What is fear? One dictionary defines it as:‘a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain, etc., whether the threat is real or imagined.’ My interpretation of that is that fear is an unpleasant emotion, and it can be caused by the thought of something we don’t like coming our way. Fear is the same feeling whether the threat of something unpleasant is real, or imagined.
I can’t claim to understand everyone who had a difficult childhood. But I can understand some of the things that many of us have in common. One of those things is a lot of fear. Trust issues are commonplace among those who have experienced abuse, especially during childhood. One reason for this is because during childhood, our brains are striving to find a sense of ‘normal’. Our subconscious is learning from our everyday experiences to make neural pathways, habits, and attitudes that will drive our behaviors for the rest of our lives.
What happens when a child experiences a lot of pain, loss and betrayal of trust as a child is that our brain begins to tell us that people are not trustworthy. Experience says they will eventually turn on you, so it’s best to protect yourself. Trusting anyone with things that make you feel vulnerable is very difficult, because instinct is telling you that no matter how trustworthy they might seem now, it’s only a matter of time until they betray you. Those of us who have this issue owe it to ourselves, and to those around us to work at overcoming it as adults. Because some people are trustworthy, and the person you hurt most by holding everything inside is yourself.
So back to fear. I am kind of rabbit-trailing here today. Why am I so afraid of so many things? Along with trust, I am also afraid of rejection, I am afraid of what people might think of me, I am afraid of judgement, I am afraid of people seeing my flaws, and I am especially afraid of loosing those who I love, even if I know they are going to Heaven.
Let’s address a few of these:
Rejection. I guess I am afraid of it because it makes me feel like something is wrong with me. But honestly whether or not someone likes or accepts me does not change who I am one little bit. My identity is more than someone else’s opinion. Who God created me to be doesn’t need approval from anyone but Him. Buh-bye, fear of rejection!
What people think: Why do I care so much about this? I don’t want people to treat me differently. I want to be perceived as a sweet christian girl who is fairly innocent. But honestly, the sweet is questionable, and the innocent just doesn’t fit. My bible study buds discovered the other night that I sometimes listen to hip hop and rap, and that I drink alcohol. They nearly fell out of their seats. I hadn’t realized that I hide myself that well. But those things and all the other things I do that don’t fit that innocent little church girl don’t change me one bit. My love for Jesus is sincere, and that is what matters. People can think what they like. Buh-bye, fear of other people’s thoughts!
Judgement of my flaws: I don’t think anyone likes to be judged by people. I sure don’t. I don’t like being told that my behavior is wrong, or unacceptable, even when it is. I don’t want to think that other people can see my sin. I like to keep it hidden. But here’s a big newsflash for you all: I sin! I do. I have issues in my life that I wrestle with on a daily basis, and often I fail to make the right choice. This fact doesn’t make me any different from 100% of the rest of humanity. Welcome to the human race, Anna, here are your issues. So go ahead and judge if you want. You aren’t any better than me, and the fact is that God is the only one whose judgement means anything to me. Buh-bye fear of people’s judgement.
Losing those I love: I am afraid of this because it is beyond my control, and it hurts so much. I know it is only temporary when they are going to heaven, but on this earth we are stuck inside of time, and the rest of my life seems like a long long time at this point. I don’t want to wait until eternity to see my grandparents again. I miss them. I don’t want to wait to see my best friend’s momma. I miss her. Grief is painful, you never know when it is coming, and you can’t stop it. I hate it, but I have to live it out, and accept the pain as a part of life so that I don’t become bitter or allow hate to over take my heart. I might always be afraid of losing those I love. I love with my whole heart, and when someone that I love dies, I feel like a little of my heart dies with them.
But I know that God is the restorer or my heart, and that His love is never ending. I ask him to restore my heart with his love, so that I can continue to love those around me that are still here. I know that when I grieve, He is with me. I think it breaks his heart the same way it does when I see a small child that I love cry. I want so badly to fix whatever is wrong in their little life, and to restore a smile to their face. He cares. Because we life in a world with free will, we have to endure hurt and grief. But God cares. He is with you. Don’t forget that, even when you are mad at Him.
So I will ditch my other fears, and face this one with God’s help. It might always be there, but it isn’t too big for God. He will help me. And you, if you let Him.
“Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgement that something else is more important than fear.” ~Ambrose Redmoon
There are so many things that are more important than fear. Life. Love. Trust. Ask God for help, and face some of your fears today. It won’t happen overnight, but I think it will bring you great freedom over time. I know it has for me. ❤