There are a lot of interesting things about being as neurotic and anxious as I am. There are things you do on a regular basis that actually cause me to panic slightly to moderately or I just don’t like to do because I want to avoid that feeling. For instance, I am really nervous about doors. I don’t like to sit with my back to them and I can’t sleep facing away from them. Those situations make me unbearably nervous. It gets weirder. I don’t like new doors. Let me explain that. If I’m going somewhere new, like if I’m going over to someone’s house where I’ve never been before, I get really anxious and typically if it’s a friend I call them when I get there. I’ve gotten a lot better about this because it’s ridiculous and I realize how this all sounds. So, what I do is tell myself that these fears that I have are unbelievably irrational and push my way through it. I’ve had to do this more and more. But what I’ve realized is that it all comes down to fear.
Fear is a concept we can all relate to because we’re all scared of something. It can be silly stuff like spiders or snakes but it can escalate up to fearing men because of abuse. No man lives without fear, even those guys at the circus who ride their motorcycles inside the big steel orb around the beautiful woman standing in the center of that maelstrom. You can’t live life without fear. At some point you will experience it and it will happen again and again. Fear is actually an instinctual reaction to stimulates our brain to think we’re in danger and so we get that stab in the gut and the hair stands up on our neck. In great extremes, people will urinate and empty their bladder. In its most basic form it’s an animalistic instinct that is meant to help possibly scare things away that may try to harm us.
But that’s not really the direction of fear that I’m referring to. As with my personal examples above, the fear I’m referring to has more to do with fear of danger or man. Fear of man is a huge issue that I’ve personally had to try to overcome at this stage in my life because I really have no choice. I’ve been through a year of college, two missions trips, and everything else I’ve started getting into in the last couple of years. A more recent example was having to tell a girl that I was interested in her. I can tell you right now that was one of the scariest things I’ve ever had to do and I’m 24 years old. Why was I so afraid?
Typically, fear of man is not just fear of man but it seems to be a fear of consequences. In the case of telling a girl you’re interested in them is the fear of rejection or screwing up the friendship you have already established. Maybe we’re afraid that we’ll get made fun of or that we’ll do something wrong or maybe we’re just scared of the unknown. What I’ve been trying to figure out is whether or not any of this is actually healthy. What I found very quickly is that being afraid of what may happen to you in any context is a lack of faith and it really just boils down to that. There’s a verse I’ve learned to really like that my friend and housemate James told me about. Hebrews 13:6 echoes Psalm 56:4 when it says:
So, through our faith we are meant to have this courage that God will take us through everything and we shouldn’t fear or be anxious about anything which Jesus pointed out to us when he talks about the lilies of the field. But we continue to fear the things in this world that shouldn’t matter and shouldn’t scare us because God is there and God is sovereign which means, even when we don’t think we can handle it God puts his hand down and says “Hey, give that to me and I’ll take care of it. I have a plan for this, don’t worry about it.” I imagine that the hand of God sometime pats us on the head and tells us that everything’s going to be okay and that it’s taken care of but only if we chose to accept that. We have this ridiculous tendency to block that hand and tell our Father that we’re not kids anymore, we’re all grown up and that we got this. I can tell you from experience that trying to bear the load of trials that life has a tendency to provide by yourself only works until you are forced to your knees and accept the help you’ve been offered. And that help comes with no expectation of repayment. It’s called grace for a reason.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.