This is as In the Moment as I can be right now, but to be honest, I feel like I’ve been in this moment for an extended stay. Fear! I have come to learn that there are different types and different levels of intensity to fear.
Fear, in terms of reverence, is one that I adore! In my younger years as a Christian, it took me awhile to understand that it is a good thing when the Bible to tells me to fear God! To be in awe and submission to my Lord gives me confidence and security! (In the fear of the LORD is strong confidence: and his children shall have a place of refuge. Proverbs 14:26 ). Likewise, I also have a clear understanding that I should be very afraid of the wrath of God as it is described in the Bible (For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. Romans 1:18). This type of fear has a place in my everyday life and I understand it.
As a practical application, I know that fear can serve as a fantastic motivator, especially when we are facing a deadline or challenge. The fear of looking inadequate to others is a fear that keeps me on my toes often. I see this kind of fear a lot in my children as they face challenges in school and sports. I love to watch my youngest son transform from a sheepish child, in the car on the way to his football game, into a roaring lion on the field. He is fierce! He has fear, but he uses it to propel him into excellence. This fear is normal and its part of life, as we know it here on earth.
The fear that I want to talk more about is the unnatural fear that some people seem to succumb to, but others don’t. The fear that grips you on the inside and hijacks your next rational thought and turns it into total chaos in your mind. This fear hurts and it stunts your ability to live a joyful life! I would say that it is quite natural for a parent to toy with fear when their teenage child gets behind the wheel for the first time (or the 100th time), but I don’t think it’s natural to live in a constant state of emergency where you visualize your worst nightmares every time they are out. I believe as parents, it’s very common to lean on the side of worry, when it comes to our kids making good choices or finding paths in life that will make them happy. If that wasn’t common then why do so many parents spend excess amounts of time and money on things like tutors for AP classes, ridiculously overpriced classes for ACT preparation, and/or club sports that will give our children the best opportunity to excel for college scholarships or at a minimum keep them busy and distracted from all of the bad things they could be doing as teenagers? What I don’t think is common, is to be so hypervigilant that you suffocate them to the point where they cannot think for themselves, or you lose your peace of mind until the point you hear their car pull back into the driveway after being out with friends.
This kind of fear is one that I tend to wear as a robe, a heavy robe that weighs me down and eventually exhausts me. I’m choosing to identify it as a robe because a robe is something that not everyone wears, so it’s optional, but it’s also something that I can choose to take off at any point. Why is it that some people understand what I’m talking about, but others would have no clue what it feels like to have your heart so heavy that it actually aches as you replay different scenarios in your mind of what could be? Not what is, but what could be! (My child in a horrible accident or living a life of despair because of choices they made! UGH, it’s exhausting!). I wish I knew the answer to this in full, but I’m just beginning this journey, so I hope that as time goes, I will have more insight as I progress. I have 6 kids, all of whom are within the teen years of development so I will have lots of practice. What I know today is that this kind of fear is common, but not normal. If I believe what the Bible says, then I know that I have not be given a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. (2 Timothy 1:7). That goes directly against what I just explained happens in my mind every single day! I said earlier that I can choose to take that robe off at any point. I really wish it was that easy, but I’m determined to live a life that is full of joy and peace, so this is where I am. I don’t have all of the answers yet, but I have at least identified the problem and I’m not going to accept it in my life any longer. Somewhere along my path of life, I have experienced pains that were never healed or are still so raw that they’re not yet scars. I know some of them, but not all. Those memories and experiences have a direct link to the floodgate of fear. If you are a praying person, I would ask that you pray for me as I move forward. I hope to be vulnerable enough to share my experiences as I go. If there are others out there who are facing this same kind of fear, I would love to hear from you!