time, we’ll talk more about over-reacting to fear, and I’ll give you some strategies to help tame your reactions. Today, I want you to take a few minutes to think about your words and actions this last week. Was the fear tumor talking? Are you in control of your actions, or are you allowing your fear to have power over you?
I will no longer allow fear to control me. I will not act or react in fear.
I hope you will make the choice to join me on this journey to conquer and control our fear. God bless you.