These days, I am sensing that people have lots of fears. Maybe it’s because so many of the things that Congress is trying to do hurt the average citizen, such as repealing healthcare for millions, barring people from entering the United States because they are from Muslim countries, cutting services for the little guy, and lifting climate change restrictions. Maybe I’m watching too much television, reading too many newspapers, or listening to too much talk radio. I think politics can foster many fears, especially because so much political maneuvering is negative. Having a president who is black or a woman running for the highest office in the land provoked fear of change. Then there are those who fear Muslims, imagining that all Muslims are terrorists who are going to overtake the United States with Shira—Islamic law.
Fear of death is very high on the list. We all know we’re going to die, but we seem to be afraid to talk about or deal with this fact honestly. Vulnerability to violence is another fear, and yet so many of us buy more and more guns, watch violent sports, play violent video games, and watch violent movies.
Many folks fear getting old. Others fear that they are one paycheck away from hunger, homelessness, or serious illness without the financial means to cope.
Although I could list many more fears, the question that intrigues me is, why don’t I have a lot of fear? I know that fear is part of being human, and there is a fine line between being anxious and being fearful. At times, I am momentarily anxious. I also know that brain chemistry affects fear. Maybe I have too much of something or not enough of something else.
As a child, I had fears. One of my biggest was that monster who lived under my bed. Another was tests—oh, how I dreaded them! I honed my skills in praying when I faced a test. I obviously wasn’t very good at praying because I kept receiving poor grades.Once I learned the art of studying, I no longer feared tests. I also stopped praying—obviously, it doesn’t work.
Like all humans. I think about death. Maybe because my dad was a clergyman and death was part of my daily living, I became callous. I know that when my friend Brad was killed by a fire engine while riding his motorcycle, I developed the philosophy that there is a fire engine around every corner, and we are all terminal all the time—so why fear death? I also know that if I were ever faced with a long, lingering illness, I wouldn’t fear it—rather, I’d check out of here pretty fast. I know what quality of life is, and when that goes, I “goes.”
I also believe that being educated has helped me a great deal in blocking fear. I have twenty-five years of education, and much of that has included creative, critical thinking that has allowed me to analyze issues and develop answers. I seem to have this feeling that I can handle whatever life throws at me. It might not be easy, but I know I can do it because I’ve been tested.
Also, I am tenacious and don’t let go until I’ve resolved an issue. Maybe I’m too busy being tenacious to be afraid, but here’s my biggie. I think because I’m a faith-based person and my faith centers on the man Jesus, I have this great tool of agape love that seems, to me, to take fear out of daily living. Because I see the resurrection story as a metaphor, I have been given the tool of changing my own Good Fridays (bad experiences) into resurrection (or Easter) outcomes.
Do you have some effective tools for conquering your fears? I hope you’ll share yours in the comment section.